Eat your heart out, Piers Morgan! In the Triangle's own version of 'Life Stories' on Trinity Sunday (27th May) we welcomed none other than the founder of Methodism himself - John Wesley. Talk about a scoop!
Convincingly played by an ever-popular Local Preacher at our church, Peter Green, the great man told his life story from his birth on 28th June, 1703 in Epworth, North Lincolnshire to his death 87 years later on 2nd March, 1791.
In between we heard of his upbringing, his taking of Holy orders, his life-changing experience at a religious meeting in Aldersgate Street, London, on 24th May, 1738, which led to the foundation of what became 'Methodism', and his extraordinary travels in the years that followed - 250,000 miles and 40,000 sermons! We heard his thoughts on his composer brother, Charles, and his message to modern Methodists. Most of all, we gleaned a mass of fascinating facts that most of us never knew about the founder of our movement.
On such an auspicious occasion the sermon was ditched in favour of a searing 'tell-all' interview conducted by Astley Jones - more Roy Plomley than Piers Morgan - which was split into three parts by the singing of three of brother Charles Wesley's greatest hymns, 'O Thou who camest from above', 'Love Divine' and, perhaps the finest of them all, 'And can it be!' - although John let us know that his personal favourite was 'Let Earth and Heaven agree'. He concluded by wishing for 'all' (people) to have their hearts 'strangely warmed' by the Holy Spirit, as his had been at that momentous meeting in Aldersgate Street so many years earlier.
The same message had been explained early on in the service to a small group of our Junior church members (half term had decimated their normally massed ranks) by our Worship Leader, Brian Smith. "Who'd like a £20 note?", he asked. Every hand shot up, including most of the congregation's. True to his word, he handed out several £20 notes to his young audience. But they were fakes, printed on one side only. The real thing, as Brian showed them (he'd borrowed one earlier) was printed on both sides. So it was with John Wesley. On the 24th May, 1738, John Wesley's faith became the real thing - "just like the £20 note".
Quite a service! Certainly one we'll remember for a very long time! But then, it's not every Sunday we're honoured with the presence of such a distinguished visitor!
Kindly written by Astley Jones