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British museum celebrates minister who spread Christianity in US

Wed 13 Apr 2016
By Marcus Jones

Hundreds of people have gathered for a day of special events at the Black Country museum in Dudley to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of a local man who is credited with growing the Church in America.

Bishop Francis Asbury, who was a humble metal worker from the Black Country, travelled to America to answer a request by John Wesley, one of the founders of the Methodist Church, for preachers to serve in America.

It's claimed from fewer than 1,200 members, the Church grew to more than 210,000 thanks to Asbury's efforts.

To celebrate his life, a day of costumed choirs, special services and talks were held at the museum, attended by hundreds of Methodists from across the UK in addition to the museum's regular visitors.

 

General Secretary of the United Methodist Church General Commission on Archives and History, Revd Fred Day said: "This has been a wonderful and exciting day for us. Asbury is not as well-known as he should be given how important he is to US history. He travelled around 270,000 miles on horseback, telling people about faith, and was even a friend to George Washington."

Jo Hibbard, the Methodist Church in Britain's Director of Engagement, added: "The day was a great mixture of fun and history, with a lot of us discovering how one man from the Black Country influenced, what went on to become, one of most powerful nations on earth."

Listen to Premier's Mdlands correspondant Daina Anderson speaking to Revd Fred Day.

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