Susanna Wesley: Foremother of Faith

17 May 2019

To celebrate 350 years since the birth of the ‘Mother of Methodism’ Susanna Wesley, Methodist Publishing is releasing From a Mother’s Pen: Selections from the spiritual writing of Susanna Wesley.

Susanna (1669 – 1742) was the mother of John and Charles Wesley, the most prominent of the founders of the Methodist movement.

This new title, edited by the Revd Dr Charles I Wallace Jr, reveals how Susanna was able to push back in a patriarchal world and undertake the difficult role of ‘loving critic’ to the men in her life.

It reveals her unconventional and inspiring reflections through journal entries, letters, essays, and advice to her children.

Through her role as mother of 19 children (nine of whom died in infancy), rector’s wife, teacher, theological writer and community leader, she is described by the Revd Wallace as ‘smart, conscientious and unconventional’ and a ‘proto-feminist’: someone whose ideas are echoed in the development of feminism.

The Revd Wallace said: ‘These samples of her writing allow a wider audience to ponder for themselves her historical and sacred significance in our own day. We don’t have to be professional historians or theologians to start a conversation with a woman who was unconventional in her own day, and still models faith and practice for her 21st century spiritual descendants.’

From a Mother’s Pen offers historical, theological and spiritual material from a woman ahead of her time. Born more than three centuries ago, many of her experiences will ring true for modern readers.

Theologian and Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, Paula Gooder, said:

'I often search for inspiration in 'foremothers' of the faith -- women who have trod the path of faith in years gone by and, by their living and writing, shine a light for those of us who follow after. This search, however, can sometime feel fruitless.  Over the centuries fewer women than men committed their thoughts to paper and, of the few that did so, very few indeed have been preserved and produced in a form that can be used today.  Collections such as this new selection of Susanna Wesley's writings are a delight and I give thanks for her life, her writings and the inspiration she is to me and to so many others.'

The book is available to buy here: https://www.methodistpublishing.org.uk/books/9781858524641/from-a-mothers-pen-selections-from-the-spiritual-writing-of-susanna-wesley-