Hinde Street Methodist Church is our church in the ‘West End’, being north of Oxford Street, a short walk from Bond Street Tube station, at the south end of the area known as Marylebone. Arguably Hinde Street is not as well known as the other two central London Methodist churches (Wesley’s Chapel and Westminster Central Hall) but it has a considerable Sunday and weekday ministry: four services on a Sunday (three in English and one in Korean) and, as part of the West London Mission (which also includes Kings Cross Methodist Church) social care projects with a particular focus on the homeless.
This year the church is celebrating a double anniversary – 200 years of worship on the present site, but the congregation can trace its origins back a further 50 years to 1761. There are a number of special services taking place throughout the anniversary year – on Sunday the guest preacher was Revd Doreen Hare, now in Birmingham but previously a university chaplain based at Hinde Street. The service was led by minister at the church Revd Leao Neto.
Hinde Street is a smaller congregation than Wesley’s Chapel and Westminster Central Hall, and at least at the service we attended, an older, mainly white, congregation. (I believe many of the younger professionals associated with the church attend in the evening.) It is an attractive galleried church, with subtle lighting highlighting the columns and other architectural features in the sanctuary.
Doreen preached from the lectionary passages, illustrating how each spoke about the need to reapply what has been taught in the past for the present age (thus Jesus: “You have heard it said… but I say…”) and connecting this to the celebration of church anniversary. The worship was based on the First Service in the Methodist Worship Book, and we had a variety of hymns and songs from Hymns and Psalms and Common Ground. To an extent this confirmed my own feelings about the difficulty of trying to shuffle three different books, but I enjoyed the variety of music, from a simple unaccompanied Taize chant in the opening prayers to a couple of Charles Wesley hymns which speak of the people of God as a travelling people, guided and guarded by God: ‘Worship, and thanks, and blessing‘ and ‘Captain of Israel’s host, and Guide’. Again, it was good to belt out these powerful, classic hymns – on reflection this was something I missed in the Philippines.
We enjoyed worshipping with the fellowship at Hinde Street – just one Sunday left before I return to the pulpit.