Monthly Archives: June 2014

Preparing for our trip

We take adventure vacations. We have enjoyed several with our kids. We did a long weekend in Madrid last year visiting the Prado, Renia Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza. This year we will be visiting the UK to visit historic Methodist sites and then on to France where our daughter is part of the App State team competing in the Solar Decathlon Europe.

The main Wesley sites we plan to visit include

The Old Rectory and St Andrews Parish Church in Epworth

Christ Church and Wesley Memorial Methodist Church in Oxford

The New Room in Bristol

The Wesley Chapel and Methodist Central Hall in London

I have been in communication with representatives of each location and they have been very helpful. We are excited about our trip and the chance to learn more about John Wesley and the Methodist movement.



Markers of Wesley at Georgia coast

Blogger Rev. Brent L White traveled to the coast of Georgia on vacation and encountered memories of John Wesley‘s missionary work with the Georgia colony at Savannah.

Wesley, as many of you know, briefly ministered in the new British colony of Georgia (from February 6, 1736 to December 2, 1737), an experience that, by Wesley’s own account, was a failure. Like all such “failures” in God’s kingdom, however, God used it as an important formative experience from which Wesley learned and grew.

White has some photos of historical markers and Wesley related sites.

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Bishop Hope Morgan Ward visits Methodist historic sites in UK

Hope Morgan Ward, Bishop of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, discusses her March 2014 visit to the United Kingdom to visit Methodist historic sites.

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Thomas a Kempis prayer

Blogger Craig Adams at Commonplace Holiness Blog shares A Prayer for Today (Thomas a Kempis)

Write thy blessed name, O Lord, upon my heart
there to remain so indelibly engraved,
that no prosperity, no adversity
shall ever move me from thy love.

Be thou to me a strong tower of defense,
a comforter in tribulation
a deliverer in distress,
a very present help in trouble,
and a guide to heaven
through the many temptations and dangers of this life.

Commonplace Holiness Blog

In his studies at Oxford, John Wesley read Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ, written by the German prior, copyist and writer who lived in the 1400s at the Monastery of Mount St. Agnes. The Imitation of Christ is a handbook for spiritual life.


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NC Bishop remembers her visit to Wesley sites in England

I talked today with Hope Morgan Ward, Bishop of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church about her trip to England to visit historic Methodist sites. She and members of her cabinet were part of a tour in March 2014 that visited London, Oxford, Epworth and Bristol.

In our discussion, she told a story of visiting a remote chapel in northern England.

I came home very, very joyful to be a United Methodist. I have been a United Methodist my whole life. But there was something about particular places, hearing these stories again, standing on these places of holy ground that were spirit-forming for me.

I actually went over early with my mom. We rented a car and went up to Durham in the northeast corner of England. I had read that it was there that Methodism had flourished. It spread so fast. And that there were small Methodist chapels. The oldest of these was near a place called Weardale.

From Durham, we rode into the mountains and across the dales and made our way to Weardale. We found Ireshopeburn church. It was locked. I went up and knocked on the door. Nobody answered. So I went around to a window and looked in the way we do sometimes so we can see inside, and frightened a member of the church who was cleaning. I startled her.

She motioned to us to come back to the door. She opened the door, and Mom and I went in the church. We were able to be in this church where John Wesley had preached 17 times.

There was on the wall a wonderful etching of John Wesley coming in to the Ireshopeburn church. In the etching, Wesley was riding on a horse with lots of people, young and old, surrounding the horse as he rides up to the church.

Underneath is a quotation from his journal, a Tuesday evening in May in which he says “We rode on to Weardale. I had been out of ardor all night and found myself greatly weakened. However, I trusted in the Strong for strength and began to preach to the gathered congregation. I did not stop until I finished my discourse. I did not want for strength, nor did the people want for a blessing.”

That quote was one of the great gifts of the trip for me in realizing the way in which our forebearers pressed on even beyond their strength to receive God’s strength to do this absolutely amazing work.

Ireshopeburn is the site of the High House Chapel, the oldest purpose built Methodist Chapel in the world to have held continuous weekly services since its foundation in 1760.

The interview was videotaped. I will work to get it edited and on the blog soon.

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Advice from retiring leader of UM Archives and History

The Rev. Robert Williams is retiring after nine years as the top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History at Drew University in Madison, N.J. Williams observations on UM history:

Don’t reduce the teachings of John Wesley to misused and misattributed quotations that begin with “Do all the good you can.” More important, he points out, are Wesley’s words on salvation, holy living and caring about the least.

Don’t forget about Philip Otterbein and Jacob Albright, founders of what became the Evangelical United Brethren Church, which merged with Methodists to form the United Methodist Church in 1968. “I know those of the EUB heritage think we’re always talking too much about Wesley,” he says.

Keep the memory of African-American Methodism alive. A concern about losing that part of history led to the establishment of the African-American Methodist Heritage Center. Williams also believes, for historical reasons, that the U.S. church’s jurisdictional system should be eliminated. “It was created so the African-American conferences would be segregated into a separate structure,” he says.

Remember the various ways that culture and Christianity have interfaced in the past. In the early 19th century, for example, the U.S. church “didn’t buy into the cultural standards of its day,” Williams noted. By the end of that century, however, American Methodism was taking on trappings “of being the most American church,” as Methodist Bishop Matthew Simpson’s influential friendship with President Abraham Lincoln demonstrated.

History is connecting factor for Bob Williams – UM News Service

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Epworth discusses protecting Wesley headstone

The Scunthorpe Telegraph reports the Epworth Town Council has discussed safeguarding historic headstones.

The clerk has been asked to get quotes for insurance to cover damage by vandalism in the whole closed churchyard, after which the council will look at the next steps moving forward.

Brothers John and Charles Wesley are credited with founding the Methodist movement.  They were born in Epworth in the early 18th century.  Their father, Samuel Wesley, was the rector of Epworth from 1695 to 1735 and their childhood home, the Old Rectory, is now a tourist attraction.

Samuel Wesley’s grave to be insured against vandals

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Wesley loved Bible, read extensively

Pastor Allan Bevere in his Faith Seeking Understanding blog writes that Wesley famously noted he was a man of one book.

In the Preface to his Sermons, Wesley talked about the importance of the Bible, especially for the sake of salvation, and he famously described himself as homo unius libri (Latin, “A man of one book”)

Bevere notes that Wesley was a well read university graduate who demanded that his church leaders were well read.

Wesley was an Oxford University tutor who was well aware of church history, including its ecclesiastical and theological developments. He read, edited, and wrote vast numbers of books, and required that pastors and lay leaders he supervised read widely from the classics of Western civilization, logic, and rhetoric as well as the Bible in preparing them to provide leadership in churches and ministry

John Wesley: a man of one book?

The Wesley Center Online at Northwest Nazarene University offers Wesley’s Christian Library.

Happy John Wesley Day

John Wesley was born on June 17, 1703, while England was still using the Julian calendar. England adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 and thus Wesley’s birth date became June 28. Here is a story about Wesley’s birthday reflections.

UM News: Marking John Wesley’s birthday in his words


Oord on Wesleyan Salvation

Thomas Jay Oord, Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Northwest Nazarene University, speaks on salvation from a Wesleyan perspective.



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