Wesley Memorial Methodist Church on John Wesley and Oxford

In the sanctuary of Wesley Memorial Methodist Church in Oxford, I found a number of flyers. One was entitled John Wesley and Oxford.

John Wesley entered Christ Church as an undergraduate at the university in June 1720.

He graduated in 1724 and on September 19, 1725 was ordained deacon by Bishop Potter. He delivered his first sermon shortly after at Fleet-Marston, a small village east of Oxford.

In 1726, Wesley became a fellow at Lincoln College where he received free board and lodging with a small stipend which was increased when he became Greek lecturer and class moderator.

Wesley was ordained a priest in 1728 and he went home to Epworth to assist his father.

Lincoln College recalled Wesley in 1729. He found that his brother Charles, William Morgan and Robert Kirkham had joined in study of the Greek Testament and attending the Sacrament on Sundays. This was the beginning of the Holy Club and what Wesley called the first rise of Methodism.

Morgan introduced the group to social work. He went with the brothers to the Castle Prison where they met debtors and criminals.

The group became know for religious observances. They took the Sacrament as often as possible, fasted twice a week and recited a collect at the hours of 9, 12 and 3. They were called a number of names including Methodists.

Wesley preaches at the university in 1738, 1741 and 1744. His last sermon was critical of the university for its sluggishness and spiritual apathy. Later he preached in private homes in Oxford to Methodist societies.

When he was married in 1751, he was required to resign his fellowship at Lincoln College.

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