Basingstoke (South Ham Methodist Church)

some verses written in Germany

At some point during 1964, if not earlier, having come  to personal faith in Christ through the reading of one of Charles Wesley’s  hymns, I left Church Street Methodist Church, Basingstoke, where my parents  attended (when they went), and began attending South Ham, a new church-plant on  an immense housing estate, and nearer to our home. The minister was Bill Murphy,  whose ministry seemed to be of a warmer, more evangelistic character than that  at the big town church. The present church building had not yet been built, and  the church hall was used for services. Folding wooden chairs were placed in rows  for the congregation, and the lively services and other meetings often conveyed  the time-honoured Methodist call to personal conversion and consecration. After  the evening services, the young people used to meet at the home of Bill and  Marion Taylor, and there was a warm spiritual atmosphere among us, good  discussions, prayer and fun. God was at work within us.

My last Sunday at South Ham Methodist Church was 21st.  February, 1965, before I set off by train for Backnang, in southern Germany, to  take up work as a postman with a view to improving my German before going up to  Cambridge in the October to study Modern and Medieval Languages. Towards the end  of the three months I spent in Germany, I penned the attached verses as I looked  forward to re-joining the worship, fellowship and evangelism at South Ham once I  was back home.

South Ham Methodist Church

That chapel where in harmony each week
Some souls redeemed, and others who yet seek,
To worship God, perchance to hear Him speak,
Return, and humbly bow, sincere and meek,
To feel His comfort, or receive a streak
Of His dear light within their darkness bleak,
And sense His love unsearchable, unique –

Once more within their midst! soon I’ll be there,
To sing God’s praise, to offer up a prayer,
To lay my sinful nature ’fore Him bare,
And know His tender love, His grace and care
Allow that I from guilt be cleansed as fair
As any snow untrodden mount did bear;
In hymns to Him my love I shall declare,
My inward longing for that gift so rare
Of perfect purity nought can impair;
Our fellowship again in Him we’ll share –
What can man find so rich? or how, or where?

Once more my worship and theirs shall combine,
And rise united to the sphere divine.

 – Germany, 3rd June, 1965

Comments about this page

  • A lot more information about Methodism in and around Basingstoke is available on website which despite its title is not only about the Prims!

    By David Young (27/08/2017)

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