T O THE glory of God, to the honour of those who have prepared a heritage, to the edification of all who stand here today, to the instruction of our children, we dedicate the Wesley Heritage Corner in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
With these words, the Wesley Heritage Corner was dedicated to God and officially declared open by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon on Feb 20, 2005 — the day Wesley Methodist Church celebrated its 120th anniversary.
“We give you thanks, Almighty God, for those who walked along the Way, for their faithfulness to our Lord Jesus Christ and their steadfast love for you.”
The Heritage Corner, which is located in the Sanctuary Extension foyer of Wesley Methodist Church, may be viewed on Sundays in between services. It features exhibition panels tracing the history of Wesley Methodist Church from its beginnings in 1885 to the present day.
Also on display are artefacts that have been used in the church through the ages. Highlights include original tiles from France salvaged during renovations from the roof of the building, a metal baptismal bowl and plate, and a wooden chair used for children’s Sunday School classes that had been found bricked up behind a wall.
One of the more unusual items is a wooden window frame from the south wall of the church sanctuary before the latter was extended in the late 1970s. The window frame, which had been taken to pieces for storage, was specially reassembled for the Heritage Corner.
The current display is the Heritage Corner’s “permanent exhibition”, but will make way from time to time for other historical presentations that will be mounted.
“We give you thanks, Almighty God, for those whose dedication to the Gospel caused them to express a vital faith and establish a tradition, of which we are grateful descendants.”
A heritage display was first set up by the church staff in the mid-1990s.
Responsibility for the display was assumed by the Wesley Archives & Heritage Committee after the ministry was established in 1998.
Early on, the committee had planned to improve the display so that it would tell the story of the church more systematically. However, it took a good seven years before the plans could be fulfilled.
The Wesley Heritage Corner would not have existed without God’s grace and the efforts of the committee’s volunteers and staff of the church’s Communications Ministry. Together, they planned the layout of the area; designed and supervised the fabrication of new display cases and fittings; carried out historical research; selected photographs and wrote the text for the exhibition panels; and arranged for the panels to be laid out and constructed.
Work progressed at a leisurely pace until 2004, when the church’s impending anniversary gave the committee impetus to complete the project. The exhibition panels were hung and final touches made to the displays only on the day before its official opening.
The key Bible verse of the committee is Deuteronomy 32:7: “Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you; your elders, and they will explain to you.”
This is part of the Song of Moses in which he reminded the people of Israel about God’s faithfulness to them.
The committee sees the Wesley Heritage Corner as playing an important role in educating the congregation about the good work of those who have preceded them, thus enabling them to build on that foundation for the future.
The Heritage Corner is a vital complement to the Committee’s Archives and Oral History Programmes, which gather and preserve information about the church’s heritage. It stands as a testament to God’s mercy and faithfulness to his people at Wesley Methodist Church.
Jack Tsen-Ta Lee is the Archivist and Chairman of the Wesley Archives & Heritage Committee.