A brief historyof the Church
EARLY YEARS - MEETING OVER A LAUNDRY
Tooting Methodist Society is first mentioned in 1836. The Society met in rooms over a Laundry owned by one of the members and also at times in hired halls.
PURCHASE OF LAND AND AN IRON CHAPEL
The decision was made in 1868 with a membership of 17 and Sunday School of 46 children, to purchase land at the junction of Balham High Road and Tooting Bec Road (the current site of the Roman Catholic Church), and to erect a temporary “Iron Chapel”, a type of pre-fabricated building.
MISSIONS IN TOOTING AND BALHAM
A Mission was started in Tooting initially meeting in a hired room in Selkirk Road and later housed in a Mission Hall in Garratt Lane.
Ten years in 1891 a Mission was started in Balham and a Mission Hall was established in what is now known as Oldridge Road.
MOVING SITE AND NEW 1000 SEATER
By 1899 with a growing membership of 191 there was an urgent need for larger premises so the present site in Balham High Road was chosen and plans drawn up to provide a Church to hold 1000 people with premises to the rear for the Sunday School. This building was opened in 1904 and was a very grand gothic styled building.
WORLD WAR TWO - DESTRUCTION
During the Second World War the neighboring factory was hit by a flying bomb and six people were killed. Most of the church was also destroyed apart from the rear Tapp Hall which enabled the church to continue meeting throughout the war.
RE-BUILDING - “I shall arise”
Following the war the replacement and current building was opened in 1957 seating 300. The rear premises has been remodeled with new classrooms and the original Hall re-built. Over the front high window you will notice a mosaic depicting the ruins of the old church building with the words “I shall arise” and a stained glass window over the Sanctuary showing the descending Holy Spirit as a dove.
Since the late 1940s there has been a steady influx of people and families from overseas making the current congregation increasingly multi-cultural.