There is a blend of Faith and Works.

Salvation is by faith through grace, and that by God’s love and power – but so that we should love Him and serve one another, especially those most in need.

The earliest record of what is today the Walmer Methodist Church began with meetings in the home of Mr and Mrs John Holmes in the last few years of the 1800’s. By 1900 services were conducted in the “Tin Tabernacle” at 161 Main Road. In 1935 the Women’s Auxiliary was formed and the first Trust Committee meeting was held on 1 February 1938. The first Harvest Festival was held on Sunday 7 March 1938. Evening services in place of the usual afternoon gatherings were made possible when the installation of electricity was approved by the Trust Committee of 19 December 1944.

Two adjoining plots on the corner of Main Road and 7th Avenue were purchased early in 1945. This came from a move initiated by Rev E F Piper, who oversaw both Pier Street and Walmer Societies, to motivate the use of a part of a bequest left by the late Sir Edgar Walton to be used for the purchase of land in Walmer. Late in 1948, with the decision to transfer the Methodist work from Pier Street to Walmer, moves were made to prepare plans for a new Church. On 5 March 1950 the foundation stones for this building were laid, one by Mr William H Pearce, the first person to be married in the Tin Tabernacle in 1900 to Laura Holmes, and the other by Mr Herbert Hurd.

Walmer really grew

beyond expectations.

At the opening service in September of the same year, the, then, Chairman of the Grahamstown District, Rev E W Grant officiated. Rev John Richards, fondly known as “Father John” oversaw the running of the church for the first two years. In 1951, Rev Milton Martin, assistant to Rev E W Garrett, the President of Conference, was appointed the first minister with full pastoral charge of Walmer. Thereafter a string of probationer ministers followed: David Jones (1952-1954), John Woolf (1955-1956), Malcolm Dickerson (1957), Peter Woolston (1958) and Ian Mutton (1959).

In 1960 Ken Carstens (1960-1961) was the first ordained minister and at this time the first manse was acquired at 62 Water Road. When Ken left for the USA, Herbert Lovemore (1962-1967) took over. Charles Moore (1968-1970) followed and Stanley Millar (1971-1973). In 1973 the present Church was completed. The foundation stone was laid on 11 June 1972 by Rev Dr C E Wilkinson, then, Chairman of District. Substantial funds for this building were raised by the Women’s Auxiliary and through the Tea Booth at Crusader’s Cricket Ground. Thereafter came Mike Mackintosh (1974-1978) and John Lewis (1979-1984). In 1977 the manse at 73 Main Road was built.

In the 20 year stint of Rev Derrick Jolliffe (1985 -2004), Walmer really grew beyond expectations. In 1992, the second five year plan culminated in the opening, on 1 December 1996, of the improved complex. This included the “Fellowship Centre” which joined the 1950’s Main Hall and the 1973 Church. A deliberate move to create more adequate parking, an upgrade of audio-visual facilities and changes in the sanctuary resulted in a modern multi-purpose complex. Derrick excelled at delegating. Key to his ministry was an unshakeable conviction for ordinary people doing extraordinary things for a Church with a fantastic future. From 2005 to 2021, the senior minister was Rev Jonathan Hobson. During this time the pastoral and administrative staff of the Church grew to include Rev Tim Marshall (Youth Director), and later Deacon Chris Sheasby and Rev Audrey van Wyk (Missions Team Leader), and a succession of excellent youth pastors, worship pastors, lay pastors and administrators– continuing the tradition started by Rev Jolliffe of trusting gifted people (both staff and lay members) with leading the ministries of the Church. This approach, supported and driven by the Church eldership has led to a very healthy local Church. The Church was extended to include the “John Woolf Chapel Extension,” opened by Rev Derrick Jolliffe on 22 April 2007.

Seating & specific facilities were created for parents of young children to attend Church. Upgrades to the Sanctuary, the Link , and Church complex’s audio-visual facilities followed in 2008. This started an ongoing process of constant upgrading and improving.

Over the years 2009-2014, 71 Main Road, and 73 Main Road were incorporated into the Church complex and they now house ouradministrative block and “Mission House”.

The Covid-19 pandemic catalysed Walmer’s Mission Department to greater heights of excellence and reach in our food security and other ministries. Over 200 families in our local impoverished community were helped and our ministry to many of them is still ongoing.

The pandemic also ignited a tremendous growth in Walmer’s Media, Tech and Worship ministry, with bold decisions being made by the eldership to spend a long-term investment on equipment to facilitate better video, audio and live-streaming capabilities.

This decision is still paying off richly as Walmer’s pursuit of technical, musical and theological excellence in our worship ministry (both in-person and online) continues to this day.

The current senior minister is Rev Dave Howard, who joined our team in December 2021 upon the retirement of Jonathan Hobson. He has stepped into a highly gifted and committed team of staff and church eldership and we look forward to what the Lord has in store for us by His grace!

Inclusivity and exclusivity are held in tension in 5 statements:

All people need to be saved, all people can be saved, all people can know that they can be saved, all people can be saved to the uttermost, and all people can witness they are saved. Our expression of the Christian faith has a particular feel with acknowledgement to Peter Storey in “Our Methodist Roots” published by Methodist Publishing House, Cape Town. It is a Blend of Passion and Intellect. Enthusiastic and Fervent, we nevertheless would not negate study and reason.It is a Marriage of Love and Discipline. All begins in God’s love and continues in our response. But love is embodied in growing obedience. We are a discipleship movement. There is a Blend of Faith and Works. Salvation is by faith through grace, and that by God’s love and power – but so that we should love Him and serve one another, especially those most in need. This, as a way of living out our love for God by choosing to love all others. We cannot imagine God’s rule only in one or some spheres of our lives – so there is always both personal and social holiness. Out of a profound personal encounter and the resulting relationship must flow a lifestyle that seeks to influence any and every part of our lives with the wisdom, truth, love and grace of God.