“On this site The Revd. John Wesley 1703-1791 opened the second Methodist preaching house in Manchester
30th March 1781”
Location: Central Hall, Oldham Street, Manchester City Centre
Erected: 1st January 1974
This little blue commemorative plaque can be found on Oldham Street in Manchester City Centre. The plaque is in commemoration of Anglican cleric and Christian theologian, John Wesley.
John Wesley, along with his brother Charles and fellow cleric George Whitefield, were the founders of Methodism. The Methodist revival began as a movement within the Church of England in the 18th century, when the trio founded the “Holy Club” at the University of Oxford.
They had a strict regime which they adhered to, which included meeting weekly, fasting regularly, abstaining from most forms of amusement and luxury and frequently visited the sick and the poor, as well as prisoners. The name of the movement came from their fellow students who branded them “Methodist” due to the way they used “rule” and “method” to go about their religious affairs.
The movement grew rapidly, and Wesley had gained a following through his preaching, which he went about carefully so as not to disrupt local Anglican services. During his ministry, he travelled over 4,000 miles annually, moving across Great Britain, North America and Ireland, and had preached around 40,000 sermons during his lifetime. He is credited to having helped to form and organise Christian Groups that developed intensive and personal accountability, discipleship and religious instruction. With the help of Wesley, Methodists soon became leaders.
“Although he was not a systematic theologian, Wesley argued for the notion of Christian perfection and against Calvinism – and, in particular, against its doctrine of predestination. He held that, in this life, Christians could achieve a state where the love of God “reigned supreme in their hearts”, giving them outward holiness. His evangelicalism, firmly grounded in sacramental theology, maintained that means of grace were the manner by which God sanctifies and transforms the believer, encouraging people to experience Jesus Christ personally.”
Wesley became widely respected throughout the movement, and by the end of his life, he had been described as “the best loved man in England”.