“President’s Morning” opened at 10.30 a.m. with seven apologies having been offered. Chairman Neil Ramshaw gave an update on former member Brian Blakey who is now in care at Southlands Home on the Ripon road. Mention was also made of the need for a volunteer to assist /deputize as appropriate for Mike South with regard to setting up/taking down at Tuesday meetings and anyone able to help should make Mike South, John Taylor or Neil Ramshaw aware.
Today was the annual “President’s Morning” and we were delighted to welcome the Reverend Christine Gillespie to take charge of the morning’s proceedings. The entertaining event consisted of tales of Methodism from its earliest origins in the 18th century, Reverend Christine’s ideas for the talk having been inspired by her completing entries in the Methodist Baptism Register and pondering on the history such entries possessed. Stories obviously included John Wesley and Charles Wesley, two sons from a family of nineteen, the father being Church Rector Samuel Wesley and a strong-minded and well-educated mother Susanna! Interestingly Samuel Wesley spent some time in a debtors prison and conversely completed a Dissertation on The Book of Job which he dedicated to Queen Caroline , an act which created discord and for a time separation from his wife. Whilst growing up in the Epworth Rectory in Lincolnshire John Wesley’s boyhood deliverance from a fire there led to the phrase ” a brand plucked from the burning” and engendered a belief in his mother that he had been spared for a higher purpose. Home educated until the age of ten, then Charterhouse School and Oxford University John Wesley became leader of a Society started by his brother Charles nicknamed “Methodiser”. We heard about John Wesley’s trip to America, his involvement with the Moravians which included the seminal date of 24th May 1738 when he experienced what he called his evangelical conversion and also some of the opposition faced particularly in the early years and to his outside sermonizing. Strong principled women featured in the early years of Methodism, an example coming from Wesley’s mother and also Mary Bosanquet who from a wealthy background became an itinerant preacher, started an orphanage and married a leading Wesleyan John Fletcher in 1787. Reverend Christine’s tales were told with a view to encouraging visits to places of Methodist historical interest such as Epworth Lincolnshire ( Wesley home and now a new rectory), London (Museums) and Bristol (New Room).
A number of questions and comments were made at the conclusion of the morning and on behalf of thirty-two attendees Frank Ellis gave the Vote of Thanks.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY