New Wesley Room at Bristol
Here is a bit more about the building from the Methodist Heritage Organization:
George Whitefield invited John Wesley to preach outdoors for the first time to the miners of Bristol in 1739. Within a few weeks’ work started on building the New Room as a meeting place for two of the religious societies in the city, thus creating the world’s first Methodist building.
The current building dates from 1748 when the New Room was doubled in size. Its lower floor became known as John Wesley’s Chapel. It is still in regular use for worship as well as being used for cultural and educational activities and exhibitions. Upstairs John Wesley created twelve rooms around a beautiful central octagonal window. These provided accommodation for himself and any visiting preachers assigned to the Bristol circuit. They now contain a highly interactive Museum devoted to telling the story of John and Charles Wesley and the relevance of their work today.
Being well placed in the heart of the city, the New Room became a center for the Wesleys’ work in Bristol. It was where John’s strong sense of social justice was first expressed. The New Room became a base for running a school for the poor, for providing food and clothes to the needy, for offering free medical care to the sick, and for helping those in the nearby prison. It was also the first place to use John Wesley’s ‘class’ system, where members were divided into sub-groups for mutual support and development. The New Room has been described as ‘the cradle of Methodism’.
The New Room was one of John Wesley’s three key centers. Many of the annual conferences were held there, including the one that first created Methodist circuits. Bristol’s trading links encouraged the growth of American Methodism. Thomas Webb, Francis Asbury, and others committed themselves to working there and sailed from nearby.
Encouraged by the Diary of JOHN WESLEY
O HOLY GOD we, have come to a point where
pastors text and post on facebook during sermon hour while thousands are going to hell in a hand basket while listening to a sermon
teachers be sipping a beer with friends on Saturday night and get up to teach Sunday school on Sunday morning still with alcohol on their breath
seminary professors teaching it is OK to drink in the Bible during the so called Theology on Tap meetings in a local pub
lonely pastors sitting in their cars shooting whiskey in the darkness of the church parking lot after preaching 2-3 services on Sunday
preachers are concerned with every social, political and cultural issues except the salvation of eternal human souls
We read the story in Wesley’s journal:
Sunday, 7.-–I preached again at St. Lawrence’s in the morning, and afterward at St. Katherine Cree’s Church. I was enabled to speak strong words at both; and was therefore the less surprised at being informed that I was not to preach any more in either of those churches.
The following weekend – Sunday, 14.–I preached in the morning at St. Ann’s, Aldersgate; and in the afternoon at the Savoy Chapel on free salvation by faith in the blood of Christ.
I was quickly apprised that at St. Ann’s, likewise, I am to preach no more.
I preached at St. John’s, Wapping at 3PM and at St. Bennett’s, Paul’s Wharf, in the evening.
At these churches, likewise, I am to preach no more
THEN HE WRITES:
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I had continual sorrow and heaviness in my heart.
BUT THEN Wednesday, May 24.– about five this morning that I opened my Testament on those words
“There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, even that ye should be partakers of the divine nature” [II Peter 1:4].
Just as I went out, I opened it again on
those words, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God” [Mark 12:34].
In the afternoon I was asked to go to St. Paul’s. The anthem was, “Out
of the deep have I called unto Thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice. Oh,
let Thine ears consider well the voice of my complaint
“I Felt My Heart Strangely Warmed”
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.
I began to pray with all my might for those who had in a more especial
manner despitefully used me and persecuted me.
I then testified openly to all there what I now first felt in my heart
Banned from most churches in the area, he meets with Whitfield who has just returned from America
Whitfield tells him they can minister in the fields like they did in America
Thursday, 29th –-I left London as I could scarcely reconcile myself at first to this strange way of preaching in the fields, of which Whitfield set me an example on Sunday;
I had been all my life (till very lately) so tenacious of every point relating to decency and order
that I should have thought the saving of souls almost a sin if it had not been done in a church.
Monday, 2.--At four in the afternoon, I submitted to be more vile and proclaimed in the highways the glad tidings of salvation, speaking from a little eminence in a ground adjoining to the city where gathered 3,000 people
Sunday, 8.--At seven in the morning I preached to about a thousand persons at Bristol, and afterward to about fifteen hundred on the top of the Mount in Kingswood.
Tuesday, 17.–At 5 in the afternoon I was at a little society in the Back Lane. The room in which we were was propped beneath, but the weight of people made the floor give way; so in the very beginning of PREACHING the post which propped it fell down with a great noise.
NEVERTHELESS the floor sank no farther; so that, after a little surprise at first, they quietly attended to the words that were spoken.”