The Methodist Church in Gibraltar was founded by a group of “soldier preachers’ in the early months of the year 1769. The first permanent meeting place was the home of Sgt. Major Ince who was himself a Methodist preacher and was to become famous for his work on the Upper Galleries. Despite great difficulties, the Church grew, and in 1804 the first Methodist Minister was appointed, charged with the care of both service and civilian members of the society.
In 1809 the first church was built in Prince Edward’s Road upon the site of Sgt. Major Ince’s army quarter. Later a manse and school were added. In the middle years of the 19th century Methodist work spread from Gibraltar into Southern Spain where both church and schools were established. In the early 1890’s part of the school in Gibraltar was converted into a recreation club for the soldiers and sailors stationed on the ‘Rock’ who had previously availed themselves of the ‘home from home’ provided by a succession of Ministers and members of the Methodist community. In 1898 the social work of the Church expanded with the opening of the ‘Welcome Soldiers and Sailors Home’ at what was then No.6 Church Street the site of the old Eastern Telegraph offices. In 1933 the ‘Welcome’ removed to its present site at No.297 Main Street.
During the years from 1898 to the advent of World War π the ‘Welcome’ served thousands of service personnel of all faiths and of none. During these years also the Methodist Church in Spain was greatly strengthened by the support of Methodists in Gibraltar. After World War π the old ‘Welcome’ became a ‘Wesley House’ and the social work among the service personnel of all nations was continued and extended.
In 1956 the church in Prince Edward’s Road was sold along with the manse and the present building was reconstructed to house a church, church parlour, quiet room, restaurant, etc,.
During recent years the Church and its fellowship has become the spiritual home not only of Methodists but of many other Free-Church personnel stationed or living in and around Gibraltar. Visitors to the Rock have always been accorded a warm welcome and have found their holidays enhanced by participating in Church activities. Also, expatriates living in Gibraltar and Spain have joined the fellowship along with Gibraltarian Methodists. Wesley is also the British Sailors Society’s Chaplaincy to the Merchant Navy.
There is now a flourishing congregation and a large house group, as well as the ‘Carpenter’s Arms”, an alcohol-free bar lounge. The lounge is part of the outreach to the whole community replacing the restaurant. The Church also plays its part in Ecumenical activities.