Methodists in Geraldine, NZ - Going to church was what people did on Sundays.

Ashburton Guardian, 1 December 1915, Page 2
In the course of the evening, the Rev. G. H. Hunt, of Geraldine, gave an interesting address on the origin of the Church. He said that it was well for his audience to take a backward look occasionally. He did not mean that they should dwell on or be satisfied with the past. They should endeavour to make things greater, grander and better in the future. The Wills Street Church was originally part of the Christchurch Primitive Methodist Station, which in turn had at that time been part of the Wellington Station. From Christchurch, Primitive Methodism had spread over the plains to Timaru, embracing Geraldine, which was thus a sister church to the Wills Street one. They were not now Primitive Methodists or Wesleyans, but merely Methodists.

The Geraldine Primitive Methodist Church opened 12 Sept. 1875 and building sold in 1888.

Timaru Herald, 22 April 1868, Page 2 Geraldine Wesleyan Chapel.
The above chapel was opened for Divine service last Sunday, by the Rev. H. Bull, of Timaru. The attendance was very good both morning and evening service, when collections were made on behalf of the building fund. The chapel is 20 s 16 feet, and capable of seating about 65 people. It was built on a plan furnished by Mr McKenzie, of the Raukapuka saw mills, at a cost of £67. On Monday evening a tea meeting, which was numerously attended, was held in the chapel Mr R. Morrison occupied the chair. After tea was over, addresses were delivered by the Rev. H. Bull and other gentlemen. The Secretary of the building fund informed the meeting that a sum of £51 10s was in hand after defraying all cost of expenses in building. After spending a pleasant evening the meeting separated with singing and prayer.  

Canterbury Methodist churches

The History of Methodism in New Zealand By William Morley (online)

At Geraldine steps were taken to erect a church during Mr J.B. Richardson's time. It was a small building, 20 feet x 16feet. The opening services were conducted by Mr Henry Bull, on April 19th, 1868, and were Pentecostal, six young men being seekers of salvation. Mrs Maslin and her family, Mr Huffey, a Primitive Methodist, and a Mr Meredith, were among the principal workers. For fifteen years it was prosperous, then some of the members died, others removed, and some, who had been Primitives in England joined the church, when a resident member of their own came to reside in the township. The services were discontinued in 1884, and two or three years later the building was sold. The proceeds, however, are invested for future effort, Mr W. Maslin is still a local preacher in the Circuit.

At Waitohi, seven miles from Temuka, services were began during Mr Rainsford Bavin's ministry. The late Mr Young, with Mr Humphries and Chapman, were devoted helpers. A small sod church, with a timber roof, was put up, and did duty for about nine years. In 1876, largely though the enterprise of Mr Young and his family the present neat building superseded it. The cost was £225, and a debt of £50 was discharged a few years later.

At the third New Zealand Conference held in 1876, it was resolved that Timaru Circuit be divided, the new Circuit to be called Temuka, and to include Temuka, Geraldine and Waitohi. The Rev. G. Bond, who had been a year on the ground already, was appointed Superintendent. The first meeting of officials was held on April 12th, when Messrs W. Storey and W. Maslin were appointed Circuit Stewards.


Photos taken 1st Sept. 2013 by Garry Toomey.

Laid by His Worship the Mayor J. Maling, Esq., August 6, 1908
Laid by G. Rudd, Esq., Chairman of the Geraldine District
Laid by J. Huffey, Esq., _______ _________
Laid by A Sherratt, Esq., ______ _________.

Rev. Rainsford Bavin, a Methodist minister from Lincolnshire, England, and his New Zealand-born wife Emma, née Buddle were married in 1870.

Photo taken August 2013. Talbot St. Geraldine
Approx. 148 Talbot St., Geraldine in Aug. 2013. The building is now the Gospel Chapel Hall since June 2010. The belfry has been removed.

