The Charlestown Methodist Church is an impressive stone structure constructed circa 1844 in the historical town and capital of Charlestown, Nevis. It is reputedly the largest church on the island and was built by slaves who arrived on Nevis in the 19th Century.
This beautiful edifice, the Charlestown Methodist church, though urgently in need of refurbishment, still services not only its congregation but also the community in general. The pulpit is raised on a wooden platform making it easier for viewing; and around the interior of the church is a balcony providing additional seating.
The church‘s seating capacity is 1500 and the hall (Basement) was used as a school in the early years. Formal schooling on the island was first organized by Church officials. The daughter of the Rev. John Henry Bridgewater ran a school in the church which became an important Nevis Educational institution. Despite the fact that the Government took over formal education from the church in 1916 the building continued to play a pivotal role to the formative years of education in the community.
The Charlestown Methodist Church Hall (Basement) housed the Charlestown Boys’ school for many years and it was not until September 1989 when Hurricane Hugo damaged the Church roof causing water to seep into the school room that alternative accommodation was sought. The students of the then Charlestown Junior School remained at the premises until May 1990 when repairs had to be done on the building.
Since then the renovated Hall (Basement) has become the hub of many Community activities.
The last three years have been quite challenging for the Charlestown Methodist Church. In addition to regular monthly expenses we were faced with an initial estimated Building & Renovation Fund Target of $1.5 million Eastern Caribbean dollars.
Currently the estimated cost has risen by $4.2 million Eastern Caribbean dollars. This projection accounts for the increased scope of work now required for the renovation of this historic church. Such work includes: the installation of Steel frame, major roof renovation to include acoustical setting, replacement of wooden flooring with concrete, emergency wash room facility, upgrading of the Conference Center, the upgrading the electrical works to facilitate of air-conditioning, Security features, the installation of Wheel chair lift / Elevator, Exterior ramps.
Various Church groups and Organizations, families, individuals, friends, well-wishers and support groups have been aggressively raising funds to contribute to the Church’s Building and Renovation Fund. An Anniversary Fund was also established as reserve for the Church’s Property Fund.
The proposed scope of work entails:
- that the design continues to reflect the historical features of the church
- the installation of a Metal Steel frame
- Main Floor to replace existing wooden floor with new concrete floor
- Renovation on the basement to accommodate income generating activities.
- Doors and Windows that will allow natural lighting and ventilation
- Tiled Floor
- Redesigned and renovated kitchen to allow for proper functionality
- Storage facilities
- Exterior Ramp and Bathroom facilities (to accommodate the disabled and ailing Seniors)
- Upgrading of Electricals
- To re-design the Pulpit to allow for better functioning and ease of performance
- To remodel existing roof and ceiling
- To provide proper access to the Bell Tower
- To provide new wooden railing to the mezzanine level.
- To accommodate Audio and Video system
- Provisions for security to include fire hoses, etc.
- Wheel Chair Lift and Elevator
The church currently has an active membership of approximately two hundred sixty-nine Members of which 79 are Males.
Church groups and individuals have committed to Pledges and regular financial commitments in order to assist with funding.
Our most recent hosting of activities included the Federation’s Independence State Service of September 2015. The Charlestown Methodist Church still holds the distinction of accommodating many Graduation and Commencement exercises, Conferences and Programmes, Funerals and other large gatherings.
We have procured the services of the Architectural Firm of Williams Architectural to assist with the proposed renovations and remodeling. Work is in progress and we are advancing in terms of the Stages of requirements and pre Renovation works.
Collectively Membership which includes our Groups and Organizations, friends and well-wishers have amassed approximately East Caribbean Two Hundred Eighty-Two Thousand Six Hundred Sixty-Eight Dollars and Forty-Three Cents (EC$282,668.43) towards this very worthwhile venture.
We shall most graciously accept any Grants/Donations or financial assistance given towards this very worthwhile venture.