Lansdowne Crescent Methodist Church
Lansdowne Crescent, Great Malvern, WR14 2AW
Lansdowne church was opened in 1866. It owes its existence to the Reverend William Morley Punshon, a well-known Methodist minister of the time, who was the instigator of "the Wesleyan Watering Places Chapel Building Fund", a scheme to assist the building of chapels in "places of summer resort". Without a grant of £850 from the fund, it would have been much more difficult for the members of those days, numbering about 30, to have raised the £2680 required for such an imposing building.
The Methodist Movement
The Methodist church was founded largely through the efforts of the brothers John (1703-1791) and Charles (1707-1788) Wesley. In 1729, whilst students at Christchurch College, Oxford they founded the Oxford Holy Club for worship, study and the organisation of visits to the sick and imprisoned. It was an austere society with strict codes of conduct and study methods based on those of the University; in consequence, fellow students began to call them 'Methodists'. Charles and John were members of the Anglican church and remained so for the rest of their lives. After graduation they continued their roles in the Church, Charles becoming a curate in the 'Methodist' parish of St Mary's Islington, where he began to write many of the hymns for which he is now famous. He also began the important task of defining much of the theological content and liturgy of the Methodist Movement. Meanwhile, John had begun a roving ministry, touring the country on horseback and by carriage. He was a charismatic preacher and a political reformer, whose impact on English social life in the mid-18th Century, drove many of the social reforms of the day. He became increasingly disillusioned with the Anglican Church and the Church was increasingly wary of Wesley and his followers. In 1784 he set up the first Methodist Conference, designed to ensure continuation of the movement after his death. The increasing acrimony between the Methodists and Anglicans led finally in 1795, four years after Wesley's death, to a split from the Anglican church and the formal, legal recognition of Methodism as a 'non-conformist' Church.
In recent times reconciliation and the recognition of common aims has led to an ecumenical movement bringing Anglican and Methodists (and those of other denominations too) closer together. Lansdowne church is an active participant in the Malvern branch of the 'Churches Together' Movement.
How to find us
From the town centre head down the main street (Church St),cross the traffic lights at Graham Rd and continue down the main road. Lansdowne Crescent is about 200 yards down on the left, just past Manor Park Sports Club. The Church is immediately visible at the lower end of the Crescent.