21 May 2004

Vice-President's Wesley Day message one of celebration and renewal

On Wesley day, Monday 24 May, the Vice-President of Conference, Judy Jarvis, will preach on the theme of the challenge to the church at a time of change.

Her sermon, based on the account of the Ascension of Jesus in Acts 1.1-11, will look forward to the coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost to renew and revitalise the church.

Judy Jarvis said: "Wesley day is an important day in the year for all Methodists. Celebrating the date of John Wesley's 1738 conversion experience enables us to look back and re-engage with where we have come from, and to draw inspiration from the courage and values of our Methodist founders.

She added: But these are critical days for the Methodist Church, and for the Church of God at large. As a report entitled 'Priorities for the Methodist Church' will say this year at Conference, we must recover confidence in God's presence and action in the world and in the Church. So this Wesley day we will both celebrate the past, and pray for renewal."

After the 12:30 Eucharist service at Wesley s Chapel, worshippers will proceed across City Road to Bunhill Fields Cemetery to lay a wreath on Susannah Wesley s grave. Jennifer Potter, Associate Minister at Wesley s chapel, commented on this tradition: It is a recognition of the great influence she had on her son s, John and Charles. As long as she was alive they referred their doubts, sorrows and joys to her.

From Bunhill Fields the procession will go to the Flame, a monument marking the very spot where John Wesley s heart was strangely warmed . After that, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony at Wesley Statue in the North Piazza of St. Paul s Cathedral. Evensong in the Cathedral will follow, where President of Conference, the Revd Dr Neil Richardson, will offer greetings and read a lesson.

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