Francis Asbury - Responding to Call

A portrait of Francis Asbury, reproduced with the permission of the Trustees of Wesley’s Chapel

The Methodist Church in Britain and The United Methodist Church are celebrating 250 years since Francis Asbury’s missional journey from England to America.

At the age of 26, Asbury stood up and responded to John Wesley’s call for men to go to America as missionaries. He thought he would be gone for just a few months, but spent the rest of his life in America, preaching almost until the day he died at the age of 70. He brought Methodism to thousands of Americans. This autumn, we are celebrating his response to John Wesley’s call, and using the anniversary as an opportunity to reflect upon God’s call on our lives. Watch our video from Pill featuring local Methodists and extracts from Francis Asbury's dairy:


Our celebrations in Britain took place over the weekend of the 11th and 12th September and are available to view again here: 

  • Anniversary Service: At the New Room in Bristol, where Asbury was commissioned, Rev Jonathan Pye lead a special anniversary service. Barbara Easton, Vice-President of the Conference, reflected on what Asbury means to her. The service is available to view here.
  • Magpie22 Concert: Folk-Americana band Magpie 22 performed a selection of original compositions, covers and spiritual songs reflecting the themes of travel and the sea. Join online here.

The events in Bristol are the start of the anniversary celebrations. The UMC will host events on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st October, marking 250 years since Asbury arrived in Philadelphia. In the weeks in between, when Asbury would have been travelling, we are sharing weekly reflections focusing on what vocation and calling mean to Methodists today. Please join us in using these reflections, which will be shared weekly here:


We will be sharing reflections during the weeks between Francis Asbury's departure from Pill and arrival in Philadelphia at the end of October. 


Our first is on the significance of journaling, by our Mission Partners, the Revd Dr Stephen Day and the Revd Jane Day. Discover how spiritual journaling can be valuable in deepening faith and processing life's ups and downs. Read Stephen's reflection here and watch Jane's video:

Rural Ministry

Our second reflection by our Rural Mission and Ministry Officer, Sarah Hulme, looks at rural ministry and the context we face today as we try to live out our calling. You can read it here.

Responding to God's Call

Our third reflection is from our President, the Revd Sonia Hicks on responding to God's call.  Sonia reflects on her own path to ordained ministry and the call to minister amongst communities in Jamaica. You can read it here. 


Learn more about the life and legacy of Francis Asbury from Sarah Hollingdale, Methodist Heritage Officer and Ashley Boggan Dreff, General Secretary  of the UMC Commission on Archives and History. The Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, Barbara Easton, explains why she is one of Asbury's biggest fans. Listen here.

US eventsClick here to visit the UMC website for details of their events and resources. 

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