Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Wesley Day Commemoration

On Monday afternoon we joined members from Wesley’s Chapel, including the Revd the Lord Leslie Griffiths and Revd Jennifer Potter along with Revd Stuart Jordan, Co-Chair in the London District, and other friends from around London, in attending Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral. We were welcomed by Revd Canon Lucy Winkett and members of the St Paul’s staff. David brought greetings from the Methodist Conference and read the lesson, the opening verses of Paul’s letter to the Romans. In the splendour of St Paul’s we listened to the beautiful singing of the choir of Royal Holloway College, London.

Following Evensong we traced the steps John Wesley took on 24th May 1738 by leaving through the north door of the cathedral. At the foot of the steps is a statue of John Wesley and we joined together in singing in the open air.

At each stop in our pilgrimage we laid a wreath in memory of the events that took place 272 years ago. Our next stop was at the Flame Monument at the door of the Museum of London, and which commemorates the site in Aldersgate Street where John Wesley felt his “heart strangely warmed”.

We then walked through the Barbican towards Bunhill Fields graveyard where Susanna Wesley’s grave can be found. Here extracts from a letter of Susanna and from John’s journal reflecting on his mother’s funeral were read. All along the route we were joined by members of the Ghanaian Susanna Wesley Mission Auxiliary, and it was one of their members that lay the wreath at this site whilst others sang.

A short walk across City Road took us back to Wesley’s Chapel, where we shared in a celebratory service which David led and I was invited to preach.

As the service drew to a close we processed out of the church and gathered around the grave of John Wesley. A final wreath was laid, another extract read from Wesley’s journal recounting his heart-warming experience in 1738, and we sang once again.

It had been a hot sunny day in London, but it was not the weather that left many of our hearts that bit warmer as we concluded our day’s events, but a real feeling that we were not just here to remember a historical event, but to give witness to a living faith that was having an impact on peoples lives today.

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