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Museum of Methodism Timeline

John Wesley preaching from his father's tomb in Epworth

17th June - John Wesley born to the Rev. Samuel Wesley and his wife Susanna at Epworth, Lincolnshire.

9th February - Wesley’s home, the Rectory, set on fire, with John Wesley trapped inside. He is rescued from an upper floor window.

28th January - Wesley begins his formal schooling at Charterhouse School, London.

24th June - Wesley begins his university studies at Christ Church College, Oxford University.

Wesley graduates with a B.A.

19th September - Wesley ordained a Deacon of the Anglican Church.

17th March - Becomes a Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford. Lectures on classics, logic and divinity.

14th February - Awarded M.A. degree.

17th August - Wesley appointed Curate to his father, the Rector of Epworth, at Wroot.

22nd September - Ordained Priest in the Anglican Church.

Early months - Charles Wesley gathers his friends and forms the Holy Club.

22nd November - John Wesley resumes his duties at Lincoln College and becomes the natural leader of the Holy Club.

5th April - Rev. Samuel Wesley, John’s father, dies at Epworth.

14th October - John and Charles sail on the ship 'The Simmonds' from Gravesend to the American colony of Georgia at General James Oglethorpe’s invitation. Charles is to be Oglethorpe's secretary and John is to serve as chaplain to the settlers at Savannah.

6th February - The pair land in America near Savannah.

26th July - Charles Wesley returns to England.

22nd December - John Wesley departs for England on the ship 'The Samuel'.

1st February - Wesley reaches England and landed at Deal.

1st May - With the Moravian Peter Bohler, Wesley forms the Fetter Lane Religious Society.

21st May - At John Bray’s home, 'Little Britain', Charles Wesley experiences his conversion, in which he is inspired to write the Hymn:
“Where shall my wondering soul begin?
How shall I all to heaven aspire?
A slave redeemed from death and sin
A brand plucked from eternal fire …”

24th May - At a society near Aldersgate Street John Wesley experiences his conversion, which he described in his Journal: “In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; 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.”

13th June – 16th September - John Wesley tours Northern Europe visiting the Moravians at Herrnhut on the borders of Bohemia.

28th March - John Wesley writes to an un-named friend who had criticized him for trespassing on other clergy’s parishes: “I look upon all the world as my parish, thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty, to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation. This is the work I know God has called me to.”

2nd April - John Wesley preaches his first open-air sermon, at Bristol, having been introduced to this style of preaching by George Whitefield. This open-air preaching continues to the end of his life; some 52 years.

3rd June - John Wesley preaches for the first time at the New Room, Bristol.

11th November - Wesley preaches for the first time in his new London headquarters, the Foundery Chapel.

The Holy Triumph of John Wesley in his Dying
15th February - Wesley establishes the first class meetings in Bristol, to better manage the pastoral needs of the Society’s members.

23rd July - Susanna Wesley, John and Charles’s mother dies. Her last wish is: “Children, as soon as I am released, sing a psalm of praise to God”. John buries her in Bunhill Fields Cemetery, London.

20th December - Wesley lays the foundation stone for the Orphan House in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

20th October - John Wesley faces the rioting mob at Wednesbury.

25th – 30th June - John Wesley invites his assistants to the first Methodist conference, at the Foundery Chapel, London.

8th – 27th August - John Wesley visits Ireland for the first time.

24th June - Wesley opens Kingswood School near Bath, to educate the children of the tin-miners in the area.

8th April - John Wesley conducts the marriage of his brother Charles to Sarah Gwynne.

19th February - John Wesley marries Mary (Molly) Vazeille, a widow of a London merchant of Huguenot descent. On the 1st of June he resigns his Fellowship of Lincoln College, Oxford.

The first Covenant Service was conducted by Wesley.

14th May - John Wesley publishes his “Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament”.

Methodism spreads in Antigua and North America.

4th August - Wesley sends the first two itinerant Methodist preachers to America.

February - Wesley’s marriage breaks down and Mary Vazeille leaves him.

21st April - Wesley lays the foundation stone for his new chapel ('Wesley’s Chapel') on an acre of land on situated on Royal Row (now City Road), previously occupied by windmills.

1st November - John Wesley opens his New Chapel in London.

8th October - John Wesley writes in his Journal: “This night I lodged in the new house at London. How many more nights have I to spend there?”

1st May - Wesley publishes “A Collection of Hymns for the Use of the People called Methodists”.

7th October - John Wesley’s wife Mary dies in Newcastle.

9th March - Wesley executes the Deed of Declaration (a deed poll) defining the constitutional powers of the Methodist Conference, which was to succeed him in leading the people called Methodists.

1st – 2nd September - Wesley ordains preachers to work in the newly independent states of America.

29th March - Charles Wesley dies. He is buried in St. Marylebone Churchyard, London.

6th October - John Wesley preaches his last open-air sermon under a large tree in Winchelsea.

23rd February - Wesley preaches his last in-door sermon at Leatherhead, to “a family who have lately begun to receive the truth.”

24th February - Wesley writes his last diary entry.

Wednesday 2nd March - He dies just before 10am in his home in London, aged 87.

9th March - Wesley is buried very early in the morning, at the back of his Chapel; in a spot he had chosen for himself.

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