Prayer gathering will give thanks for 200 years of Methodism in Australia

Prayer gathering will give thanks for 200 years of Methodism in Australia

Wesley Mission is holding a prayer gathering on March 6 to celebrate and give thanks for 200 years of Methodism in Australia.

People have been invited to join Wesley Mission’s Superintendent the Rev. Dr Keith Garner, congregation members, staff, supporters and volunteers as they gather to give thanks to God for the past two centuries of Methodism.

The event will mark the beginning of Wesley Mission’s 200 year celebrations, as it is 200 years to the day since the first Methodists met in Australia to discuss the need for a minister in the then new colony.

It was a “class” meeting held at the residence of Thomas Bowden in Princes Street, The Rocks.

Another class meeting was formed at Windsor about this time, led by Edward Eagar. Wesley Mission’s emergency accommodation centre at Surry Hills is named in his honour: Edward Eagar Lodge.

A Wesleyan Church was opened at Castlreagh in October 1817.

The significant caring and community work that Wesley Mission conducts today can be traced to the first gathering of Methodists in Sydney in 1812. This pioneering care went on to found the organisation that became Wesley Mission, which now has a wide range of community, aged, homeless, child and family, disability, mental health, employment and counselling services.

Wesley Mission is the largest Uniting Church parish in Australia.

Several thousand people worship at its Pitt Street and across its many caring centres each week. Its caring work is conducted by almost 2,000 staff and 2,000 volunteers.

The Wesley Mission prayer gathering will be held at Wesley Church, 200 Pitt Street, Sydney, on Tuesday March 6, 6.30-7.30 pm.

Other activities during 2012 and beyond

On Sunday July 15, 2012, Wesley Mission will hold a thanksgiving service at the State Theatre in Sydney to celebrate 200 years of Methodism in Australia and the ministry of Wesley Mission.

A walk of congregation members, supporters, staff, volunteers and community leaders will be conducted through the streets of Sydney on the day, ending at the State Theatre.

The thanksgiving service at the State Theatre will also feature music, drama and a video showcasing Wesley Mission’s history and current services.

The planned celebrations will continue until 2015, which marks the 200th anniversary of the arrival in Sydney of the first Methodist Minister, the Rev. Samuel Leigh.

The focus in each of the four years will be a specific area where the work of the early Methodists and Wesley Mission has excelled: hope (2012), advocacy (2013), innovation (2014) and faith (2015).

A book is also being produced to celebrate the bicentenary and numerous activities will be conducted throughout the year.

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