HISTORY OF METHODISM
Methodism has its roots in eighteenth century Anglicanism. Its founder was a Church of England minister, John Wesley (1703-1791), who sought to challenge the religious assumptions of the day. During a period of time in Oxford, he and others met regularly for Bible study and prayer, to receive communion and do acts of charity. They became known as 'The Holy Club' or 'Methodists' because of the methodical way in which they carried out their Christian faith. John Wesley later used the term Methodist himself to mean the methodical pursuit of biblical holiness
In Bristol in 1739 he began preaching to crowds of working class men and women in the outdoors. This 'field preaching' became a key feature of the Revival, when thousands came to hear Wesley preach up and down the country. He formed local societies of those converted and encouraged them to meet in smaller groups on a weekly basis. He insisted, though, that they attend their local parish church as well as the Methodist meetings. Every year, by horse or carriage, Wesley travelled the country visiting the societies and preaching.
Preaching radical ideas took great courage in those days. Wesley and his followers were denounced in print and from pulpits, his meetings were disrupted and he was even physically attacked and threatened with death.
John Wesley always declared that his movement should remain within the Anglican Church but the Church of England was keen to distance itself from him and his followers. He declared "I live and die a member of the Church of England". However, in 1784 he set up a structure, the Yearly Conference of the People called Methodists, to ensure the continuation of the Methodist movement after his death. In the end, the strength and impact of Methodism made a separate Methodist Church inevitable. In 1795, four years after Wesley's death, Methodists in Britain became legally able to conduct marriages and perform the sacraments.
MISSION AND VALUES
Meet the team
Learning and Caring
REV. Neil Vickers
REV. Susan Chambers
REV. Katie Deakins