Children and Families Work (June) by Peter Freeman

As I write this it is the first day that some people are returning to work, those who are unable to work from home. It is more than likely that I will be housebound to some extent for a number of weeks yet but I am keeping myself very occupied.
Dawn calls it a sabbatical and, in a way, it is and it is amazing how much I can get done because I am saving two hours a week traveling and not doing many of the jobs that crop up day to day in the office. The result is I am moving ahead well with the projects I have been given.
One of these is the 10 minute KIDZONE that occurs now each Sunday at 9:45. Each week I am trying to put together things that children may like to try themselves with adult supervision, have a sing and a short time of
prayer. If you know any families who would like to be part of Kidzone, please let me know. It would be great if you could share what we are doing with friends and family too.
I am also keeping Reverend Lionel going. Each day he tells everyone what he is doing and I link it with a verse or two from the Bible. I have had positive comments and will perhaps publish his antics in book form once
lockdown finishes. If it continues in some form to October it might become a series of books.

As I said last month, I continue to do Local Preacher training, at least the theological parts I can do at home. I am progressing well with this and thought you might like to read an article I have to write for a newsletter. If
you would like to send me any feedback, I will submit it as part of my portfolio which is assessed. Please see below:

In these unusual times you may be finding the planning of holidays a challenge. You may be thinking about long weekends visiting places of interest when we are able. As I sorted through things at home, I found
photographs of a visit we made to Wesley’s chapel, the Museum of Methodism and Wesley’s House, all on the same site in Old Street London. Here you will find out about the founder of methodism, John Wesley and his brother Charles and how these Anglican clergymen had similar experience, (often referred to as their “conversion”) that gave new life to their ministry. John began his life-long ministry of open-air preaching whilst Charles became a well-respected hymn writer.
The chapel opened in 1789 and he described it ‘as perfectly neat but not so fine’. In his sermon he criticized the elaborate hats worn by the women in his congregation. This is interesting in light of the fact that since the opening there have been many changes to the building that have made it more opulent. I wonder what Wesley would have thought?
I am reminded here of Jesus’s reaction to Mary using expensive oils to wash Jesus’s feet.
That church has a balcony on three of its sides and numerous stained-glass windows. Two in particular are worth a mention. Both are up stairs; one shows John and Charles with a friend following John’s conversion
and the other a picture of John preaching to a crowd with representatives from all around the globe. The church furniture is not dissimilar to the furniture found in Methodist Churches in large towns, the balcony, the
raised pulpit, the communion rail, altar and pews.
The Museum of Methodism is located beneath the chapel. Here there are relics of the Wesley family background, information about John’s family, his
father’s poems, a bible that was dug from the ruins of the rectory in Epworth where the family lived and where there was a fire that almost claimed John’s life as a boy. There is also a display with information about
Charles Wesley who is presented as a preacher and hymn writer and about other influential Methodists who played a part in John’s life and have continued to uphold Methodist traditions since his death, including
involvement in politics, social work and education reform.
Before the church was built John Wesley bought a building which had been a Foundry and on the site there is a small chapel to acknowledge this. Within the walls of ‘Foundry Chapel’ there are wooden benches
that were used and Charles Wesley’s single manual organ.

We still enjoy hymns written by Charles. They include ’Hark the Herald Angels sing’, ‘Christ the Lord is Risen Today’ and ‘Love Divine All Love’s Excelling’.
In 1779, a year after the church was opened, John Wesley moved into Wesley House which is well worth walking through. Particularly interesting to me is the little prayer room where John began and ended his day
praying and reading his bible. There are no distractions, it is very small which must have aided his concentration.
There is a lot to see on the site and I do recommend a visit. If you are thinking of going and taking children, I have prepared a child-friendly guide book and leaflet that briefly tells the story of John and identifies some of the things to look out for that might interest them.
Peter Freeman
Children and Families Worker

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