“The greatest religious problem today is how to be both a mystic and a militant; in other words how to combine the search for an expansion of inner awareness with effective social action, and how to feel one's true identity in both” Ursula K. LeGuin

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Susanna Wesley

Welcome to Women's History Month! Who better to start with than Susanna Wesley about whom biographer Susan Pellow said, “…although she never preached a sermon or published a book or founded a church, (she) is known as the Mother of Methodism. Why? Because two of her sons, John Wesley and Charles Wesley, as children consciously or unconsciously will, applied the example and teachings and circumstances of their home life.”
She was born on January 20, 1669, the last of 25 children born to Dr. Samuel Annesley and Mary White Annesley. Her father was a dissenting clergyman who had left the Church of England, and Samuel Wesley. whom she married in 1888 shortly after Wesley's ordination, was the son of one of his colleagues. Samuel, like Susanna, had left his father's church for the Anglican church. In 1696 he was sent to the Epworth charge where he remained most of his career.
The couple had 19 children although only ten lived past infancy. She taught all the children herself, beginning with learning the alphabet on the day after their fifth birthday and progressing through Latin and Greek.
She also took charge of the children's spiritual training, and when Samuel was on an extended stay in London she disapproved of the substitute pastor he had chosen preaching only on repayment of debt and began having Sunday afternoon services at home which the children, singing hymns and reading a sermon written by her husband or her father. Others began attending the services until there were about 200 people present and very few at the morning service. Samuel asked her to stop having the services, saying it was scandalous, but she refused to do so.
Politically she was a supporter of King James I, and also refused to say "Amen" when Samuel prayed for William of Orange during family prayers. The couple separated about a year over this but reconciled in 1702 when Queen Anne ascended to the throne.
Although none of her writing was published during her lifetime, she wrote many commentaries and meditations for her own use and was an avid correspondent. Eight quotes are given here http://www.azquotes.com/author/25221-Susanna_Wesley

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