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Over the Rainbow

Over the Rainbow
May 18, 2018 Judith Simms

Opening of the Methodist Women in Britain Collection 2018 Exhibition

Epworth Old Rectory (EOR) has gathered, catalogued and curated the Methodist Women in Britain (MWiB) Collection since 2015.  An exhibition was staged during 2016 and 2017 telling the story of the different women’s movements in the Methodist Church from the nineteenth century to the present day.  A new exhibition has been hung for the 2018 season.


EOR Trustees Sarah Braisdell and Linda Crossley
at the 2018 exhibition opening

Over the Rainbow is an exploration of one of Women’s Network’s early national and international campaigns, which was in solidarity with the South African Black Sash movement of quiet, non-violent protest against apartheid.  Many South African Methodists were active supporters of this campaign.  The culmination of Network’s awareness-raising in Britain was a rally at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, held in June 1990.  When Sarah Braisdell asked for items for the Women’s Collection in 2014, her call brought in about 20 banners, made by Network groups in circuits and districts as part of this campaign.  Further acquisitions included issues of Magnet, the magazine of Women’s Network, press cuttings and photographs also linked to it. The resulting new exhibition is bright and colourful.

Wednesday 21st March was the date of the annual Trustees Meeting at EOR, with members from the World Methodist Council in attendance.  Gillian Crawley, Curator, invited Bishop Ivan Abrahams, the Council’s General Secretary, to formally open the exhibition.  At the short ceremony, he spoke very personally of his experience growing up in a black family in South Africa under the apartheid regime, and recalled his mother’s devotion to the Methodist Church and her involvement in Women’s Network there.  He paid tribute to the international support which helped bring about its downfall in the early 1990s, including that of Women’s Network in the Methodist Church in Britain.


Bishop Ivan with Amy, the volunteer who
created the Over the Rainbow display

You can read more about the MWiB Heritage and Archives project, including the 1990 Over the Rainbow campaign on the mymethodisthistory website

Epworth Old Rectory, 1 Rectory St, Epworth, Doncaster DN9 1HX

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, & Bank Holiday Mondays
10.00am – 4.30pm (May to September) and 10.00am – 3.30pm (March, April, October)
(last admission 30 minutes before closing)
Admission prices:       Adult £7.00          Concession £6.00          Groups of 10 or more £6.00 per person

For more information about EOR, visit the Epworth Old Rectory website