Report to Conference 2022
The Methodist Historical Society is grateful to its members and the Connexion for continued support through the last two pandemic years. 2020 and 2021 have been difficult for the Society as successive lockdowns have caused usual activities to be cancelled or postponed.
Archive Work. The largest impact has been on the archives at Edgehill House where access was restricted or closed for large periods. Although our volunteers continued to work from home and answer email and phone queries, personal visits to the archives were not possible. The library and archive have now been reopened to the public by appointment, where the archivist and associate-archivist are happy to assist with research. Earlier this year the valuable Lisburn Circuit collection of historic records was added to the almost complete repository of Connexional holdings.
Pilgrimage and Lectures. After two abortive attempts to visit the Castlederg Circuit it was a great pleasure to have the invitation renewed this year, particularly since Aghyaran church is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Last year there were two lectures. Keith Haines spoke on ‘Sir Samuel Kelly: Coal Merchant, Gun-Runner and Methodist Benefactor’ and the Annual Lecture by Dr Peter Forsaith was on ‘Adam Clarke and the struggle for Wesley’s Methodism’. Both were virtual lectures delivered via Zoom.
AGM 2021. This was held as a virtual meeting and was well attended with participation by members in Ireland and elsewhere. The Society welcomed Rev Dr Stephen Skuce as editor of the Bulletin.
Centenary Project. The Society is delighted to report that it was awarded a grant by the Irish Heritage Fund of €15,000 towards its digitisation project. The good news is that during the course of the last two years the complete run of Irish Methodist periodicals from 1859 through to 2015 has been digitised and many thousands of pages of newsprint is now available online through the Society’s website without paywalls.
The Society holds in trust the records of the Methodist Church in Ireland and endeavours to serve the Church and wider society by maintaining and making available our Methodist heritage. We value the prayerful and financial support of the Connexion and encourage more Methodists to become members.