John and Charles Wesley began Methodism as an 18th century renewal movement within the Church of England. Both men were very diligent in their religious life, so much so that those who derided them gave them the nickname “Methodists”, a reference to the systematic way they sliced up the day and gave themselves to its various activities.

Their ministry was fiercely inclusive, aimed at outcasts and the marginalised, including prisoners. The doctrine which was preached from pulpits and sung enthusiastically by those early congregations centred upon the universality of God’s grace and the need for all believers to grow in love.

The simple and readily accessible way in which the Wesley brothers preached and exemplified devotional life attracted thousands of followers. At John Wesley’s death in 1791, the Methodist Fellowship in Britain numbered 7,000.

Within a century, the movement had grown exponentially and was making a major contribution to national and international life.

Two hundred years later there are about one million people in Britain who have an active connection with the Methodist Church and 70 million across the world where the Methodist Church is growing rapidly. Our calling remains the same:

Express God’s love for all through word and action.
To love God and neighbour with all our heart, mind, soul and will.
To be good news to the communities within which we are placed.

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