Visit the markers in London that honor John Wesley and take a look inside the Methodist Museum and Wesley’s Chapel at JohnWesleyBlog flickr.
Wesley’s Chapel, City Road Chapel in London, is the mother church of Methodism. John Wesley had the church built, preached there and lived on the property. It still serves as a church as well as a place of pilgrimage. Jennifer Potter is an assistant pastor at Wesley’s Chapel.
From the New Room publication The Tablets at the The New Room comes this description:
Bristol was a memorable city for the Wesleys, linked to Methodism. Between 1739 and 1790, more particularly in the first 30 years of Methodism, John Wesley spent more time here than anywhere else in the kingdom. Charles Wesley was often here, and made it his home from 1749-1771. London, Bristol and Newcastle upon Tyne were the three early centers of the 18th century Revival.
This room was Wesley’s first Methodist Preaching-place, and had school, society room, and apartment sfor the preachers under the same roof. His first conference met in the Foundery, London in 1744, and the second was held in 1745 in this his first Conference Chapel. His last Conference was also held here in 1790. It is the only building, therefore, in the world that spans the whole of his evangelical ministry. It really consists of two buildings. The north end towards the Horsefair, was erected in June 1739; the south, towards Broadmead, in 1748.
It is thus the oldest shrine in World-wide Methodism, and the earliest monument of the evangelical revival still in existence.
This is Tablet 1 of the historical tablets placed in the New Room in 1930 and the text were made available in 1984 for the church’s Bicentennial Celebration.
John and Charles Wesley had strong connections to Bristol, UK. They established the New Room as the first Methodist meeting space. Charles made Bristol his home. Rev. David Weeks serves as chaplain of the New Room today. He talks about the Wesleys and the building on the Horsefair.
When we visited Wesley Memorial Methodist Church in July, we found them true to their open doors policy. We had taken the bus from London to Oxford and arrived in pouring rain. The stop was in front of Christ Church. We got our bearings and made our way to New Inn Hall Street. I remember the front door to the church being open, and shaking my umbrella and raincoat off as we entered. The church is in the busy downtown area and the streets were busy with several people walking into the church to see the beautiful sanctuary and its stained glass windows.
The church’s Open Doors brochure outlines building improvement plans to be welcoming, hospitable and flexible. A new entrance will encourage more visitors to enter the building and take advantage of available activities and facilities. The church want to create a place of encounter, belonging and hope for everyone while leaving room for new ideas and upgrades.
Inspired by the Past
Oxford is the city where for many, Methodism was born. There has been a Methodist Chapel on this site for nearly 200 years and the Open Doors Project seeks to fulfill the mission of the Wesleys: to worship God and to reach out to others.
Planning for the future
We occupy a prime site in Oxford and have unique opportunities for witness and service. Our redevelopment project, which is estimated at 1.2 million pounds, aims to bring the facilities at Wesley Memorial in line with th needs of the 21st Century.
The Facebook page of Wesley Memorial Methodist Church in Oxford reports that scaffolding went up today for the restoration of the church’s stained glass window that displays flowers and plants of the Bible.
The church opened in 1878 featuring the stained-glass windows in the East and West. The windows need urgent attention. An architect confirms that ‘the East Window is at risk if the lower panels are not straightened and re-attached to the saddle bars…’ and the Rose Window has ‘suffered distortion’ resulting in the panels bulging outwards.
The church launched an Appeal for the Victorian Windows in March. Through the generosity of several individual donors, the ‘virtual’ wedding presents on behalf of a newly-married couple and a grant from Oxfordshire Historic Churches’ Trust, the church raised £47,000 for the renovations.
Work is due to start on 11 August and take eight weeks.
–Summer 2014 Wesley Memorial News
Methodism in Oxford dates from the 1720’s. The first Methodist House was built in 1783. Wesley Memorial Methodist Church was built in 1878. You can find photos of the church on the JohnWesleyBlog flickr page.
John Wesley graduated college from Christ Church in Oxford. He became a fellow at Lincoln College. Kate Dobson of Wesley Memorial Methodist Church in Oxford talked about Wesley’s days in Oxford and impact on the community.
Samuel Wesley was rector of St. Andrews Anglican Church in Epworth, UK. When in Oxford, we made the short drive from the Old Rectory down the street to the parking area near the church. We took a number of photos as we walked around the 15th century Perpendicular-style Anglican parish church.You can find the photos on the JohnWesleyBlog flickr page.
The church website makes clear it continues to serve the community with regular worship services for its congregation while welcoming those interested in its history. Most notable is that Samuel Wesley is buried at the church and his grave was used as a site for his son’s preaching in Epworth when he was denied the church’s pulpit.
The church has many notable architectural features and interesting items of furniture, including a chair left by Susanna Wesley on her departure from Epworth. The font was used to baptize all the Wesley children, and the chalice, originally Samuel Wesley’s, was used by John for his first Holy Communion, when aged 9.