Wesley, John (John Wesley Register, John Wesley Rodgers)

views updated May 23 2018

Wesley, John (John Wesley Register, John Wesley Rodgers)


Education: University of San Diego, B.A., political science; University of California, San Diego, M.F.A., theatre and acting, 1977.


Agent—The Geddes Agency, 8430 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 200, West Hollywood, CA 90069.


Actor. Appeared in advertisements. Southern California Black Repertory Theatre (SCBRT), artistic and producing director. University of San Diego, visiting professor and guest lecturer in classical theatre, 1996, and conducted workshops at the university; Sundance Playwrights Lab, worked with playwrights to develop plays. Military service: U.S. Army, served in Vietnam.


Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Actors' Equity Association.

Awards, Honors:

Atlas Award, best actor, c. 1978, for Toys in the Attic; Drama-Logue Award, c. 1996, for I Am a Man; Best of Denver designation, best ensemble performance, Denver Westword, 1998, for Blues for an Alabama Sky.


Stage Appearances:

Henry Simpson, Toys in the Attic, Old Globe, San Diego, CA, c. 1978.

Clarence and Isaac, The American Clock: A Mural for the Theatre (also known as The American Clock), Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, 1984.

Desperado, Wild Oats: A Romance of the Old West (also known as Wild Oats), Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum, 1984.

Reverend Moore, I Am a Man, Fountain Theatre, Los Angeles, c. 1996.

Floyd "Schoolboy" Barton, Seven Guitars, Denver Center Theatre Company, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver, CO, 1997.

Sam "Doc" Thomas, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Denver Center Theatre Company, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, c. 1998.

Doub, Jitney, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The Space Theatre, Denver, CO, 2002.

Steve, A Streetcar Named Desire, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The Space Theatre, c. 2004.

Joe LeVay, Stick Fly, McCarter Theatre Center, Berlind Theatre, Princeton, NJ, 2007.

Moses Wright (Emmett Till's uncle), The Ballad of Emmett Till, Goodman Theatre, Albert Theatre, Chicago, IL, 2007.

Appeared as Sicineus Velutus, Coriolanus, as John, The Island, as Styles and Buntu, Sizwe Bansi Is Dead, in Richard II, in Twelfth Night (also known as Twelfth Night, or What You Will), and in The Two Gentleman of Verona (also known as Twelfth Night, or What You Will), all Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR. Appeared as Toledo, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Geva Theatre Center, Rochester, NY; as Charlie Parker, Relaxin' at Camarillo, Warren Theatre; as Parker, Split Second, Santa Monica Playhouse, Santa Monica, CA; and in other productions, including Macbett. Participated in play readings, including readings with the Sundance Playwrights Lab, including War Letters, Canon Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA.

Major Tours:

Appeared as John, The Island, and as Styles and Buntu, Sizwe Bansi Is Dead, both Southern California Black Repertory Theatre.

Stage Coproducer; Major Tours:

Coproducer of productions, including the touring productions The Island and Sizwe Bansi Is Dead, both Southern California Black Repertory Theatre.

Television Appearances; Series:

Sweets Walker, Dirty Dancing, CBS, 1988-89.

Principal Pratchett, Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad (also known as Powerboy, Servo, SSSS, Superhuman Samurai, Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad, and Syber-Squad), ABC, syndicated, and YTV (Canada), 1994-95.

Mr. Jim, Martin, Fox, between 1994 and 1997.

Voices of Aristotle and Antipater, Alexander Senki (anime; also known as Alexander, Alexander's Campaign, Reign, and Reign: The Conqueror), Cartoon Network, beginning c. 2003, originally broadcast in Japan by WoWow, beginning 1999.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Tombe Chorro, The Atlanta Child Murders, CBS, 1985.

Captain Lennox, Family of Spies (also known as Family of Spies: The Walker Spy Ring, Familia de espioes, and Spie allo specchio), CBS, 1990.

Private investigator Lester Dodge, Switched at Birth, NBC, 1991.

Sy Oliver, Sinatra, CBS, 1992.

Prison Warden, Revelations, NBC, 2005.

Television Appearances; Movies:

George Watson, Quarterback Princess, HBO, 1983.

Danny Dawson, Toughlove (also known as Overdose), ABC, 1985.

Dr. Winston, Love Lives On, ABC, 1985.

Samaritan: The Mitch Snyder Story, CBS, 1986.

