Information about service times, groups and facilities etc. can be found on our website at www.southlandsmethodistchurch.org.uk
Southlands Methodist church is partnering with Seek Art School, to develop our building, so that as well as providing a place of Methodist worship, and space for our community, it has also become a hub for the arts in the city. We have developed studio spaces, and in partnership with Seek Art School and some of our 20 resident artists, art workshops and classes are now available on site.
Style of worship – a mixture of traditional and modern hymns and songs using PowerPoint. Weekly services at 10:30am on Sundays include All Age Worship once a month.
Accessibility – We have a hearing loop and some large-print resources with hymns and occasional videos projected on to a large screen. There is a ramp from the car park up to the Southlands Road entrance.
Young Church meets in a room upstairs unless it is a day when we have All Age Worship. Young Church children join the main congregation during the penultimate hymn.
Our fellowship group meets on Monday afternoons (from 2.30pm) between October and the end of May. Our Concern group for prayer meets on Wednesdays all the year round, starting at 2.00pm.
There is limited onsite parking (nine spaces) and parking restrictions on roads in the area (so watch the signs). There is a shoppers car park by the Bishy Road shops. No public transport buses on Sundays at present.
It all started in a butcher's shop
It all started in a former butcher's shop at the bottom of Adelaide Street, in South Bank, York, in the 1860s or 1870s.
George Everitt, the young man who owned the butcher's shop, cleaned the premises out every Saturday evening so it could be used as a Sunday school on Sunday mornings.
This work was so successful that it eventually moved into two houses in a neighbouring street and services for adults began to be held as well.
At about this time a large Methodist chapel inside the city walls was seeking to respond to the growing population just outside the walls.
The Sunday school work started in the butcher's shop and the money and personnel made available by the big chapel resulted in the opening of Southlands Wesleyan Chapel and Sunday School at a cost of £6,000 in 1887 in a prominent position on a site previously occupied by a windmill at the top of the hill in Bishopthorpe Road.
By coincidence this was close to a spot where in a previous century an Archbishop of York was executed!
Soon the chapel had 600 children on its Sunday school roll. Since then Southlands has responded in many different ways to community needs – providing leisure facilities for soldiers during two world wars, providing shelter and help for refugees from Belgium and Hungary, offering a friendship-through-tapes ministry to old people, and more recently a heavy programme of youth and children's work.
The need for these forms of outreach has long since passed, but the church continues to look for ways to serve and respond to the needs of the community and still works with uniformed groups and Young Church.
The Youth & Community Centre required little structural alteration to equip it for youth work, but major repairs to put right years of neglect and deal with dry rot and wet rot cost the church more than £21,000 in 1977.
During the year 2000, as part of a Millennium project, access to the church building was considerably improved with new, more open, more welcoming entrances being provided from Southlands Road and from Bishopthorpe Road. At the same time floodlighting was provided at the front of the church, and a large stainless steel cross was fixed to the side of one of the front towers.
Work was completed in the autumn of 2009 on a £41,000 project to upgrade and modernise the toilet accommodation at Southlands. Then, in 2016/17, after a fire safety inspection, the church had to spend a considerable amount on fire safety measures, including the installation of 11 fire doors.
In 2018/19 the church embarked on a scheme to adapt the first-floor gallery in the Youth & Community Centre to create a number of studios to accommodate a number of artists looking for studio accommodation. More studios were provided in the old balcony area above the church itself.
We have been able to welcome large numbers of visitors to Southlands for events like Open Studios Weekends and other events as South Bank Studios have gone from strength to strength. Our catering team, with help from some of the artists, laid on refreshments for both Open Studios Weekends in April 2022 and raised more than £2,300 for church funds as we came out of the Covid-19 restrictions.
The pandemic had forced the closure of the premises and the church itself for a number of months in 2020. Fortunately, we were able to share in worship on Zoom or use printed service sheets in our own homes until live services were able to resume in the church itself.
In 2016/17 a single-storey building known as the Thanksgiving Hall and opened in 1921 to provide leisure facilities for men who found they had no jobs on their return to York after the First World War was demolished. It was in a poor state of repair and was no longer used for its original purpose. Over the next few years the site of the hall was turned into a community garden.