WHAT IS A WESLEYAN?
The Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia is part of a world-wide evangelical denomination with ministries in USA, Britain, Canada and Australia as well as over 40 other countries.
In a very real sense the church owes its origin to the great spiritual awakening of the 18th century when God raised up John and Charles Wesley. The Wesleyan revival soon spread from England to America where churches were established, and extraordinary growth in spiritual and numerical strength took place. Methodism was initially a movement stressing evangelism and a closer walk with God. Wesley determined to do all he could to make disciples who grew in every aspect of their spiritual and practical life. This is what set the Methodists apart from many other movements at the time and led to real transformation of the church and society at large.
Early American Methodism was faithful to Wesley’s emphasis in doctrine and Christian conduct. However, Methodist ministers were pressured not to agitate for the abolition of slavery. Denied the right to exercise their consciences in this matter, many withdrew from the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1843 the Wesleyan Methodist Church grew out of this reform movement. Our denomination, therefore, did not have its beginnings over a doctrinal issue.
During the Second World War many Christians became acutely aware of the great spiritual needs of the Australian people and prayed for an awakening. Following an encounter by the Rev. Kingsley Ridgway, with an American Wesleyan serviceman, contact was made with the Wesleyan Methodist Church of America. After the literature was studied, an invitation was extended to the movement to open work in Australia and an encouraging, affirmative answer was received.
A handful of people attended services, and from this group sprang a movement burdened for “the spreading of Scriptural holiness across the land”. In 1947 the Inaugural Conference was held and a Bible College commenced. We currently have almost 100 churches spanning all Australian states.
To hear how Gayndah Wesleyan Methodist Church fits into the history, see our own church history page.
For further info see our denominational web site: www.wesleyan.org.au