Stillwatch, CBS, 1987.

Timestalker, CBS, 1987.

Second doctor, Go to the Light (also known as Go toward the Light), CBS, 1988.

Dr. Freeman, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (also known as The ABC Family Movie and Disney Family Films), ABC, 1995.

Jerry Franklin, The Colony, USA Network, 1995.

Mr. Brendel, The Courtyard, Showtime, 1995.

Chair of the joint chiefs of staff, The Second Civil War, HBO, 1997.

Store manager, Always Outnumbered (also known as Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned), HBO, 1998.

Al Smith, 9/11: The Twin Towers (also known as Inside the Twin Towers, 9/11, and 9/11: The Day the World Changed), The Discovery Channel, 2006.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Voice of supreme justice, The Princess and the Pauper: An Animated Special from the "Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child" Series (animated), HBO, 2000.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Police officer, "My Friend Ernie," My Three Sons, ABC, 1963.

"Where Do You Hide an Egg?," The Richard Boone Show, NBC, 1963.

Bromley, "Run, Pony, Run," The Richard Boone Show, NBC, 1964.

John Copeland, Jr., "The Night Raiders" (some sources cite episode name as "The Special Courage of Captain Pratt"), The Great Adventure, CBS, 1964.

Paul Young, "Gratitude Won't Pay the Bills," Dr. Kildare, NBC, 1966.

Wounded native, "The My Friend the Gorilla Affair," The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (also known as Ian Flem-ing's "Solo," Mr. Solo, Napoleon Solo, Solo, and 0011 Napoleon Solo), NBC, 1966.

Second gambler, "The List," The Jeffersons, CBS, 1983.

U.S. marshal, "Merchants of Death," Knight Rider, NBC, 1983.

Keith Damon, "A Second Self," Street Hawk, ABC, 1985.

Ted Tilly, Jr., "Popcorn, Peanuts and Crackerjacks," Highway to Heaven, NBC, 1985.

"Death Benefits," George Burns Comedy Week, CBS, 1985.

Dr. Stevens, Hail to the Chief, ABC, 1985.

Ed Andrews, "The Best Defense," Hill Street Blues, NBC, 1986.

Ed Andrews, "A Case of Klapp," Hill Street Blues, NBC, 1986.

Barney Wilson, "Men's Club," 227, NBC, 1987.

Dennis, "Earth Angel," Married … with Children (also known as Not the Cosbys), Fox, 1987.

Detective Washington, "The Neniwa," Stingray, NBC, 1987.

Dr. Carlin, "The Annihilator," Matlock, NBC, 1987.

Crandall, "Peekskill Law," The Facts of Life, NBC, 1988.

Russell, "Shall We Dance?," 227, NBC, 1988.

"Murder of Pearl," Mancuso F.B.I., NBC, 1989.

Thomas Graves, "Tis the Season," Gabriel's Fire, ABC, 1990.

Vic Glendon, "A Problem Too Personal," In the Heat of the Night, NBC, 1990.

Dean Thomas, "Your Mamma's House: Parts 1 & 2" (some sources cite episode name as "Yo' House Mama"), True Colors, Fox, 1991.

Dr. Hoover, "The Mother of All Battles," The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, NBC, 1991.

Vic Glendon, "No Other Road," In the Heat of the Night, NBC, 1991.

Coach Wicks (Tony's father), "Beat of His Own Dream," California Dreams (also known as Dreams), NBC, 1992.

Johnny, "Life Is Short," Homefront, ABC, 1992.

Kenny, "The Car Accident from Heaven," Roc (also known as Roc Live), Fox, 1992.

Police captain, "Showdown at Malibu Beach High," Baywatch (also known as Baywatch Hawaii and Baywatch Hawai'i), syndicated, 1992.

Johnny, "Shabbat Shalom," Homefront, ABC, 1993.

Lieutenant Pike, "Jumper," Sirens, ABC, 1993.

Mr. Toplyn, "Free at Last," Hangin' with Mr. Cooper (also known as Super Mr. Cooper, Echt super, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Cooper et nous, and Vivir con Mr. Cooper), ABC, 1993.

Mr. Toplyn, "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," Hangin' with Mr. Cooper (also known as Super Mr. Cooper, Echt super, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Cooper et nous, and Vivir con Mr. Cooper), ABC, 1993.

