About Circuit 901: Our History
Situated at the heart of Johannesburg, the Central Methodist Mission – Circuit 901 is one of the Circuits of the Central District of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. The Methodist witness in the Johannesburg City is as old as the City itself, dating as far back as 1886 when the first society was established. In 2016, the Circuit celebrated 130 years of the Methodism in Johannesburg.
Chronological events which shaped the Circuit:
- 1886: First Methodist congregation holds regular meetings in Johannesburg under the leadership of 2 laymen – Mr Thornhill & Mr. Dednam.
In the same year Johannesburg was founded following the discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand.
- 1887: First Minister arrives on the Reef from Pretoria, Rev. FJ Briscoe, and preaches from a waggon.
- 5 August1888: The Witwatersrand Mission, initially known as Gold Fields Native Mission is opened to serve Black and Coloured Methodists. Legalised racial segregation in the country meant that churches were divided along racial lines.
- 1889: President Street Church opens its doors for worship. It becomes the mother of Methodism in JHB because from it, other Methodist churches are built all around JHB.
- 1898: Synod decides to combine President Street, Fodsburg, Vrededorp, Marshall’s Town, Orphirton and Casey’s Town to form Central Circuit. Jeppestown Bertramstown & Vlakfontein are combined to form Johannesburg East; whilst Clifton, Langlaagte, Roodepoort and Krugersdorp form Johannesburg West.
- 1917: President Street could no longer accommodate its growing congregation; the church begins laying the foundation for a bigger church.
- November 1919: Central Hall on President & Kruis Street is completed, and the Central congregation moves into these new premises for Sunday worship.
- 15 October 1966: Central Methodist Church at 79 Pritchard Street opens. Its name is later changed to Central Methodist Mission.
Since then, the Circuit has grown, with a current membership of approximately 2 400.
Made up of six societies that are within proximity of each other, the Circuit is a vibrant spiritual home serving both its members and the broader inner-city community.