Timaru Herald, 22 May 1909, Page 2
One of the prettiest weddings was celebrated in Geraldine was solemnised at the Primitive Methodist Church on April 25th, when Ethel Annie, second daughter of Mr and Mrs J. Brenton, of Wallomere?, Belford, was married to William Wills, third son of Mr George Underhill Seward, Bridgewater, Somersetshire, England, and as it was the first wedding in the new church, it created great interest, and the church was filled with friends of the happy couple. The ceremony was conducted by the Rev. G. H. Mann, and Miss Lottie Maslin presided at the organ. The bride, who was given away by her father, looked very becoming in a dress of cream silk voile, the bodice inlaid with beautiful lace, and finished with bauds of satin; she wore a veil of tulle, surmounted with orange blossoms, and carried a lovely bouquet. The bridesmaid (Miss Janie Brenton) wore a dress of cream delaine, the bodice trimmed with tucked net and finished with bands of satin, and she wore a white picture hat, and also carried a bouquet. The two little flower girls (Florence and Jessie Kellehan) looked very pretty in their dresses of cream lustre, with blue silk sashes and cream hats to match. After the ceremony the Rev. Mr Mann, on behalf of the trustees of the church, presented a very handsome copy of the Scriptures to the bride and bridegroom, in honour of theirs being the first wedding in the new church. The party then left for the home of the bride's parents, Belfield where the wedding breakfast was spread, and a very large number of guests were present.

Timaru Herald, 10 April 1869, Page 5
Geraldine Wesleyan Church. A tea and public meeting was hold on 22nd March in the Wesleyan chapel at Geraldine, on the occasion of the first anniversary. After the tables were cleared, the chapel became crowded to inconvenience. Mr R. Morrison occupied the chair, and after making a few opening remarks as to the progress made during the year, the financial secretary was called upon, and he read a report, which stated that the building was free of debt, and that there would be a balance in hand, which was to be devoted to painting the outside of the building. The Rev. H. Bull, Dr. Caro, Mr J. Macfarlane, and other gentlemen addressed the meeting.  

Timaru Herald, 29 December 1869, Page 2
The people of Geraldine would scarcely have known that Christmas had really arrived had it not been that the Sabbath school children of the above place and Pleasant Valley put m an appearance on Christmas Day, and were regaled with good things. In accordance with arrangements previously made the children, dressed in their best, began to assemble at the Wesleyan chapel at 2 o'clock. Their number was speedily augmented by the arrival of a dray load of smiling little faces from Pleasant Valley. A hymn being sung and prayers offered, the little ones were soon arranged m marching order. At their head was carried an exceedingly handsome banner, bearing the motto " God is Love," (the words, done in needlework, were executed in a style which reflected great credit on the ladies of Pleasant Valley), and a number of the children carrying little flags. In this order children and teachers marched through the village, at the upper end of which a pretty little arch, decorated with flowers and fern leaves, was held up by two persons. The children were marched underneath this and back again to the bush opposite the English church, where a plentiful supply of tea, cake, &c, was provided. After tea many of the children were joined by their parents, who engaged with them in a variety of amusements. Several pieces of poetry were very creditably recited by some of the children. There was also a Christmas Tree loaded with knic-nacks, which were disposed of by lottery. After spending an exceedingly pleasant afternoon the children returned to their homes about 6 o'clock. The Rev. Mr Bavin preached in the chapel at o'clock m the evening to a large congregation.

North Otago Times, 21 September 1875, Page 2 Opening of the Primitive Methodist Church, Geraldine.
On Sunday last (says the "Timaru Herald," of the 17th), the Primitive Methodist Church, Geraldine, was opened for Divine Worship. The Rev. J. Sharp, of Christchurch, preached in the morning and evening, and the Rev. G. Bond, of Temuka, in the afternoon. The church was crowded at each, service, the ministers spoke effectively, and the collections amounted to about Ll0. On Monday, the soiree came off. Large numbers were present from all parts of the district, and several were there from Timaru. There were three sittings at the tables indeed it was by far the largest gathering of its kind that had ever assembled in Geraldine. The tea, which was provided gratis by the ladies of the congregation, was an excellent one, and it appeared to be thoroughly enjoyed by the numerous assemblage. The evening meeting was literally packed. Scores had to stand, and many could not get in. The Rev. J. Ward occupied the chair. Effective addresses were delivered by the Revs. Murray and Sharp, and Messrs Sherratt, Huffey, Maslin, and Smith. The building has a neat exterior and its internal fittings are comfortable. It will accommodate about 150 people.

