As many of you will know Sunday 20thJanuary 2019 was the 350thanniversary of the birth of Susanna Wesley. To commemorate the occasion David and I, along with many others, joined the congregation of Wesley’s Chapel in London to share in their morning worship led by the superintendent minister Rev Canon Dr Jenny Smith and Jill Baker, Former Vice President of Conference.
After lunch we congregated, in glorious sunshine, at the gates of Wesley’s Chapel to begin our pilgrimage with prayer. Departing from the Chapel we walked to the Foundery, the final home and place of death of Susanna where, she received companionship and support from the Christian Community.
Moving on from the Foundery to the historic Spitalfields Square we paused to reflect and sing the verse ‘Brother Sister, let me serve you’(Stf 611) before walking on to Susanna’s birthplace, 7 Spital Yard. Here we reflected on the words of Psalm 39:4-6 and raised our voices in fine Methodist tradition to the hymn ‘All people that on earth do dwell’ (Stf 1).
Walking from Spital Yard via Finsbury Square we continued on to Bunhill Fields. Gathering at Susanna’s grave we shared this prayer from Susanna’s writings:
‘Help me, Lord, to remember that religion is not to be confined to the church …. nor exercised only in prayer and meditation, but that everywhere I am in thy presence.’
Singing a slightly modified version of John Bunyan’s hymn ‘Who would true valour see, let her come hither –‘, flowers were placed on the grave. We were then led in song by the ‘Susanna Wesley Mission Auxilliary’ (SUWMA) in their traditional Ghanese dialect ‘Twi’ and concluded with ‘happy birthday to you’ before heading across the road to Wesley’s Chapel for a final reflection and a very welcome cuppa.
The last word (from Susanna herself):
‘At last it came into my mind, though I am not a man nor a minister of the gospel, and so cannot be employed in such a worthy employment as they were; yet if my heart were sincerely devoted to God …. I might do somewhat more than I do.’