Summary: A message for the 40th Anniversary of the Wesleyan Church
Roots of Reform, Revival and Righteousness
A Brief History of the Wesleyan Church
October 5, 2008 – 40th Anniversary Celebration
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:3-5
Just over 16 years ago, two local churches merged to form one united church. The Oakland Church still stands, outside of Mount Orab, just off of state route 774. The church has been renamed the Lord’s House of Prayer. Would the families connected with the Oakland church please stand? The Oakland Wesleyan Church and the Mount Orab Wesleyan Church merged with one shared location here in Mount Orab and renamed the church United Wesleyan. Would the families connected to the Mount Orab Church prior to the merge please stand? Together those two churches have proven that we can indeed beat the odds. The vast majority of church mergers simply do not survive past five to ten years with the result that no church remains. After 16 years, they have formed a strong church.
Today, we are celebrating 40 years as a Wesleyan Church. Clealry our roots run much deeper than just forty years. You may have noticed, as you came in this morning that the cornerstone of our church building is more than forty years old. The Wesleyan Church is only forty years old this year but our roots as a church are much stronger. Our church is reflection of the larger church because the Wesleyan Church is the result of a merger. The Wesleyan Church was formed, in 1968 with the merger of two older denominations, The Wesleyan Methodist Church and the Pilgrim Holiness Church. Both denominations hold the same basic roots with John Wesley.
The Wesley Brothers
The Wesleyan movement was founded by John and Charles Wesley, during the early 1700’s, in England. The early 1700’s in England were days of massive social, political, economic and spiritual turmoil. For all practical purposes, England was headed for a brutal and bloody revolution, much like what France experienced. It was in the midst of this turmoil that John and Charles Wesley found themselves in.
In May 1783 both John and Charles Wesley experienced spiritual renewal during services held by at Oxford University by a group called the Holy Club. Others at Oxford, gave these men another name, meant to be an insult: Methodists. The name was to reflect their approach to following Christ methodically in spiritual discipline.
John and Charles became leaders within the rising Methodist movement that swept across England. The revival was spurred; by the outdoor preaching of John and the moving hymn writing of Charles. John’s preaching led 1000’s to Christ and called for a radical organization of the new converts. Instead, of simply just putting the people into existing churches, John created two new and distinct groupings. The larger groups, called societies, met for preaching and worship and the smaller groups, called classes or bands, were for spiritual care and accountability.