1880 Rev. T. Saddler.
1881 Rev. Mr J.H. Luke
1883 Rev. Mr Hayes
1896 Rev. Walter Harris
1897 Rev. H. Williams
1900 Rev. J. Sharpe
1903 Rev. J. Clement and H. Ramsbottom
1906 Rev. P.J. Cossum
1905 Rev. George H. Mann 
1914 Rev. B. Dudley
1915 Rev. G.H. Hunt
1918 Rev. J. Featherson
1924 Rev, H.A. Sharp
1926 Rev. H. Ford
Rev. John Southern he came to this country in 1900
Rev. Josiah Ward

Evening Post 2 March 1935, Page 7
The following alterations in the first draft of ministerial, appointments were approved at the Methodist Church Conference.
Temuka: The Rev. F. Hayman replaces the Rev. H. G. Brown.
Geraldine: The Rev. R. P. Keall replaces the Rev. W. E. Moore.

The "Gordon" Real photo Series

Timaru Herald 4 December 1879 pg8 Primitive Methodist Church, Geraldine.
The anniversary services in connection with this Church were held on Sunday, the 9th November, when the Rev. J. Dumbell preached. Dr Fish - introductory speech. Mr C.E. Sherratt, Mr Amos Sherratt, together with Miss Andrews presided at the harmonium. Mr W. King addressed the meeting. Mr W. Maslin spoke on "Methodism," in which the speaker stated that he hoped soon to see the day when there would be but one Methodist Church for New Zealand, instead of the various forms of Methodism now existing. In a letter from Wellington stated Rev. Thomas Saddler had been appointed to take charge of the station, and might be expected in a few days.

Timaru Herald, 26 April 1881, Page 3
The Rev. T. Sadler, who for some eighteen months has been resident minister to the Primitive Methodist congregation here, has removed to the Manawntu district. He is succeeded by the Rev. Mr Luke, who entered upon his duties on Sunday last.

Timaru Herald, 28 March 1889, Page 3 Geraldine Primitive Methodist Church
The annual tea and public meeting connection with the anniversary of the Geraldine Primitive Methodist Sunday School, was held in the church on Monday evening. Addresses were delivered by Messrs W. Smith, C. McKenzie, Metson (Temuka). The Rev. G. Clement, the newly appointed pastor, on stepping forward was received with the warmest enthusiasm and his remarks were listened to with much interest. Recitations were given during the evening by Misses Alice Major, Gerty Fleming, Louisa Howard, Fanny Jones, Ellen Bowkett, Esther Pizzey, Emily Maslin, Maggie Scroggie, and Masters Earnest Major, Fred Howard, George Sherratt and Walter Maslin. During the evening the choir, under the leadership of Mr T. Sherratt, assisted by Miss Andrews at the harmonium, gave a number of selections.  Mr W.A. Sherratt secretary.

Timaru Herald, 1 October 1892, Page 2
The Timaru Primitive Methodist Church choir on Thursday evening gave a service of song entitled "Promoted," in the Primitive Methodist Church at Geraldine. The Rev. Mr Woollass occupied the chair, Mr Best conducted, and the Rev Mr Woodward gave the connective readings. The solos were rendered by Mrs Warburton, Misses Leggott, and Tomlinson, Messrs Budd and Leggott. The church was crowded with an appreciative audience and at the conclusion of the service a hearty vote of thanks was accorded to the visitors. 

Press, 3 April 1915, Page 4
The harvest, festival in connexion with the Methodist Church commenced with special services on Sunday, when the Rev. B. Dudley, F.R.A.S., who is to take lip duties at Westport, preached his farewell sermon, the able discourse being listened to with attention. On Wednesday the festival was continued, a sale of work being held in the afternoon, and a social at night, at which the Rev. B. Dudley was presented with a suit case, and Mrs Dudley with teapot and cake stand, the presentations being made by Mr Logan. The Rev. Mr Guy. who presided, gave an address, and the musical items, including anthems by the choir and solos, were greatly enjoyed.

Press, 16 October 1916, Page 2
The forty-first anniversary of the Geraldine Methodist Church was celebrated by a soiree. After tea there was a large public gathering, when the Rev. G. P. Hunt gave a very gratifying report on the year's work, and addresses were given by the Revs. R. J. Liddell, C. G. Tocker. and W. Oxbrow. Anthems were sung by the choir and social and instrumental items given by local talent.


Ashburton Guardian, 12 July 1913, Page 5
A Methodist in a South Canterbury town owns a magpie which recently walked up the aisle of the local Presbyterian Church during service (says the Temuka "Leader"). The minister, with a sense of humour, went round to the Methodist next morning and said, "Will you please have that bird of yours converted to Methodism; we don't want to make him a Presbyterian."


