Classic History Books


Great Britain and Her Queen - by Anne E. Keeling

We have already spoken of the growth and development of social philanthropic work in connexion with
the great Methodist missions in towns; there remains one most important movement in this direction to

notice - the establishment of the "Children's Home," which, begun in 1869 by Dr. Stephenson, received

Conference recognition in 1871. It has now branches in London, Lancashire, Gravesend, Birmingham,

and the Isle of Man, and an emigration depot in Canada. Over 900 girls and boys are in residence, while

more than 2,900 have been sent forth well equipped for the battle of life; some of them becoming

ministers, local preachers, Sunday-school workers, and in many ways most useful citizens. The

committee of management has the sanction of Conference. This "powerful arm of Christian work" not

only rescues helpless little ones from degradation and misery; it undertakes the special training of the

workers amongst the children in industrial homes and orphanages; and hence has arisen the institution in

1895 of the order of Methodist deaconesses, which is recommended by Conference to Connexional

sympathy and confidence, the deaconesses rendering to our Church such services as the Sisters of Mercy

give to the Church of Rome. One example may suffice. A London superintendent minister describes the

work of one of the Sisters during the past twelvemonth as "simply invaluable. She has visited the poor,

nursed the sick, held services in lodging-houses, met Society classes and Bible-classes, gathered round

her a godly band of mission-workers, and in a hundred ways has promoted the interests of God's work."

Two events made 1891 memorable for Methodists, the centenary of Wesley's death and its
commemoration being the first.

The Conference decided that suitable memorial services should be held, and an appeal made to
Methodists everywhere for funds to improve Wesley's Chapel and the graveyard containing his tomb.

Universal interest was aroused; all branches of Methodism were represented; the leading ministers of

Nonconformist Churches also shared in the services. Crowded and enthusiastic congregations assembled

in City Road when on Sunday, March 1, the Rev. Charles H. Kelly, Ex-President, preached on "The

Man, his Teaching, and his Work," and when the Rev. Dr. Moulton delivered the centenary sermon. On

March 2, a statue of Wesley was unveiled - exactly one hundred years after his death - Dean Farrar and

Sir Henry H. Fowler addressing the meeting.

The Allan Library, the gift of the late Thomas R. Allan, containing more than 30,000 books and
dissertations, was opened by the President; it has since been enriched by gifts of modern books from the

Fernley Trustees and others, and a circulating library is now connected with it. Accessible on easy terms

to ministers and local preachers, and within the reach of many others, this library should be a useful

stimulus to the taste for study among ministers and people.

The other event of the year was the meeting of the second Oecumenical Conference in October, at
Washington, in the country where Methodism obtained great triumphs. The Conference lasted twelve

days, like its predecessor; the opening sermon, prepared by the Rev. William Arthur, was read for him,

Mr. Arthur's voice being too weak to be heard; and the President of the United States gave a reception at

the Executive Mansion, and also visited the Conference. Many topics of deep interest were discussed on

this occasion, and not the least attractive subject was the statistical report presented. The difficulty of

estimating the actual strength and influence of Methodism is very great.

In the present year the membership of the Wesleyan Methodists, for Great Britain and Ireland, is
estimated at 494,287; of other Methodist bodies in the United Kingdom at 373,700; the affiliated

Conferences of Wesleyan Methodists in France, South Africa, the West Indies, and Australasia at

212,849, being 1,942 for France, 62,812 for South Africa, 50,365 for the two West Indian, and 97,730 for

 

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