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Bristol and Wesley's Ministry

January 29, 2024

Bristol was a place for many ministry opportunities. As already noted in earlier blogs Kingswood was within a few miles of Bristol where coal miners and brick makers were employed. The standing of coal miners and the like was not considered of much interest by the Anglican Clergy so there were few if any who attempted to minister to this area and group of people outside of a church meeting.

Wesley's preaching in the fields around Bristol began to reach thousands, much to the ire of the priests of the established church's (Anglican) parish system. A system that resisted and at time forbid preaching or ministry by anyone outside of the sanctioned parish leadership.

Since Wesley would not relent in the work of preaching to the neglected masses one such priest, Josiah Tucker, attacked both Whitefield and Wesley in print about their theology and methods. This attack in print prompted Wesley to make the assertion that since he was a fellow of a college (Oxford), his ordination was to no particular parish. Wesley then makes this famous statement that typified his life and ministry: "I look upon all the world as my parish."

REFLECTION: What forms of rigidity might we have that restrict God's work in our lives and others (thinking prayer must be practiced a certain way, thinking that one must read a certain amount of Scripture each day, thinking that my churches view on a subject is the only way, etc)