Aldersgate Sunday falls each year on the Sunday immediately preceding 24 May (‘Wesley Day’), the day on which Methodists mark John Wesley’s life-changing experience at a meeting in Aldersgate Street, London. From that flowed the beginnings of the Methodist-led evangelical revival. (See a short account of the ‘conversions’ of Charles and John Wesley.)
A Generous Life
In 2014, the Methodist Church in Britain used Aldersgate Sunday to highlight its commitment initiative: A Generous Life. A special, one-off issue of ROOTS magazine featured worship planning materials (prayers, sermon pointers etc.) to enable churches to explore what it means to be a generous disciple in the local church context.
Hymn suggestions to accompany the chosen readings were provided by StF+ and are still available. Go to the A Generous Life page or click here to download this special edition of ROOTS.
Singing with the Wesleys
Also see: Five hymns for Aldersgate.
Singing the Faith includes 82 hymns by the Wesley brothers, Charles and John (79 of them by Charles). Consider exploring one or more of these in depth as you mark Wesley Day and Aldersgate Sunday.
On Singing the Faith Plus, eight Wesley hymn posts now include information and ideas for use. As well as explanations and backgrounds of the hymn texts, suggestions for how they may be used range from related readings (StF 436) and story ideas (StF 454) to discussion questions for small groups (StF 620).
- All you that seek the Lord who died (StF 294)
- Come, O thou Traveller unknown (StF 461)
- Let earth and heaven combine (StF 208)
- O for a thousand tongues to sing (StF 364)
- Open, Lord, my inward ear (StF 450)
- Thou God of truth and love (StF 620)
- What shall I do my God to love (StF 436)
- Where shall my wondering soul begin? (StF 454)
In addition, take a look at the discussion of Martin Luther’s psalm paraphrase, Out of the depths I cry to thee (StF 433), which has its own associations with John Wesley’s Aldersgate experience and the heart of Methodist teaching. Also: Shirley Erena Murray’s How small a spark (StF 408), written for the Wesley 250th Anniversary in 1988.
The Wesley story
For introductory materials on John and Charles Wesley, and the movement they founded, go to the History section of the Methodist website. From there you can explore more about “Who we are”.