Otago Daily Times 26 January 1914, Page 4 Marriage
ROBERTSON — MASLIN. On December 23, at the Geraldine Methodist Church, by the Rev. B. Dudley, F.R.A.S.. Bruce M'Intosh, fifth son of the late William Robertson, Maori Hill, Dunedin to Charlotte, third daughter of W. S. Maslin, Esq., Geraldine.

Evening Post, 7 June 1930, Page 13
Chrysanthemums and autumn leaves formed an artistic setting for a wedding ceremony performed at the Methodist Church, Geraldine, when Iris Mabel, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. South, Geraldine, was married to Frederick William Ernest Pitcher, elder son of Mr. and Mrs. F. G. T. Pitcher, of 107, Nelson street, Petone. The Rev. Mr. Southern officiated, and Mr. Bruce Logan presided at the organ. The bride, who was accompanied by her father, wore a charming French frock or ivory georgette. The plain bodice, with long sleeves finished over the hand with a peak studded with diamonds, was made with V neck. The skirt was flared, and fell longer at the back. Her embroidered veil (a century old) was caught at the sides with orange blossom buds. A shower bouquet of pink begonias, cream chrysanthemums, and maidenhair fern completed a tasteful toilette. The only bridesmaid, Miss Doris South, wore a graceful frock of lupin blue satin made in princess style. The long-sleeved bodice was belted and finished with an oriental buckle; the hat of lupin blue felt had a wide brim, and was swathed in satin ribbon. A loose posy of-yellow chrysanthemums and blue scabious was carried. Mr. Jack Allen, of North Canterbury, was best man. After the ceremony Mrs. South received the guests at her home, "Korari", wearing a frock of navy silk marocain under a fur coat. Her hat of navy velour was trimmed in velvet and a lighter blue, and she carried a bouquet of bronze chrysanthemums and autumn leaves. Mrs. F. G. T. Pitcher (mother of the bridegroom) was in champagne coloured georgette and lace worn with a musquash coat, and hat of the same shade. She carried a bouquet of flowers to tone. When the bride and bridegroom left for Queenstown the bride travelled in a frock of brown crepe de Chine, also a nigger brown face cloth coat, trimmed with fur, and a hat of brown felt with upturned brim.

Congregations are getting much smaller with nearing the point when they will cease to be financially viable. Church attendance has been falling since the 1960s and there is also the increase in average age of Churchgoers.

Deaths - older members of the church died

Star 12 February 1895, Page 2
Funeral at Geraldine. — Mr W. Tetheredge, who met with a severe accident a short time since at Mr K. Mackenzie's farm, near Geraldine, died on Wednesday evening last. He had been removed to Temuka shortly after the accident, and was under the medical charge of Dr Hayes. He was a young man deservedly respected, and his funeral, which took place on Sunday afternoon, was largely attended. A short service was held in the Primitive Methodist Church. The Rev. H. Williams gave an impressive address, and at its conclusion Miss Andrew, organist of the church, played the "Dead March." At the close of the service at the grave an address was given by Mr T. E. Loach.

Star 14 August 1896, Page 3
Geraldine, August 14. The wife of the Rev Walter Harris, Primitive Methodist Minister, passed away at Geraldine this morning, after a long and painful illness.

Auckland Star, 15 August 1916, Page 2
The sudden death at his residence in Mt. Pleasant Road, Mt Eden, to-day of the Rev. J. Sharpe, an old and very highly-respected minister of the Methodist Church. Mr. Sharpe was suddenly taken unwell and fell down at the gate of his residence, expiring almost immediately. He had joined the Primitive Methodist ministry in 1871, and afterwards went over into the United Church, and during his ministry, from 1871 till his retirement in 1916, he had charges at Thames, Christchurch, Ashburton, Timaru, Geraldine, Waimate, Dunedin, Invercargill, Feilding, New Plymouth, Auckland, and Edendale. He was president of the Primitive Methodist Conference in 1889 and again in 1905. After his retirement in 1910 he served as a supernumerary, and at the time of his death was doing supply service at Takapuna.

Evening Post, 16 February 1917, Page 8
Mr. John Hussey [sic], of Geraldine, one of the oldest residents of South Canterbury, died on Tuesday. He came out to New Zealand for the benefit of his health fifty-five years ago. He was a prominent Methodist, a Good Templar, and a former member of the Geraldine Town Board.

