The Amazing Methodist Magic Lantern Show

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Magic Lantern

The Amazing Methodist Magic Lantern Show by the Rev Steven Wild
The President of the Methodist Conference
at Promenade Methodist Church, Douglas,
Wednesday, March 23rd: 2016

MISSION was the theme of the visit of the Revd Steven Wild, and that soon was central to this most illuminating address (in more than one sense of the word). Nor was it without significance that Promenade Methodist Church was chosen as the venue, being historically the site of a former Primitive Methodist Chapel, known as Loch Parade.

After explaining how he came to own his "magic lantern" and several Victorian sides, the President moved on to mention how Primitive Methodism came to the Island -- with the Bolton Circuit endorsing the mission of John Butcher, who was financed to the tune of 6d -- being the surplus circuit funds for the year! It was in later years, with the invention of the "Magic Lantern" that all branches of Methodism recognised its potential.

In the earlier part of the twentieth century, as technology progressed, Cliff College developed the idea by using a travelling van whereby films could be shown. But for most of the evening, we saw various slides of nineteenth-century gatherings and of how Bible texts and mottoes were used, such as -

"Whosoever drinketh this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst: but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:13 & 14

As for the moral and spiritual improvement of the people, there were pictures, with captions, such as -

  • "Sin -- A Dear Little Pet (becomes) A Terrible Master"
  • "Christ -- A Clean Slate and a New Life" and
  • "Carve out your Character in the Likeness of Christ"

    Methodism's heritage is that of calling upon the whomsoever to turn to Christ. That was central to this most enjoyable evening -- with the theme being particularly set by the hearty singing from an old slide of: -
    "Jesus, the Name high over all,
    In hell, or earth, or sky;
    Angels and men before it fall,
    And devils fear and fly."

    Charles Wesley, 1707-88
    Text and photographs © Peter Murcott

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