Founding a new church is a true visionary act. A group of Ashley folk, who were meeting to worship in a farmhouse in 1860, had the vision to build a new church.

On our 162nd Church Anniversary, it was illuminating to consider what other visionary acts were taking place around the world at the same time as key moments took place in the life of Ashley Methodist Church.

In the same year as our foundation stone was laid, the Pony Express was launched to carry mail in relays from the East to the West coast of North America. The same year, the first commercial telegraph service was launched, instantly sending messages between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Within just a year this technological leap led to the closure of the Pony Express!

The next vision at Ashley was to raise funds to build and run a Sunday School at the rear of the church. It was opened in the same year as the Empire State Building in New York. Its backers had the vision to build the tallest building in the world, and they succeeded for almost 40 years.

In the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year, the Sunday School was further extended. In California a start up computer company was incorporated by a trio of visionaries, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, quirkily naming it “Apple”.

Demolishing the Sunday School, extending the church sideways and modernising the space to provide flexibility, for a variety of uses, took real vision. The membership raised the money, approved the plans, and moved out while the transformation took place. The same year, Sergey Brin and Larry Page envisaged a new way to search for information on the internet, while studying at university: they called their company “Google”.

Next May, the same week the coronation is planned for the new King, will mark the 25th Anniversary of the reopening of the remodelled and reinvigorated Ashley Methodist Church building.

Property Steward