Dominion, 22 February 1917, Page 4
The death is reported at the age of 92 of Mr. John Huffey, one of the oldest inhabitants of South Canterbury. The late Mr. Huffey arrived at Lyttelton 58 years ago. [He and his wife sailed on the Cresswell to Lyttelton arriving 12 Sept. 1859. He ran a general store, situated on the corner of Huffey St. and Talbot St. Geraldine. John and Hephzibah are buried together at the Timaru Cemetery]

Press, 21 August 1917, Page 4 MR C. E. SHERRATT.
The death occurred on Sunday of Mr Caleb Ezekiel Sherratt, one of the oldest residents f the Geraldine district, at the age of 75 years. He was born at Moira, Leicestershire, and was for some years engaged in mining in the Old Country. In 1863 he arrived at Lyttelton by the ship Captain Cook, and, with his brother, the late Mr Amos Sherratt, was engaged in contracting for some years. The firm constructed part of the road from Lyttelton to Christchurch, and built the stone embankments. They also carried out road construction work at Sumner, Akaroa, and Kaituna. On receiving the appointment of clerk to the Road Board, the late Mr Sherratt took up his residence at Geraldine, was appointed clerk of the Court, and held some other Government appointments. Some years ago he was an office-bearer of the Methodist Church and a local preacher. He leaves a widow and two sons, Mr W. Caleb Sherratt and Mr Noah Sherratt, both of Geraldine and two daughters, Mrs Alfred Borrell of Geraldine. and Mrs W. Trengrove of Timaru to mourn their loss.

Press, 28 October 1918, Page 3 THE REV. G. H. MANN.
A Press Association telegram from Gore announces the death on Saturday of the Rev. G. H. Mann a minister who was to have succeeded the Cocker at the Cambridge terrace Methodist Church in April next. Mr Mann came to New Zealand in 1894, and was stationed for a time in Timaru. He had a very successful ministry of six years at Geraldine, and after leaving there he went to England for a trip six years ago he went to Devonport, Auckland, and after ministering there for three years, he transferred to Gore, but had decided to leave owing to the climate not agreeing with him. Mr Mann had acted as president of the Primitive Methodist Conference in New Zealand. He leaves a widow but no family.

Auckland Star, 20 September 1926, Page 9
The Rev. Josiah Ward, who had been in the Methodist ministry for 52 years, died at Brooklyn yesterday. He had held charges in many parts of New Zealand. He leaves two daughters, both resident in Wellington, and one son. Dr. S. Ward. of Whangarei. Obit.

Evening Post, 20 September 1926, Page 13 Mercy Anna Maria Smith nee Pratt (1844-1926)
By the death of Mrs. M. A. M. Smith, of Geraldine, which took place at the residence of her daughter (Mrs. W. Rae), another of the old South Island pioneers has been removed, says the "Otago Daily Times." The deceased lady, who had reached the ago of 81 years, was born in Mitchem, Surrey, and came to New Zealand with her parents in the Maori, landing at Lyttelton in -.1858. The family settled down at Riccarton (Christchurch), and six years later, just after the death of her father, Mrs. Smith went to the Shotover gold diggings, where she married [in 1864] the late Mr. Furneaux Smith (1839-1913). They settled down in Arrowtown until 1912, when they removed to Geraldine, and a yea later Mr. Smith passed away. Mrs. Smith took a keen interest in the affairs of the Geraldine Methodist Church, and was one of its most prominent workers. Eight children of a family of eleven survive—namely. Mrs. W. Burrows (Dunedin), Mrs. J, M. Cameron (Christchurch), Mrs. W. Redhead (Christchurch), Mr. J. F. Smith (Cromwell), Mr. J. H. Smith (Winchester), Mr. F. Smith (Temuka). and Mrs. G. Miller (Timaru).  

The old Sunday school at the rear of the church was I think the old Primitive Methodist Church--at least that was what we were told about 60 years ago.

All principal religious denominations have churches in the town of Geraldine built through the united endeavours of responsible and faithful congregations. On January 1st 2007 the Presbyterian-Methodist St Andrew’s Cooperating Parish became a solely Presbyterian parish. The Methodist parish will now close. 2009 photo

Methodist Church of NZ Archives

Evening Post, 17 September 1913, Page 9
Worry is friction, inactivity rust both destroy the human machine.

Timaru Herald, 24 February 1887, Page 3
TO LET — That Commodious SHOP and DWELLING, situate at the Corner of Talbot Street and Cemetery Road, Geraldine. Apply to MR JOHN HUFFEY, on the Premises.