Free Methodists in colonial Christchurch : the church, community and commercial lives of some immigrants from Sunderland : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in History at Massey University

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This thesis tells the story of a small group of immigrants to Canterbury from Sunderland, England in 1858 and follows their lives and the events in their community up to the time of the First World War. John Thompson Brown and his fellow-settlers belonged to an off-shoot of the Wesleyan Methodist Church – the Free Methodists. Their commitment to this denomination and its ethos and the influence of religion on their lives is a central theme in their story. Life in pioneer society was hard. The environment made it so as much as anything and there were many privations. The sacrifices made by the early settlers and the generation of colonials that followed them were invariably perceived from the perspective of both material conditions and social values. A new community cannot be built without a vision of what that community should be like. This blend of the visionary and the pragmatic co-existed in the beliefs and actions of the early settlers and the colonials, and probably to the generations beyond. The values of the Free Methodists emphasised self-improvement and self-reliance and were supportive of the development of New Zealand as a Christian community As with other denominations their church was a central part of their community which they fostered both spiritually and materially - a considerable commitment of heart and mind in the demanding colonial environment. [FROM INTRODUCTION]
Methodists -- History, New Zealand -- Christchurch, Christchurch (N.Z.) -- Social life and customs, Brown, J. T. 1831-1912