Vic Glendon, "A Correct Setting," In the Heat of the Night, CBS, 1993.

Jim, "Stone Cold," Dream On, HBO, 1994, also broadcast on Fox.

Voice, "The Emperor's New Clothes," Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (animated), HBO, 1995.

Ernie, "Desperately Seeking Samantha," Melrose Place, Fox, 1997.

General Daniel Singer (retired), "Great Expectations," Pensacola: Wings of Gold (also known as Pensacola), syndicated, 1998.

Henry Winship, "Bad Seed," Martial Law (also known as Le flic de Shanghai, Ley marcial, and Piu forte ragazzi), CBS, 1998.

Oakley, "The Martin Baker Fan Club," JAG (also known as JAG: Judge Advocate General), CBS, 1998.

"Say Something," Any Day Now, Lifetime, 1999.

Willie (the janitor), "I Second That Demo-tion," The Jamie Foxx Show, The WB, 2000.

Father Stanley Joley, "Small Sacrifices," The Practice, ABC, 2002.

Jerry, "Proxy Prexy," Frasier (also known as Dr. Frasier Crane), NBC, 2002.

Mr. Ndulu, "Alienation," Medical Investigation (also known as The Cure), NBC, 2004.

Clyde, "Strange Fruit," Cold Case (also known as Anexihniastes ypothesis, Caso abierto, Cold case—affaires classees, Cold Case—Kein Opfer ist je vergessen, Doegloett aktak, Kalla spaar, Todistettavasti syyllinen, and Victimes du passe), CBS, 2005.

Judge, "In Sickness and Adultery," Medium, NBC, 2005.

Judge, "Judge, Jury and Executioner," Medium, NBC, 2005.

Judge, "Suspicions and Certainties," Medium, NBC, 2005.

Warden Blume, "The Five People You Meet in Hell," Night Stalker, ABC, 2005.

Roosevelt, "My Two Dads," All of Us, The CW, 2006.

"Like Father, Like Son … Like Hell," All of Us, The CW, 2006.

Appeared in other programs, including Benson, ABC; appeared as Detective Horan in "Steal One for the Gipper," an unaired episode of Charlie Grace, ABC.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Our Family Honor, ABC, 1985.

Hawthorne, "Wiseguy," Wiseguy, CBS, 1987.

Larry, "Mabel and Max," CBS Summer Playhouse, CBS, 1987.

Nigerian ambassador, The Lyon's Den (also known as I lovens hule and Lain luola), NBC, 2003.

Film Appearances:

Hang 'em High, United Artists, 1967.

Larry, Up Tight!, Paramount, 1968.

(As John Wesley Rodgers) Black Fist (also known as Bogard and Homeboy), 1975.

Eddie, Perfect, Columbia, 1985.

Master sergeant Ernest "Frankie" Franklin, Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1985.

Mercenary, Let's Get Harry (also known as The Rescue), TriStar, 1986.

Holding cell guard, Nuts, Warner Bros., 1987.

Roy Hendersen, Moving, Warner Bros., 1988.

Sam Hilliard, Jack's Back, Paramount, 1988.

Second police officer, Out Cold (also known as Where's Ernie?), Hemdale Releasing, 1989.

The band—New Power, Raw Nerve, American International Pictures, 1991.

Sam, Nothing but Trouble, Warner Bros., 1991.

Tony, Stop! or My Mom Will Shoot, Universal, 1992.

Senator Welch, Born Yesterday, Buena Vista, 1993.

Amish man, The Little Rascals, Universal, 1994.

Minister, I Got the Hook Up, Miramax, 1998.

Police officer, The Wood, Paramount, 1999.

Voices of man and demonstrator, Our Friend, Martin (animated), Twentieth Century-Fox, 1999.

(As John Wesley Register) Official, Remember the Titans, Buena Vista, 2000.

Clarence, Chicken Party (short film), Harbinger Pictures, 2003.

Jones, The 13th Child, Legend of the Jersey Devil (also known as The 13th Child), MTI Home Video, 2003.

Voice of Dan's father, "World Record" segment, The Animatrix (animated; also known as The Animatrix: Beyond, The Animatrix: Final Flight of the Osiris, The Animatrix: Kid's Story, and The Animatrix: World Record), Warner Bros., 2003.

George, The Twenty, Sassaba Productions, 2007.

Leader, Believers, Warner Bros., 2007.

