I see Thee not, I hear Thee not
Yet art Thou oft with me
And Earth has ne'er so dear a spot
As where I meet with Thee
These words, written for the Methodist Hymn Book one hundred
years ago, express the feelings of one man for the church he loved and for the
place where he had learnt his trust in God. They echo the determination of our
society at Eton Wick to survive beyond a century with a chapel that has become,
for us, a powerhouse of prayer and a springboard of service and mission.
The Primitive Methodist Chapel was built in 1886 as an act
of faith by dedicated souls believing that many would come to hear the Word of
God preached and take the love of God into their hearts. It was the direct
result of a great groundswell of the movement of the Holy Spirit in that generation
which produced many such Bethels throughout the land. They brought Christ
nearer to the people, nearer to their lives and nearer to their ways of
thinking. They brought challenge and response to young and old.
The story starts with one woman and her vision which was
transmitted to others. The simple fellowship of Sunday School, House Meetings
and Camp Meetings created the demand for a chapel and so the vision became a
reality. Always since its birth the chapel has struggled to thrive and grow
with the village and its 'New Town' image. Always the chapel met demand and
opportunity - expanding, consolidating, re-equipping, and re-presenting itself
to every generation until the present day one hundred years on.
Although this booklet is about the history of a building it
is really about the lives of people associated with it. As such, many events
must remain untold, but the story cannot end without reference to one hidden
thread that binds our heritage. It can be found in the simple list of
Ministers, allotted for brief spans of their time to shepherd the flock at Eton
Wick. They above all others have welded the fabric to the fellowship and
provided the impetus for our enterprise and the focus for our acts of worship.
They have listened and advised, served and led through happy times and sad.
Their glory is unsung, but their presence is felt within these pages. The
ministers together with the never-failing band of local preachers have formed a
corner stone in building up spiritual life and nurturing the continuity of
faith. Without these evangelists our story would be about a struggling
organisation instead of flourishing church.
We the Stewards and Officers of Eton Wick Methodist Chapel
have raised this document as a remembrance and a memorial to the century that
has passed - for all the life that has been dedicated here, for the worship in
hymn and prayer, for the word that has been continually preached, for all the
love and the care shown, for the teaching given and the guidance received. All
this work has been accomplished in the name of Jesus Christ. The assignment has
sometimes been difficult, but the reward has been in knowing that this place
has always been a haven of blessing to many.
The achievement of any church is not measured merely in the
size and quality of its building, or the number and popularity of its
membership, but by the influence which its congregation has upon the
surrounding area and in the lives of others. We hand on to the next hundred
years, with its fresh faces, new ideas and rapidly changing lifestyle, the same
tough assignment, and the same challenge for outreach. Whatever circumstances
may arise and whatever the fashion or mood of the times, we pray that this
chapel will meet the need and answer the call.
Once more we look to the future with a vision of hope. God
bless us all.
Who puts his trust
In God most just
Has built his house
He who relies
On Jesus Christ
Heaven shall be his securely most surely
The Eton Wick History Group is most grateful for the kind permission given by the Eton Wick Methodist Chapel to republish this history, Tough Assignment on this website.