John Wesley at Penn
Over the weekend of 4-5 October, Penn Free Methodist Church, near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, celebrated its 200th anniversary.
On the Saturday afternoon Alun McNabb from Staffordshire, addressed church members and others on the subject of ‘John Wesley and the holy fire that changed a nation’.
He explained how the zeal of the eighteenth century Methodists had burned like fire. They were deeply aware of the sinfulness of sin and committed to worshipping God and living a holy life. They were filled with an evangelistic concern for others and love for all true Christians whatever their denomination.
This vital movement radically changed our nation for the better, and provides a stark contrast with today’s militant atheism and its unpleasant social effects.
On Sunday morning, Peter Murcott preached from Jude 3, in the New Testament, on ‘Contending for the Christian faith in an age of political correctness’. Mr Murcott is a Methodist local preacher on the Isle of Man and a former headmaster and lecturer in law. He explained how political correctness, while paying lip service to loving one’s neighbour, actually tries to prevent people hearing what they need to hear most of all – the unique challenge of the good news of Jesus Christ.
On Sunday evening the church’s minister, Peter Simpson, preached on Psalm 144:15. He contrasted the moral and spiritual condition of the UK today with the immediate post-war period. Even as late as the 1950s our country was still benefiting from the spiritual capital generated by the 18th century Evangelical Awakening. That capital is now utterly spent, and tragically has not been replaced. But nevertheless Christians must continue proclaiming the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ, the Saviour crucified for sinners.
Among special literature on display for the bicentenary was a newly written 24-page history of Penn Free Methodist Church.