Sunday, 22 March 2009

Wesleyan Wanderings.

This weekend I took my sandals for a walk in Mirfield and Epworth. Where is Epworth, I hear you ask. It is in Lincolnshire and it is where John and Charles Wesley were born in the home of their parents, daddy Wesley being an Anglican Minister, back when Ministering was in and Priesting was out. What was I doing in this place, I hear you ask again? Well, I visited the Wesley Parsonage (so much more fashionable than the Bronte version) which was described to me as a 'National Shrine' and was indeed full of relics and whatnot. I amused myself moving chess pieces around on a board which was in the rooms of the 'Holy Club', or the 'Sacramentarians', as Wesley's clique at Oxford was called by its detractors and, once again, I remarked on how much closer early Methodists were to Anglican Friars than what they are now and I wondered what we Anglo Catholic can learn from the beginnings of the Methodist movement and, indeed, the situation it now finds itself in. That Methodists are in talks with Rome which are looking more fruitful than ours was news to me, but news which I went hoping to get. Do not worry, I have no Methodist leanings, I can't sing, but the experience of the movement is fascinating. I used to take a retreat with a Methodist Minister friend occasionally, so hello Nick, if you tune in, I am coming round to your theories.

John W was not allowed to preach in the local Anglican Church, so he took to preaching from on top of his Father's grave, which remained his property, in an action worthy of Medieval Friars. Here you see your scribe delivering Wesley's sermon on self denial from a nearby grassy verge. Bet you didn't expect that, did you.

Saint Andrew's Church, Epworth, place of John Wesley's early preaching.

The night before I was drinking a bottle of port with noted heretic Jane while looking through the sermons of John Wesley.

Lastly, for today, Anthony CR is seen from my bedroom window putting the laundry out. Happily, we continued our usual conversation about Oblates and the need for centralisation. New religious movements without a central community are a possible way forward for the future, but need much thought.