Leaders: past and present
Find out more about Wesley Mission's many Superintendents.
Rev William George Taylor
In 1884 a young evangelist and preacher, Rev William George Taylor became our first Superintendent. Taylor brought a new energy to the ministry, overseeing a name-change to Central Methodist Mission (CMM) and a strategic move towards a policy of evangelism.
Taylor’s appointment was followed by a strong period of growth as we reached into the spiritual, social and economic heart of the city with tireless publicity and regular, ongoing visits to homes, ships, lodging houses, hospitals and gaols. After three years at the helm, Taylor returned to England for study during 1887 but returned in 1889 with renewed vigour.
In 1890, Taylor established the Sisters of the People Home in a six-bedroom house in Woolloomooloo. The Sydney home, which started with five women, answered the needs of families, women and children trapped in the economic and moral turbulence of the time.
Rev Dr Frank Rayward
Starting in 1937, over the next twenty years, Rev Dr Frank Rayward accepted the role of Superintendent and served during one of our most sustained periods of expansion.
A particular focus included growing residential facilities for the elderly. Rayward oversaw development of the Lottie Stewart Hospital, Waddell House Hospital, Sylvania Settlement for aged couples, Wesley Hostel and the foot clinic, as well as significant additions to Sunset Lodge, WG Taylor House, Dalmar and the Men’s Hostel. These ventures were debt-free thanks to government assistance and the generous donations of congregation members, despite the economic consequences of the 1930s and subsequent war and post-war inflation.
Rayward was recognised as an exceptional and dramatic preacher and, as such, attendance during prayer meetings, class meetings, the Pleasant Sunday Afternoon program and the 7pm Service grew exponentially. He also had a great sense of community, something that was much needed during the long, uncertain days of World War II.
Sir Rev Alan Walker, OBE MA
In 1958 Sir Rev Alan Walker stepped into the role of Superintendent. Realising that the church needed a strong voice in the community, and with the benefit of worldwide experience behind him, Walker took full advantage of the relatively new medium of television to spread the Gospel. In 1959 he also founded Wesley Impact! magazine, which is still published today.
Walker developed exciting new initiatives, with opportunities for media presence and political advocacy. He started taking the church out to the people instead of waiting for the people to come to the church.
An abrupt end to the original Lyceum era came in February 1964 with the building burning down to the ground. Walker was at his best when he planned a new Lyceum and Wesley Centre which opened in 1966.
Rev Gordon Moyes AC
In 1978 the new Superintendent, the Rev Gordon Moyes AC, began his 27-year tenure, overseeing the enrichment of our media profile and bringing the life-changing message of Christ into individual homes through television and radio.
Recognising the new pressures on family life and household budgets, Moyes also initiated the development of financial counselling as a worthy addition to existing suicide prevention, addiction and family relationship support.
Our ever-expanding organisation was fast outgrowing the new Lyceum Theatre. This prompted Moyes to oversee the renovation of our Pitt Street building, which reopened in 1991.
Moyes also oversaw a major expansion of our communication methods, particularly through the use of electronic media, which he harnessed effectively. After nearly three decades at the helm, the inspirational Moyes retired.
Rev Dr Keith V Garner AM
In 2006, the Rev Dr Keith Garner from England, became Superintendent. He came with a renewed vision for a city church that reached the most marginalised people on the edges of society, while acknowledging the need to understand what those edges might be. Read his full story.
Over the last 200 years, there have been a total of nine Superintendents. In addition to the five Superintendents mentioned above, the other four include:
- Rev Patrick J Stephen (1913-1915)
- Rev Samuel J Hoban (1915-1921)
- Rev Henry J Foreman (1921-1931)
- Rev Rupert J Williams (1931-1937)