Shotgun, The Least among You, Witenuckle Films/Rough Diamond Productions, 2008.



J. Wesley (John Wesley),http://jwesley.com., October 31, 2008.

John Wesley

views updated May 18 2018

John Wesley

The English evangelical clergyman, preacher, and writer John Wesley (1703-1791) was the founder of Methodism. One of England's greatest spiritual leaders, he played a major role in the revival of religion in 18th-century English life.

The 18th century found the Church of England out of touch with both the religious and social problems of the day. Its leadership was constituted largely by political appointees, its clergy were riddled with ignorance, and churchmen of genuine concern were rare. The influence of rationalism and deism even among dedicated clergymen caused the Anglican Church to be unaware of the spiritual needs of the masses. John Wesley's great achievement was to recognize the necessity of bringing religion to this wide and neglected audience.

Wesley was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire, on June 17, 1703. He was the fifteenth of the 19 children of Samuel Wesley, an Anglican minister who took his pastoral duties seriously and instilled this idea in his son. John's mother, a woman of great spiritual intensity, molded her children through a code of strict and uncompromising Christian morality, instilling in John a firm conception of religious piety, concern, and duty.

In 1714 Wesley entered Charterhouse School, and in 1720 he became a student at Christ Church, Oxford. Receiving his bachelor of arts degree in 1724, he was ordained a deacon in the Church of England in 1725 and was elected a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, in 1726. He became curate to his father in the following year and was ordained a priest in 1728. Returning to Oxford in 1729, Wesley, in addition to the duties of his fellowship at Lincoln, became active in a religious club to which his younger brother Charles belonged. The Holy Club, nicknamed "Methodists" by its critics, met frequently for discussion and study. Its members engaged in prayer, attended church services, visited prisoners, and gave donations to the needy. The Holy Club was one of Wesley's formative influences, and he soon became its acknowledged leader.

Ministry in Georgia

Buoyed by his years at Oxford and desirous of putting the principles of the Holy Club to work elsewhere, Wesley in 1735 accepted the invitation of James Oglethorpe to become a minister in the recently founded colony of Georgia. Accompanied by his brother Charles, Wesley spent two disappointing years in the New World. Despite his zeal to bring them the Gospel, he was rebuffed by the colonists and received unenthusiastically by the Indians. Moreover, he became involved in an unsuccessful love affair, the aftermath of which brought him the unwanted publicity of a court case. In 1737 Wesley returned to England.

Wesley's stay in Georgia was, however, not without benefit. Both on his trip over and during his two-year stay, he was deeply influenced by Moravian missionaries, whose sense of spiritual confidence and commitment to practical piety impressed him.

Conversion and Preaching

In England, Wesley continued to keep in close touch with the Moravians. At one of their meetings—in Aldersgate Street, London, on May 24, 1738—he experienced conversion while listening to a reading of Martin Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans. "I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation, " Wesley wrote, "and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."

Through this personal commitment Wesley, though he later broke with the Moravians, became imbued with the desire to take this message to the rest of England. Finding the bishops unsympathetic or indifferent and most clergymen hostile to the point of closing their churches to him, Wesley, following the example of such preachers as George Whitefield, began an itinerant ministry that lasted more than 50 years. Forced to preach outside the churches, he became adept at open-air preaching and, as a result, began to reach many, especially in the cities, about whom the Church of England had shown little concern.

A small man (he was 5 feet 6 inches in height and weighed about 120 pounds), Wesley always had to perch on a chair or platform when he preached. He averaged 15 sermons a week, and as his Journal indicates, he preached more than 40, 000 sermons in his career, traveling the length and breadth of England—altogether more than 250, 000 miles—many times during an age when roads were often only muddy ruts. A contemporary described him as "the last word … in neatness and dress" and "his eye was 'the brightest and most piercing that can be conceived."'

Preaching was not easy; crowds were often hostile, and once a bull was let loose in an audience he was addressing. Wesley, however, quickly learned the art of speaking and, despite opposition, his sermons began to have a marked effect. Many were converted immediately, frequently exhibiting physical signs, such as fits or trances.

