John and Charles Wesley, evangelists and hymn writers (1791, 1788), 24th May

Charles shared with his brother John the building up of early Methodist societies, as they travelled the country…

John WesleyCharles Wesley

John Wesley (left) Charles Wesley (right)

Born at Epworth Rectory in Lincolnshire, John Wesley was the son of an Anglican clergyman and a Puritan mother. He entered Holy Orders and, following a religious experience on this day in 1738, began an itinerant ministry which recognised no parish boundaries. This resulted, after his death, in the development of a world-wide Methodist Church. His spirituality involved an Arminian affirmation of grace, frequent communion and a disciplined corporate search for holiness. His open-air preaching, concern for education and for the poor, liturgical revision, organisation of local societies and training of preachers provided a firm basis for Christian growth and mission in England. Charles shared with his brother John the building up of early Methodist societies, as they travelled the country. His special concern was that early Methodists should remain loyal to Anglicanism. He married and settled in Bristol, later in London, concentrating his work on the local Christian communities. His thousands of hymns established a resource of lyrical piety which has enabled generations of Christians to re-discover the refining power of God’s love. They celebrate God’s work of grace from birth to death, the great events of God’s work of salvation and the rich themes of eucharistic worship, anticipating the taking up of humanity into the divine life. John died in 1791 and Charles in 1788.

Text Reproduced from Exciting Holiness by kind permission of Brother Tristam Holland SSF
Portraits reproduced by kind permission of theWesley and Methodist Studies Centre, Oxford Brookes University