logo paint Rathgar Methodist Church


About Us

Rathgar Methodist Church is situated in a richly ecumenical part of south Dublin and has been serving the community here since 1874. We are situated at the junction between Garville Avenue and Brighton Road within easy reach of Rathgar, Terenure, Templeogue, Harold's Cross and Rathmines.

Rathgar Methodist Church was built in 1874. The site also originally incorporated Rathgar National School within its boundaries. With the enactment of the National Schools Act, the school was relocated to its present site on Rathgar Avenue, but the link between the two has been maintained as the minister in Rathgar Methodist Church has always acted as the chaplain to the school and the church is still used for special school services. We are currently linked to Dundrum Methodist Church and together we form the Dublin South Circuit (parish).  

1-Brighton Road snow 1

Methodism was never intended to be a separate denomination; it was originally a revivalist movement within the Church of England in the eighteenth century and the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, remained an Anglican all his life. Nowadays, however, the Methodist Church has come to be considered as a separate entity. Theologically, it would still have a lot in common with the Church of Ireland (Anglican), differing mainly in its organizational structure and in its emphasis. There have been moves in recent years to encourage even closer cooperation and relations between the two churches are warm and supportive.

Methodism, in many ways, is less of a church and more of a particular approach to life.

We seek, through collective worship, individual and group study, prayer, reflection and a wide variety of communal activities to explore what being disciples of Jesus Christ really means for each one of us in our daily lives. We seek to build one another up and to encourage each other in worship and service, both within the church itself and further afield. A lot of Methodists are involved in the vocational sector including education, nursing, mediation/counselling and ecumenical activities and we have a number of families who are currently serving the church overseas.

 Vanessa and Rev Bill Mullally

The Methodist Church has an itinerant ministry i.e. its clergy are appointed to different churches around the country at fairly regular intervals i.e. on average every 6-8 years. As a result, there is a lot of emphasis placed on the role of the laity who provide stability and continuity in between appointments. The church is very keen that its lay members be encouraged to exercise their own kinds of ministries through participation in a wide variety of church activities. Lay members, for example, are involved in the decision making process, look after the church finances, manage the church premises, run the children’s programme, take part in worship and are generally very involved in the day-to-day working of the church community

The church is situated in a richly ecumenical part of Dublin and there are regular meetings of the Rathgar/Terenure Fellowship which draws together the local clergy and other representatives to plan interdenominational services and interfaith activities . The local Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist and Church of Ireland churches are represented as well as two Quaker meetings, the Salvation Army and the progressive Jewish synagogue.

Like many church communities, Rathgar Methodist Church has changed over the years because of social and demographic movement. Most of the congregation, historically, would have been made up of a mix of Methodists and Anglican members. Now, however, it is drawing people from a much wider constituency and over the past ten years we have become the spiritual home of people from several non-Methodist backgrounds. These have included Lutherans, Mennonites, Catholics, Congregationalists and Baptists. We have had people join us in recent times from Slovakia, Canada, France, Sudan, Zimbabwe, the US, Nigeria and South Africa, people who are living here usually for work- related reasons. With them, they have brought fresh insight and energy and we have been greatly blessed by their presence and support.

Coffee Dock 1

Our morning worship usually starts at 11.30 am but is preceded by coffee from 11.00 am to enable the members to get to know each other better. This is a relatively new initiative and is proving immensely helpful in terms of community spirit. There is a Sunday Club during the service most weeks when the children leave us after the first 10-15 minutes to move to the hall for the remainder of the service. Depending on demand, we sometimes have a crèche for our smallest visitors and there is a permanent selection of “busy bags” at the entrance to the church for those youngsters who may feel the need to stay with Mum and Dad for the whole service. There is always a children’s talk up at the front and older children are encouraged to sing and to read during morning worship from time to time.

We celebrate two sacraments, Holy Communion (first Sunday of every month) and baptism. Confirmation (also called reception into full membership) is an independent, informed decision made by the person involved and it can take place at any stage during a person’s Christian journey.

In terms of general activities, we have a women’s group called the Methodist Women in Ireland (MWI) which meets monthly for a varied programme. Last year ,there was a Bible study for adult beginners, a morning meditation group and a Lenten Bible study and there is always the possibility of more study groups depending on the current need.

Coffee Dock 2

Three times a week we run a coffee bar which is both a venture in community outreach and a fundraiser for an educational project which we are supporting for children affected by HIV/AIDS in Kwazulu Natal. Links have now been established between Rathgar MC and an indoor bowling club run under the auspices of the Methodist Church in Leeson Park. We are also the venue for classical concert performances on Sunday afternoons.

There are a number of special events each year which draw the congregation together. The first of these is our Harvest Festival which takes place on the third Sunday in September, with services at both 11.30 am and 7.00 pm. The church is beautifully decorated for the occasion as we gather to thank God for all his gifts. After the evening service, there is always a special supper in the hall and the next day, the displays are dismantled and the fruit and vegetables are distributed by the members to a number of local charities.

 Rathgar Harvest Festival

Then on the first Saturday in November, we run our annual fair, which is a lot of work but a great deal of fun. This is our main fundraising activity of the year and we have a variety of stalls, both indoors and out, as well as tea or coffee.

Every year in early December, we hold our annual Christmas Breakfast which has been running for about fourteen years and which draws people from all over the Dublin area. This is essentially a social event, designed to cover costs, with people paying a modest amount for a cooked breakfast or a continental option. In recent years, an Art Exhibition & Sale has been run in our hall to coincide the Christmas Breakfast and this has been growing in popularity since it began.

Early in January (usually on the first Sunday) we have our Covenant Service which is one of the most characteristic features of the Methodist Church. This is a service of rededication held all over the island at which each person there recommits him/herself to the service of God.

Then at the end of May, before we all break up for the summer, we have a pot-luck lunch with members bringing along a contribution to share with others in the hall. This is another social event which is proving to be both popular and great fun!

We hope that you will feel welcome when you come to Rathgar and that you will be blessed and encouraged by your time with us. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the minister and he will be delighted to help in any way he can:

Rev. Yongnam Park at [email protected]