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Advert for a Wesleyan Church Sunday School

Advert for a Wesleyan Church Sunday School

Printer: Unknown

Medium: Print on paper

Date: 1882

Shelfmark: Evan.5008

Item number: 5008

Genre: Leaflet

This is an advertisement for Sunday school sessions held by Wesleyan Methodists. The Wesleyans take their name from their founder and most famous preacher, John Wesley. Ordained in the Church of England in 1728, he initially led just a small group of Christians in Oxford. Their theology was somewhat unorthodox by Church of England standards: Wesley placed great stress on the phenomenon of human sin and the need for salvation through Christ, and in particular on the role of Holy Sacraments as a path to God. The Wesleyans were also Evangelical, seeing part of their role as taking the message of Christ to places it had previously been absent.

On one such missionary excursion, to Georgia in 1735, Wesley found his faith at first tested and frustrated, but finally confirmed. On his return to Britain, he established a chapel in Bristol, aiming to rejuvenate the Church of England by example. Borrowing methods established by the Protestant Pietist-school of continental Europe, he organised small prayer groups, Bible-discussion forums, and encouraged lay (ie, non-ordained) preaching and social activism. Wesley was particularly concerned with the lot of the working classes, who he warned of the dangers of gambling and drinking, and in whom he tried instil the values of hard work and saving. John Wesley died in 1791, and just four years later his church separated formally from the Church of England. Under its new leader, the charismatic Hugh Price Hughes, the Wesleyan church attacked the Anglican control of education and gave strong support to the burgeoning Temperance Movement.

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