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Clive Field

The history of the Allan Library is here told systematically for the first time. This antiquarian collection of substantially foreign-language books and some manuscripts was formed by barrister Thomas Robinson Allan (1799-1886) during the 1850s, 1860s and 1870s. His stated intention was to create a Methodist rival to Sion College Library (Church of England) and Dr Williamss Library (Old Dissent). Allan donated it to the Wesleyan Methodist Conference in 1884, which funded the erection of purpose-built Allan Library premises opening in London in 1891. However, the Wesleyans struggled to make a success of the enterprise as a subscription library, and the collection was in storage between 1899 and 1920, before being sold by Conference to the London Library (where most of it still remains). The Allan Library Trust was established with the proceeds of the sale. The reasons for the relative failure of Allans great library project are fully explored.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Lewis Burton

There are now two orders of ministry in the Methodist Church, the Order of Presbyters and the Order of Deacons. The latter developed out of the previously existing Deaconess Order but now enjoys the same status and privileges as the former. A study of the Order of Presbyters was completed in 2007, but it was thought that a similar study of the Order of Deacons would be of value in shedding light on the present task they are asked to do, their work experience in the circuits, and the various stresses and demands to which they are subject. The data for this survey was collected by a questionnaire put to the 119 deacons of the Order then active in the circuits. Evidence from analysis showed that their congregations did not fully understand the nature of a deacons ministry, complicated by the fact that, unfortunately, deacons were often employed to ease a shortage of presbyters in the circuits.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Angela Connelly

Methodist Central Halls were built in most British towns and cities. They were designed not to look like churches in order to appeal to the working classes. Entirely multi-functional, they provided room for concerts, plays, film shows and social work alongside ordinary worship. Some contained shops in order to pay for the future upkeep of the building. The prototype for this programme was provided in Manchester and opened on Oldham Street in 1886. This article offers a first analysis of it as a building type and looks at the wider social and cultural contribution of the building. It continues the narrative by discussing changing use and design during a twentieth century that witnessed the widespread contraction of Methodist congregations.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Simon Mayers

The prevailing historiographies of Jewish life in England suggest that religious representations of the Jews in the early modern period were confined to the margins and fringes of society by the desacralization of English life. Such representations are mostly neglected in the scholarly literature for the latter half of the long eighteenth century, and English Methodist texts in particular have received little attention. This article addresses these lacunae by examining the discourse of Adam Clarke (1760/2–1832), an erudite Bible scholar, theologian, preacher and author and a prominent, respected, Methodist scholar. Significantly, the more overt demonological representations were either absent from Clarke‘s discourse, or only appeared on a few occasions, and were vague as to who or what was signified. However, Clarke portrayed biblical Jews as perfidious, cruel, murderous, an accursed seed, of an accursed breed and radically and totally evil. He also commented on contemporary Jews (and Catholics), maintaining that they were foolish, proud, uncharitable, intolerant and blasphemous. He argued that in their eternal, wretched, dispersed condition, the Jews demonstrated the veracity of biblical prophecy, and served an essential purpose as living monuments to the truth of Christianity.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library