We decided to go to church Sunday. Surely there’s a Methodist church somewhere in London, right? So we rode the Tube to 49 City Road and attended the 11 a.m. service at Wesley’s Chapel. Yes. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, built this church and preached here until his death. Here we are, shortly after the service ended. Our good friends at Grace UMC in Naperville will appreciate this the most. Today, we walked in the steps of John and Charles Wesley.
This is an amazing place. Roughly half the congregation is African, many of the rest would fit right into the Forum Class at Grace! Being here was awesome. The Rev. Jennifer Potter gave an excellent sermon (not as good as Pastor Cindy, though!) from the high pulpit. In Wesley’s day, the pulpit was three times higher than what you see behind us here. That was so Wesley could see everybody, including those in the balcony, and be heard by all.
Following the service, we had coffee with some of the congregants. Wouldn’t be a Methodist church without coffee, would it? Then we went on a tour with other visitors, including a group from Idaho. A volunteer showed us the church, the Methodist Museum, Wesley’s original Foundry Chapel (next door to the current church), Wesley’s home and his tomb. I won’t take up space here with details. If you want to know more, go to www.wesleyschapel.org.uk. The church was closed for a number of years and has been changed significantly from what Wesley built in the 1700s. For example, there were no stained glass windows then. I’ll just add that it was pretty cool when I was able to stand in the same pulpit that John Wesley preached from. Wow!
Here’s that pulpit from the Foundry Chapel, now in the Methodist Museum. What’s still in the original chapel is the organ Charles Wesley used to write many of the hymns we still sing today.
In Wesley’s house, we saw the parlor and study, along with Wesley’s bedroom. All the rooms are very, very small. Much like the hotel room we’re in right now!
Here’s his study, complete with the chair he used, a replica of his preaching robe and the grandfather clock originally owned by Wesley’s parents. Notice that the chair is designed to be used as a normal chair, but Wesley also sat backwards on it so he could place a book on the small shelf, making study easier. The tour guide pointed out the size of the robe. Really short. Wesley was quite short, even for people in the the 18th Century.
Finally, here’s a shot of the church.