Dear Mary

Thank you for your last letter, I trust that you and Jack are well. I have some exciting news for you both, I want to tell you now so that you are prepared for the difference in myself and my family when we come to visit next month.

As a Church family we have always been faithful in attending worship, in reading the Bible and we have never hidden the fact that we believe in God. That was to us being Christians until this new open-air style of preaching began. We had heard about the preaching of one George Whitefield but we had not felt that his activities were worthy of our attention. Now, however, our opinion has undergone a radical change.

As you know, Simon, whilst at Oxford, involved himself with student groups and called himself a "Methodist". Once Simon had left Oxford and begun his career this "Methodist" activity was forgotten. Until last week, that is, when John Wesley preached in the open at Huddersfield. He was also one of those Oxford students and when Simon heard that he was coming to Yorkshire to preach, he said we should go to hear him. I was not very enthusiastic as I firmly believed that preaching should only be conducted on Sundays, in church. The crowd when we arrived there was such a frightening mix of people that I feared there would be a riot! I regretted being persuaded to go to Huddersfield, I could not imagine that this crowd would let Mr Wesley speak at all.

Mary, I can hardly find the words to express how this man's preaching spoke to us and the people there. Wesley preached without notes or a written paper and the effect on the crowd was amazing. They actually listened to what he had to say. Before he began to preach one would have said that a large group were there only to cause disruption but he faced them squarely and did not show any fear. After a noisy start the crowd quietened, Wesley spoke about God's love for sinners and the salvation God offers to us all. Some were visibly moved by what he had to say and I could hardly believe that I had heard a sermon preached in a field as if we were all in church!

Simon and I had never heard the Christian faith so expounded and it brought home to us the fact that we were not really living out our faith in our lives. We went to church every Sunday and read the Bible at home but we had never wondered if God had a place in our hearts or if we loved him as he so loves us. Since that memorable open air meeting we have joined our local Methodist Society and have received such help and guidance from the leaders there. There is so much more to the Christian faith than simply attending church on Sundays. The aim of the society is to share the Christian faith with all who wish to know more about God. Their aim and now ours too is to love God and our neighbour and to try in our actions and intentions to share this with others, we're no longer just concerned with our own salvation.

We look forward to our visit to see you both very much and we know that you will rejoice with us at our new understanding of our faith. It will be lovely to share this with you. John Wesley is preaching around Yorkshire and we urge you to go to hear him if possible. Simon is finding out if there is a society near to you, we could all then go together to a meeting.

With our love and best wishes to you both and the children.

By: Susan Bollongino
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