Today (May 24) is observed by members of the Methodist and Wesleyan family as Aldersgate Day, commemorating a pivotal event in life of John Wesley — an experience of God’s grace that began his transformation from a largely ineffective Anglican clergyman into one of the most effective and influential leaders in Christian history.
At a prayer meeting in a chapel on Aldersgate Street in London, Wesley, who had been struggling with his faith, “felt [his] heart strangely warmed” while listening to a reading of the preface to Martin Luther’s commentary on Romans.
This podcast features a re-enactment of that event (based on Wesley’s journal) from the 1997 BBC Radio production, Love Divine, with Clive Francis as John Wesley.
In addition, you’ll hear an address delivered at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on the 250th anniversary of Wesley’s Aldersgate experience: May 24, 1988. That service attracted 2,500 people from 50 nations, including Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.
The speaker is the Rev. Dr. Donald English, one of the most well-known Methodists of the 20th century.
In the words of a British newspaper, Donald English was a “scholar, preacher, author, evangelist, [and] church statesman.”
He was twice elected president (presiding officer) of the British Methodist Conference, the only person to be elected to that office two times. From 1991-1996, he served as chairman of the World Methodist Council.
For several years, Dr. English was heard regularly by millions in the U.K. via the BBC Radio 4 feature, Thought for the Day.
The Rev. Dr. Donald English was designated a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth in 1996.
He passed from this life to the next on Aug. 28, 1998, at the age of 68.
To listen to this podcast, use the audio player below (18.5 min.) — or right click (Windows users) to download an mp3 (8.6MB).
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