Celebrating Methodist heritage - all are invited to apply for Heritage Open Days scheme

In order to help celebrate the Methodist anniversaries in 2007,the Civic Trust has offered 300 places to The Methodist Church aspart of their annual Heritage Open Days weekend (Thursday 6th toSunday 9th September 2007). This means that up to 300 churches,chapels or sites of Methodist interest, have an opportunity to opentheir doors to the general public for tours, special services,drama, music, exhibitions and a whole range of events for young andold, all aimed at highlighting their rich heritage, Christianstory, mission and work in local communities across theConnexion.

'This is a one-off opportunity and we want as many Methodistchurches or sites to take part as possible,' says Revd DavidGamble, Co-ordinating Secretary for Legal and ConstitutionalPractice. 'Because of the 2007 anniversaries the Civic Trust hasoffered us about 10% of the places for this year's Heritage OpenDays, but they made it clear that it is only for this year. Weshould make the most of this: in a year when Methodists have somuch to commemorate, let's celebrate as much of our heritage aspossible.'

As well as celebrating the various anniversaries - including thetercentenary of the birth of Charles Wesley and the bicentenary ofthe first camp meeting of Primitive Methodism at Mow Cop inStaffordshire - 2007 will also see the bicentenary of the abolitionof the slave trade, something that had the on-going support of Johnand Charles Wesley and other early Methodists.

Each of the anniversaries lends itself to dramatic and otherinterpretation to both Methodists and members of the generalpublic, allowing churches not only to reflect on their own heritagebut also the part they currently play in their community.

'A wide range of events for Heritage Open Days has already beenplanned, including open days, tours, music and drama as well asitems for children and young people' says David Gamble. 'We areanxious for others to take part and it is not only an opportunityfor older churches to reflect on their past but also for moderncontemporary buildings and sites to focus on their spirituality inevent form. It's a great opportunity for us to tell our story topeople who don't generally hear it.'

Further details of Methodist Anniversaries and application forms totake part in Heritage Open Days can be obtained from: Adam Dyjasek,Methodist Church House 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR Tel. 0207467 5125. Website: www.methodistanniversaries2007.org.uk