Methodists have been in Umhlali since the 1870's. Our marriage register records the first wedding in the 'Umhlali Chapel' in 1875 between Gemima Burne (whom we presume has ties with the farm Burnedale neighbouring our property) and Thomas Fayle (whose family has a street named after them in Salt Rock). Our current building was only dedicated some 50 years later, in 1924.
Umhlali is one of fifteen societies (congregations) in the the Lower Tugela Circuit. We work together with other societies as far south as Tongaat, right up to Darnall and uThukela in the north and inland as far as Maphumulo. Our circuit is part of the Natal Coastal Synod which extends from Amanzimtoti in the south, right up to the Mozambique border. The MCSA (Methodist Church of Southern Africa) covers the whole of South Africa, as well as Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Mozambique and Swaziland.
We're on a journey, so some of these ideals still represent what we would like to be, but here is what matters to us:
authenticity: We value individuality, including the quirks that make us unique. No-one needs to pretend to be something else
children: Children are full members of our community. Often they are our teachers
independent thought: We value questioning, thinking faith. We're comfortable with honest disagreement
life-long learning: We prize learning and education as key tools for growth and transformation
hospitality: We strive to be generous, warm, welcome hosts to any and all who come to us
prayer: We value prayer - not just as an afterthought. As Wesley said 'God does nothing but in answer to prayer'.
hopeful diversity: We believe the diversity of our country's people is a gift to us. We are hopeful about our future together.
every-member ministry: Although only a few are ordained, we believe all our people are called and gifted by God and we look for ways to encourage, nurture and exercise those gifts
We are a worshipping community, making disciples of Jesus to change our world.
The clip below is from 2014 when our mission statement was adopted by the church. It gives a sense of where we are heading.