We left our beautiful hotel in Leeds, England and made our way to Epworth. We went to the Rectory where a young John Wesley lived with his parents and brothers and sisters. The original home was burned to the ground when John was just 5 years old. It was the middle of the night and the family woke up to smoke and flames. All were able to make it out safely with the exception of young John. He stood at the window and a neighbor stood on the shoulders of another and was able to reach John right as the roof caved in. That moment led to the famous description of John by his mother, Susannah, he was a “brand plucked from the burning.” A new rectory building was rebuilt in the same location within a year.
After visiting the rectory we were to see Wesley Memorial Chapel in Epworth. It is a Methodist church built to honor the memory and accomplishments of John and Charles Wesley. The women of the church prepared a delicious lunch for us of homemade vegetable soup and sandwiches.
We were also able to see the market cross in the middle of town. This was established as a reminder for all the merchants to live the values of Christ in the ways they conducted their business. It was also a place for speakers to address topics and John Wesley was one who would use the spot as a place to preach the Gospel message.
From there we walked to St. Andrew’s Church. This is the church where John Wesley’s father served as the rector for several years. The baptismal font was where John would be baptized and we were able to see the communion chalice that had been used by Samuel Wesley – it is often loaned out to be on display so we were very blessed to see it. We gathered round Samuel Wesley’s grave. It was here that John Wesley stood and preached from atop the grave because he had been refused the opportunity to preach inside the building. We checked into our hotel in Oxford and found that we are right beside Oxford University!
Tomorrow we check out the famous university.