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The Black Country Circuit 28/12

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The Black Country, the Wesleys,
and our famous son
Francis Asbury
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John and Charles Wesley preached at several locations in the area that is now covered by The Black Country Circuit. John visited Wednesbury to preach on nearly forty occasions. It was there, in 1743 and 1744, that the Wednesbury Riots took place when John Wesley and his colleagues were attacked by a mob intent to do them harm and drive them out of the area.

A stone horseblock, on which Wesley stood to preach, is preserved in Central Methodist Church(photo below) as are other items associated with the Wesleys' visits.

One local man who was influenced by the preaching of Wesley and his followers was Francis Asbury. He was born on 21st August 1745 in Hamstead but his childhood was spent in West Bromwich. The family's cottage is preserved as a Methodist Heritage site on the edge of the town. The Asburys attended All Saints' Church in West Bromwich and also travelled to hear the Wesleys preach when they were in the area. John Wesley recognised a potential in Francis and appointed him as a lay preacher while Asbury was still in his teens. He became the first class leader in West Bromwich, a fact that is commemorated by a plaque in Wesley Church (photo below).

Asbury later travelled to America where, on Wesley's instructions, he was ordained as Bishop. He is reputed to have ordained 3000 preachers and preached 17,000 sermons, travelling an estimated quarter of a million miles, mostly on horseback, during his 45 year ministry in America..

Asbury died on 31st March 1816. He is regarded, not only as the founder of Methodism in the USA, but also a founding father of the country itself. At the unveiling of a statue of Asbury in Washington D.C., President Coolidge called him "one of the builders of our nation".

There are now over 10 million Methodists in the USA and over 600 churches have been named 'Asbury Methodist Church' after this son of The Black Country.
 

The Black Country Circuit is a family of seventeen Methodist churches in Tipton, Wednesbury and West Bromwich. The seventeen includes one congregation that is a Methodist and Church of England Ecumenical Partnership.

We are located in the Black Country in the English Midlands. Our Circuit represents just a small part of The Black Country region which itself includes parts of Sandwell, Dudley, Wolverhampton and Walsall. For more about the Black Country as a region, and it's history and heritage, click here.

Click the image for a high definition photo of the Black Country Circuit banner
representing our seventeen churches.

Click the Facebook icon to apply to join our Facebook Group.

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Circuit Mission Statement

Download a PDF copy

Our mission is:
“to show God’s love for all the world”
in order that
"all people may have life and life in all its fullness”

We strive to work out our mission and ministry in accordance with the following principles:

In partnership with others where possible, we will concentrate our prayers, resources, imagination and commitments on this priority:

To proclaim and affirm its conviction of God’s love in Christ, for us and for all the world;
and renew confidence in God’s presence and action in the world and in the Church.

As ways towards realising this priority,
we will give particular attention to the following:

Underpinning everything we do with God-centred worship and prayer.

Supporting community development and action for justice, especially among the most deprived and poor – in Britain and worldwide.

Developing confidence in evangelism and in the capacity to speak of God and faith in ways that make sense to all involved.

Encouraging fresh ways of being Church.

Nurturing a culture in the Church which is people-centred and flexible.

 

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A Prayer for our Circuit
 

Lord, we come together as the Black Country Circuit, praying for your guidance for our ministry in these our towns of Tipton, Wednesbury
and West Bromwich.

Lord, we pray that you will:
Strengthen the chains that link us together as churches of this Black Country Circuit and with our fellow Christians.
Lord, we pray that you will break the chains that imprison us as living only in the past, and that prevent us having the courage to venture into the future.

Lord, we pray that you will:
Help us to mine the rich seams of your love that already exist in our towns and in our churches. May your love fuel the fire of our desire to serve you anew
each day.

Lord, we pray that you will:
Inspire us to live our lives in such ways that, through us, your love sparkles
as does light through the finest crystal.
May others catch in us a glimmer
of your glory, a reflection of you in the way we live our lives.

Lord, we pray that you will
create in us, not hearts cast as iron,
but hearts that are warmed with such a knowledge of your love that we may be moulded anew each day so as to be effective in your service
and that of all people.
 

Mike Claridge

Above: Francis Asbury

Below: Asbury commemorative plaque in Wesley Church,
West Bromwich

Below: Originally in High Bullen, Wednesbury, the horseblock on which John Wesley preached is now preserved nearby in Central Methodist Church.

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