Organization of Methodism

From the beginning Wesley viewed his movement as one within the Church of England and not in opposition to it. As he gained converts around England, however, these men and women grouped themselves together in societies that Wesley envisioned as playing the same role in Anglicanism as the monastic orders do in the Roman Catholic Church. He took a continual and rather authoritarian part in the life of these societies, visiting them periodically, settling disputes, and expelling the recalcitrant. Yearly conferences of the whole movement presented him with the opportunity to establish policy. Under his leadership each society was broken down into a "class, " which dealt with matters of finance, and a "band, " which set standards of personal morality. In addition, Wesley wrote numerous theological works and edited 35 volumes of Christian literature for the edification of the societies. A tireless and consummate organizer, he kept his movement prospering despite a variety of defections.

Yet the continual opposition of the Anglican bishops, coupled with their refusal to ordain Methodist clergy, forced Wesley to move closer to actual separation toward the end of his life. In 1784 he took out a deed of declaration, which secured the legal standing of the Methodist Society after his death. In the same year he reluctantly ordained two men to serve as "superintendents" for Methodists in North America. He continued the practice to provide clergymen for England but very sparingly and with great hesitation. Wesley always maintained that he personally adhered to the Church of England.

Methodism had a significant impact on English society. It brought religion to masses of people who, through the shifts of population brought about by the industrial revolution, were not being reached by the Anglican Church. In addition, it had a beneficial effect on many within both the Church of England and dissenting congregations. By emphasizing morality, self-discipline, and thrift to the deprived classes, Wesley has been credited by some historians as being a major force in keeping England free of revolution and widespread social unrest during his day. He himself was politically conservative, a critic of democracy, and a foe of both the American and French revolutions.

Throughout his life Wesley's closest confidant was his brother and coworker Charles, the composer of a number of well-known hymns. Wesley, always extraordinarily healthy, remained active to the end, preaching his final sermon at an open-air meeting just 4 months before his death on March 2, 1791, in London.

Further Reading

The best source for an understanding of Wesley is The Journal of the Rev. John Wesley, edited by Nehemiah Curnock (8 vols., 1909-1916). J. H. Overton, John Wesley (1891), is a short, sympathetic, well-written biography. Francis J. McConnell, John Wesley (1939), is a full reinterpretation and reevaluation of Wesley in the light of modern experience and research. Valuable background material is in Basil Williams, The Whig Supremacy, 1714-1760 (1939; 2d ed. rev. 1962), and Elie Halevy, A History of the English People in the Nineteenth Century (4 vols., 1961). The economic changes of the Wesley era are well treated in T. S. Ashton, The Industrial Revolution, 1760-1830 (1948; rev. ed. 1964). □

John Wesley

views updated Jun 27 2018

John Wesley


Founder of methodism


Birth and Early Life. Samuel and Susanna Wesley had nineteen children, ten of whom survived to adulthood. John Wesley, their second son, was born in the small town of Epworth in Lincolnshire, England. John’s great-grandfather, grandfather, and father were all clergy in the Church of England, as were his older brother, Samuel Jr., and younger brother, Charles. While John was still a toddler, his mother taught him to read, and soon he developed a great love for two books, the Bible and the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. At eleven he was enrolled in Charterhouse, an exclusive boys’ school then located in London, which prepared him for entry into Christ Church College, Oxford. An avid reader, Wesley graduated in 1724, having studied the classics, science, theology, and history and having become proficient in reading the New Testament in the original Greek. He was elected a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, in 1826 and was awarded a master’s degree the following year. After he was ordained an Anglican priest in 1728, Wesley returned the following year to Oxford, where he taught for several years. During this time he helped to organize a small group of students who committed themselves to the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, fasting, receiving the sacrament of Holy Communion, and performing acts of kindness, including caring for the poor and visiting prisoners. Critics gave this little group several sarcastic names, including “Bible moths,” “the Holy Club,” and “the Methodists” (because they practiced a peculiar “method” of piety). The third term of derision stuck, and the movement with which Wesley was associated was called Methodism.

A Spiritual Pilgrimage. In 1735 Wesley and his brother Charles volunteered to go to America as missionaries. Wesley later said that he left for America with three goals in mind: to convert the Native Americans to Christianity, to minister to the English-speaking Anglicans in Georgia, and to gain an assurance of his own salvation. Two years later he returned to England, having failed, in his estimation, to have achieved any of his goals. During this time he had come into contact with a group of Moravians, a German pietistic sect that taught a simple personal faith within a morally disciplined fellowship. Wesley had been particularly impressed with the courage members of this group demonstrated during a storm at sea, an inner peace that rested on a sense of an assurance of their eternal safety. Back in England, the spiritually depressed Wesley sought the counsel of a Moravian friend, Peter Möhler, who convinced him to continue to preach assurance until he experienced this faith himself.

