Methodism had its early beginnings in the writing and itinerant preaching of the eighteenth-century Anglican priest, John Wesley. Wesleyan Methodism spread rapidly from the 1790s and missionaries moved out across the world, first setting up in New Zealand in Northland in 1823.
Methodism came to North Canterbury with the early colonial settlers. In those days there were four different Methodist denominations and two of them established here: the United Free Methodists in Rangiora in 1859, and the Wesleyan Methodists in both Woodend and Rangiora, in 1859 and 1862 respectively.
The United Free Methodists were located in Victoria Street almost opposite the Catholic church. The Wesleyans' first chapel was in Ashley Street, near what is now Blackett Street, before moving to their current site in King Street in 1875. The current church building was opened in 1952, with other parts of our buildings built at various times both before and since. The current Woodend church building dates from 1910.
The two Rangiora congregations united in 1896 in line with the amalgamation of the denominations nationally the same year. Through its history, the Woodend congregation has been located within various Circuits, but in recent decades has been within the Rangiora Parish.
Over time, our two congregations have, in true Methodist fashion, reached out into our community in many ways to all ages. We have prospered through times of huge social change and continuing growth in population. While through most of the twentieth century, the Parish has followed the traditional pattern of Sunday School, Bible Class, Women's Fellowships an so on, changing patterns of observance in New Zealand society have led us into seeing our community outreach as forming different kinds of congregations within our Parish.