The following statistics of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in South Australia were laid before the District Meeting of that body, recently held at North Adelaide:—
Circuits.—The colony is at present divided into six circuits. 1. Adelaide, South, embracing Pirie-street Chapel, and the chapels at Norwood, Brighton, Payneham, Unley, Goodwood-road, Plympton, Thebarton, Franklin-street, &c.
2. Adelaide, North, including the chapel at North Adelaide, and the chapels at Brompton, Port Adelaide, Belt, Walkerville, Montague, Gawler, Gawler River, Chain of Ponds, &c.
3. Willunga, at present comprising the chapel there, and the chapels at Clarendon, Cherry Gardens, Noarlunga, Maclaren Flat, Aldinga, Normanville, &c.
4. Burra, with chapels at Kooringa, Mintaro, and Spring Farm, near Clare.
5. Kapunda, having chapels at Kapunda, Penrice, and Greenock, the two latter being in course of erection.
6. Mount Barker, with chapels at Mount Barker, Nairne, Woodside, Strathalbyn, Springs, and Callington.
At the recently held District Meeting it was resolved that Clarendon should become a separate circuit, property having been purchased for a minister’s residence.
Ministers—At present ten are employed in the several circuits, but two others are on their way from England. The stations of the ministers, as recommended to take effect after the conference, are as follows:—
Adelaide, South—Thomas Williams, and Joseph Dare,
Adelaide, North, including the Port and Gawler—One in the place of D. J. Draper (who is leaving the colony), Spencer Williams, and one in the place of W. Tregellas.
Willunga—John Harcourt and Charles Colwell.
Mount Barker—Robert C. Flockhart and William Brown.
Kapunda—One coming from England.
Burra—Matthew Wilson.
Clarendon—One coming from England.
Local Preachers.—Of these valuable agents there are 83 in the colony, divided thus—
Adelaide, South, Circuit … 25
Adelaide, North, Circuit … 24
Willunga Circuit … … 13
Burra Circuit … … … 6
Kapunda Circuit … … 4
Mount Barker Circuit … 10
Chapels.—There are at present 38 chapels finished and occupied, the positions of which are chiefly given under the head of circuits; there are, moreover, seven now in course of erection, and when these are completed there will be commodious chapel accommodation for 10,000 persons, or rather more than one-tenth of the entire population of the colony. Divine Service is conducted in 30 places where chapels are not yet built; school-houses or private residences being used. It is ascertained that the entire number of persons attending the services conducted by Wesleyan preachers throughout the several circuits is at present not less than 9,350.
Church Members. — The number of full and accredited members of the Church, as returned on the 30th September last, is 1,506, and 226 on trial. It is believed that at the close of the present month (December) there will be at least 1,750.
Sunday Schools.—There are 35 schools under the direction of the Society, in which 402 teachers are employed, having under their care 2,727 scholars. Several of these schools are very efficient, aud good libraries are in several instances attached to them for the benefit of teachers and scholars.
Ministers’ Residences. — Commodious houses for the residence of ministers have been built in Gawler-place, and Lefevre-terrace in Adelaide, at Willunga, Kooringa, Kapunda, aud Clarendon. It is intended to erect one at Mount Barker during the coming year.
The entire cost of the buildings now occupied by this section of the Church has been very great. The sum of £35,000 is considered to be a very moderate estimate of the present value of the property. About £2,000 was received from the Government towards the erection of chapels and dwelling-houses. Comparatively little debt remains on them, and the rest of that large sum has been raised by the voluntary contributions of the people in the colony. The ministers are entirely supported by the people among whom they labour, and earnest appeals are made for more.