The Aldersgate Experience. On 24 May 1738 Wesley attended a religious meeting in Aldersgate Street, London. At about a quarter before nine, while someone was reading Martin Luther’s preface to his commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, Wesley felt his heart “strangely warmed.” According to his later writings, this “Aldersgate experience” did not insulate him from temptation, doubt, and despair, but it did convince him that holiness was not obtained by human striving but by trusting in the grace of God in Christ. This religious experience shaped all his later life and work.

Itinerant Preaching. After George Whitefield, a fellow evangelical Anglican minister, convinced him to preach to coal miners out of doors near Bristol in April 1739, Wesley decided “The world is my parish” and began a life of itinerant preaching, holding indoor and open-air services in homes, marketplaces, entrances to mines, and chapels, as well as in local Anglican parish churches. During the next half century, Wesley traveled widely in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. He felt called by God to organize the people he converted during his preaching tours into fellowship groups known as Methodist societies, but he did not start out with the intention of forming a separate church. By 1784, however, the American Methodists had become an independent denomination, and British Methodists were well on their way to independent status by the time of his death on 2 March 1791.

Publications. A prodigious writer and editor, Wesley produced some thirty volumes of theological, ecclesiastical, social, political, and even medical commentaries. His most important works include 132 published sermons (1730-1791), his Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament (1755), and his hymn books, which include some hymns by him and some six thousand by Charles Wesley.


Francis J. McConnell, John Wesley: A Biography (New York: Abingdon Press, 1939).

Bernard Semmel, The Methodist Revolution (New York: Basic Books, 1973).

Charles Yrigoyen Jr., John Wesley: Holiness of Heart and Life (New York: General Board of Global Ministries, 1996).

Wesley, John

views updated May 14 2018

Wesley, John (1703–91). Founder of Methodism. After ordination in 1725 and a brief curacy, Wesley became fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford (1726), where he was a member of a small religious society nicknamed the ‘Holy Club’ and also dubbed ‘Methodists’ because of their emphasis on discipline and self-examination. In 1735 he undertook missionary work in Georgia, but, burdened by disappointment and a sense of personal need, he returned home in 1738. Influenced by Moravians, he experienced conversion at a meeting in Aldersgate St, London (‘I felt my heart strangely warmed’), and thereafter became a passionate evangelist, constantly preaching in the open air throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland, as well as sending preachers to N. America. Travelling on horseback approximately 8,000 miles a year, he recorded his experiences and frequently hostile receptions in his Journal. He had no wish to secede from the Church of England; but opposition, and the necessities of the mission field in America (which caused him to ordain Thomas Coke as Superintendent or bishop) led to increasing separation. He and Charles Wesley are recognized in the Lesser Festivals of the Church of England, 24 May.

Wesley, John

views updated May 21 2018

Wesley, John (1703–91). Founder of methodism. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and elected a fellow of Lincoln College, Wesley was ordained in the Church of England. At Oxford in 1729 he gathered round him a group of devout Christians who were nicknamed methodists because they sought to follow strictly the method of study and practice laid down in the statutes of the church. After a short-lived missionary journey to Georgia, during which he was much influenced by some Moravian brethren, Wesley experienced a sudden conversion (1738). He felt that after much searching he had ‘found spiritual rest’ and that his mission was to evangelize England. For over 50 years Wesley travelled all over Britain on horseback, averaging 5,000 miles annually, preaching thousands of sermons, often three times a day. Finding the churches closed to him, he began field-preaching and organized local religious societies and a body of lay preachers, which became virtually a church within the church. When the movement spread to America, Wesley was led to ordain a superintendent or bishop. Wesley wished methodism to remain within the Church of England, but this was not possible, given official Anglican hostility and the desire of conference (the supreme body of methodism) for independence.

John F. C. Harrison

Wesley, John

views updated Jun 27 2018

Wesley, John (1703–91) English theologian and evangelist who founded Methodism. In 1729, with his brother Charles Wesley, he founded the Holy Club at Oxford. In 1738, he underwent a personal, religious experience during a Moravian meeting and this laid the foundation upon which he built the Methodist movement. Wesley's Journal (1735–90) records the great extent of his itinerant preaching.

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