The History of this Church in Otford
Today Otford Methodist Church is a thriving Christian community,that meets on Sundays to worship God and is active throughout the week. We hold the truths about Jesus that have been valued by Christians throughout the centuries and seek to present then in a contemporary way that is relevant to people of all ages in the Twenty-First Century.
The Origins of Methodism
The whole Methodist Church owes its origin to John Wesley in the 18th Century. After a long period of searching in his own life, on May 24th 1738, at a Bible Study Meeting in London, John experienced what he described as having his heart “strangely warmed.” It was his way of expressing what it meant to come to know Jesus as his personal Saviour and Friend. It marked a turning point in his life and he began travelling up and down the country to preach the Good News about Jesus and establish local groups to encourage one another in their spiritual journey. In all he travelled around 250,000 miles on foot, horseback or coach and was at the heart of a revival of faith throughout the land.
The Four Alls
John Wesley had an easy way of summarizing what the Christian Faith was about. It was called “The Four Alls”.
This can be a helpful reminder to us today that, not only do we need to enter a relationship with God our Father but that we can do so by faith in Jesus, because of all He has done for us by His life, death and Resurrection. We can know this in our hearts and because of it there will be consequences in our lives as we grow to be more like Him.
On their travels John and his brother Charles (the famous Hymn writer) often came to Sevenoaks and Shoreham, where they stayed with the Perronet family. Many “Societies” of Methodists were established in Sevenoaks and surrounding villages and like other Methodist groups only later evolved into Churches in a formal sense. The first Methodist Chapel in Otford, was built in 1800, on the south side of the High Street, and had a small but faithful congregation throughout the Nineteenth Century.
The present Church building, on the north side of the High Street, was opened in 1935. Since then there has been a faithful and growing Christian presence, including members from surrounding areas. The Halls on the site have been used over the years for youth and community activities, as well as on Sundays, and in 2007 were replaced by a Halls complex, with increased and more modern facilities, that enable that work to increase. We are working towards building a larger modern Church adjoining the Halls. You can find a fuller history of the Methodist Church on the national website at www.methodist.org.uk by clicking the "Open to God" section, then "About the Methodist Church”.