Posted on 16 June 2018
16 June, 2018, marks 315 years since the birth of John Wesley, co-founder of the Methodist Church.
Both John and his brother Charles were Church of England priests who volunteered as missionaries to the American colony of Georgia, arriving in March, 1736. Their mission was far from an unqualified success, and both returned to England disillusioned and discouraged, Charles in December, 1736, and John in February, 1738.
Upon returning to England, they began their own movement, which would reform both church and nation. Over time a pattern of organisation and discipline emerged and so the name Methodist came into existence and its message spread across the globe.
The brothers founded Methodism on a simple statement:
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
By the start of the 20th century there was a Methodist outrage over the miserable lives of the millions of workers in factories, mines, mills, tenements and company towns. The Social Creed was written and adopted by the Methodist church in 1908.
Here are some extracts from the Social Creed:
“We affirm the natural world as God’s handiwork and dedicate ourselves to its preservation, enhancement, and faithful use by humankind.”
“We joyfully receive for ourselves and others the blessings of community, sexuality, marriage, and the family.”
“We commit ourselves to the rights of men, women, children, youth, young adults, the ageing, and people with disabilities; to improvement of the quality of life; and to the rights and dignity of all persons.”
“We believe in the right and duty of persons to work for the glory of God and the good of themselves and others and in the protection of their welfare in so doing; in the rights to property as a trust from God, collective bargaining, and responsible consumption; and in the elimination of economic and social distress.”
“We dedicate ourselves to peace throughout the world, to the rule of justice and law among nations, and to individual freedom for all people of the world.”