Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

End of the King Street Run: Wesley Methodist Church, Cambridge Remembrance Sunday 2005

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

End of the King Street Run: Wesley Methodist Church, Cambridge Remembrance Sunday 2005

Article excerpt

End of the King Street Run Wesley Methodist Church, Cambridge Remembrance Sunday 2005

At opposite ends of King Street in Cambridge, England, sit inheritors of two failed attempts to reform the Church of England from within. At the western end, Sidney Sussex College bears witness to its sixteenthcentury founders' hopes of training godly preachers for the English Church. At the eastern end, Wesley Methodist Church reminds passersby of its namesakes' efforts to revive godly zeal in a stagnating established religion. Between college and church lies the King Street Run, the trail of a student pub-crawl. On any given Saturday night, one will find more Cambridge students in the pubs along King Street than will worship in the chapel of Sidney Sussex College or in Wesley Methodist Church the next morning.

Yet Methodists founded Wesley Church for these very students, stressing that it should "attract and retain, and not repel, the young Methodists who come to this University," as the church's website recalls (wesleycam.org.uk/building.htm). Overlooking Christ's Pieces, near a busy pedestrian thoroughfare leading from the bus station to Grafton Centre shopping area, the church can reasonably claim to be at the heart of Cambridge. In the last general election, it served as a polling station for the Market Ward of the Cambridge parliamentary constituency. To a central location has been added a program of successful renovation. The present greystone gothic-revival building boasts a large multi-purpose worship space, a smaller chapel, numerous offices and meeting rooms, and a refectory. A larger room on the second floor is called "the Upper Room", and offices on the same floor bear the familiar names of Aldersgate and Epworth.

On 13 November 2005, Remembrance Sunday, Wesley Church offered two morning services-communion at 9:30 AM and the principal service of Morning Worship at 10:30 AM-in addition to coffee and conversation at 10:00 AM, a gathering for university students at 12:30 PM, and an evening program in celebration of 200 years of Methodism in Cambridge. At 10:15 AM, a visitor walked through a door into a modern glassed-in porch where two well-dressed ushers with nametags welcomed him with hearty handshakes, friendly introductions, and an invitation to coffee in the refectory following the service. Beyond another door many people chatted merrily around a table from which two nametagged volunteers sold pens, stationery, coffee mugs, and calendars depicting the Waldensian Valleys of Italy. Proceeds from the calendars' sale would go to assist Italian Methodist Waldensian churches, the visitor learned. The ante-chapel gave way to a large rectangular room oriented towards a raised platform near one of the longer sides. On the platform stood an altar, flanked by a lectern to its left and a larger pulpit to its right. Banks of chairs faced the platform from three sides. All the furniture was of oak and a modern design. A Union flag stood behind the pulpit. Carpet covered the floor. The chairs had cushions.

Just inside the room's entrance, two more ushers handed each worshipper a Methodist hymnal and a twelve-page worship booklet containing a two-page order of service and a list of activities planned for the next two weeks. The visitor took these and found a chair. For the next ten minutes, the congregation filtered in, so that by the time the service began nearly 150 people filled the church to about 80 percent capacity. Most worshippers appeared to be well-off and respectably dressed. About twenty university students sat together in a bank of chairs to the right of the altar. Another ten students sat on the other side of the room. Most were white, but fifteen worshippers were of African background and a South Asian family also attended. About 60 percent were female. In age, the congregation reflected the community of university students and retired persons who live in central Cambridge, though students constituted a decided minority. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.