Monday, 5 January 2015

Calvinist Methodists Met to Make Arrangements - January 5, 1743

John Cennick
John Cennick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Calvinist Methodists Met to Make Arrangements - January 5, 1743

Eight Methodist leaders gathered in Waterford, South Wales, on this day January 5, 1743 to hold the first Calvinist Methodist Conference. They met at the home of Thomas Price, a layman preacher who served as Waterford's Justice of the Peace.

  Muscle-builders and pregnant women know that anyone who grows too fast is liable to get stretch marks. Organizations that grow too rapidly can get stretch marks, too. That was the case with the Welsh Methodists in the early 1740s. Converts were coming in so fast that revival leaders were unsure how to manage the growing number of "societies" (groups of believers).

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Chief among the lay preachers was Howell Harris, the man whose enthusiasm had originally sparked the Welsh revival. Then there was John Cennick. On one occasion, wrote Cennick, he and Harris were attacked at Swindon, England. "Mr. Goddard, a leading gentleman of the town, lent the mob his guns, halberd and engine [water pump] and bade them use us as badly as they could, only not kill us." Guns were fired so near the two that they were blackened with powder. Dust was flung on them and stinking ditch water. While the mob sprayed Harris, Cennick preached; and when they sprayed Cennick, Harris preached. Afterward, the two were burned in effigy. Cennick later became a Moravian. As for Joseph Humphreys, Whitfield used him as an assistant and exhorter.

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