Black Country man who helped shape America to be celebrated

Salisburymethodistchurch3A man from the Black Country who helped shapeAmerica is to be celebrated this April with a day of special eventsin Tipton on Saturday, 9th April.

Francis Asbury was a humble metal worker and lay preacherwhen, in 1771, the founder of the Methodist Church John Wesleycalled for men to become preachers in the soon to be independentAmerica. 

Asbury answered the call and became America's firstMethodist Joint Superintendent along with the Revd Dr Thomas Coke.Asbury's passion and determination meant that Methodism becameimportant in the founding of the young country.

This year is the 200th anniversary of Asbury's death andto mark his life, there will be a day of events held around thearea he lived on Saturday 9th April.

At the BlackCountry Living Museum, dignitaries from the Methodist Church inthe UK and America will be remembering Asbury with a day of fun andevents. A special service will be held in the Museum's Darby HandChapel where there will also be an exhibition of Asbury's life,themed story tellers and a costumed choir.

Talks will be given by historians and members of theChurch in the UK and America to discuss the importance of FrancisAsbury and his life. In nearby Great Barr, the small eighteenthcentury cottage where Asbury spent his childhood will the open fortours with a heritage bus service run between the twosites.

"Asbury travelled thousands of miles in America each year.Under his direction, the church grew from 1,200 to 214,000 members.Among the men he ordained was Richard Allen in Philadelphia, thefirst black minister in the United States," said Jo Hibbard, theMethodist Church's Director of Engagement.

She continued: "Asbury shaped more than religion in theUnited States. His work helped shaped the nation itself. The valuesthat he taught continue to influence American society. There arenow more than 7 million Methodists in the USA and over 80 millionworldwide. 

"The man is revered in the US and we are delighted that anumber of delegates will be joining us from America for the eventto remember his work."

For further information on plans for the Family Fun Day onApril 9, 2016, and how you can get involved, visit the MethodistHeritage website www.methodistheritage.org.uk.