A season of People and Voices



This Autumn we are pleased to  announce our Autumn/Winter programme entitled “People and Voices” which brings together an exciting array of events, live music, learning opportunities and services for everyone across the city and beyond.

This programme of work celebrates John Wesley, who despite his awareness amongst those more familiar with John Wesley’s New Room remains one of Bristol’s lesser known  voices in history. The programme also offers the people of Bristol and beyond the chance to take part in the city’s story.

John Wesley used his voice to speak out against slavery, a topic which still has an impact on the Bristolian community today, brought even more to the fore following the fall of the statue of Edward Colston in 2020. Wesley’s mission for equality amongst all people, especially women, children and those in need is one that has shone a light in the city and changed the world since 1739.

“Bristol has many heroes: Brunel, Banksy, George Muller, Samuel Plimsoll, Hannah More and Cary Grant. John and Charles Wesley were some of the most influential people in the world, yet are so very unknown despite their political and cultural relevance today. We hope this programme helps towards completing Bristol’s story” says David Worthington, Director of John Wesley’s New Room.

This People and Voices programme will develop and promote John Wesley’s New Room as a heritage attraction and museum, educational resource, cultural venue and community facility in the heart of the city, offering opportunities for reflection, challenge and action.

Key voices that will be celebrated at John Wesley’s New Room between September and December 2021 include:

The voice of John Wesley

Marked through the launch of a new organisation-wide rebrand, John Wesley’s New Room celebrates and tells stories of its place of historical and contemporary significance in the spiritual and social life of Bristol, the nation and the world. The People and Voices programme will increase people’s understanding of Wesley’s relevance to thought, belief and action today.

New for Autumn 2021, John Wesley’s New Room will be offering guided tours of the inspiring 12 room immersive museum experience where visitors can discover how John Wesley changed the world.

The voice of Francis Asbury

This year marks the 250th anniversary since Wesley’s friend and supporter Francis Asbury set sail from Pill to Philadelphia in 1771. This historic Atlantic voyage saw him start a preaching ministry in America which led to the establishment of the American Methodist Church and Asbury being ordained as its first Bishop in 1784. John Wesley’s New Room welcomes Bristol based folk group Magpie22 featuring Dawn Kelly and Neil Bailey on Saturday 11 September, and a Celebration Service in the chapel on Sunday 12 September.


The voices of those who learn

The education programme at John Wesley’s New Room is being highlighted during the ‘Back to School’ season from Monday 30 August – Friday 10 September. During this fortnight, children and their teachers will share their experiences of engaging with the Education Programme at John Wesley’s New Room. Sharing blogs, endorsements, vox pops and more with the city, the future generation of Bristol will raise awareness of the online lessons, assemblies, resource packs and RE sessions that John Wesley’s New Room offers to those in education settings.

Families are encouraged to visit the Museum to discover how John Wesley played a vital role in providing healthcare and education to those in need, and in October Half Term there will be costumes galore as volunteers dress up in traditional attire to welcome people onto the site, complete with a host of fun activities.

John Wesley’s New Room announces its first Researcher in Residence this Autumn as they welcome PJ Jackson who will study in the highly acclaimed library between September and November. The Library and Archive collection within the building contains over 9,000 books, pamphlets and bound journals of Methodist history, local studies, biographies and critical studies of John and Charles Wesley and their works. People are encouraged to sign up to the email list to receive updates about what PJ Jackson is able to draw from her experience.

The voices of those who give their time

The volunteers at John Wesley’s New Room are at the heart of the operation and this Autumn they give thanks for those who have volunteered. This also marks the launch of a new campaign to recruit more volunteers, with a range of opportunities available to suit a wide variety of interests and backgrounds. The volunteering programme is open to all, from young to old, and welcomes individuals from all of Bristol’s diverse communities to get involved.

The voices of those who are underrepresented

During Black History Month, an event called ‘Black Lives Matter: Readings and Conversation’ will be held online on Zoom on Thursday 7 October. Poets from Bristol and beyond and from a diverse range of backgrounds will be performing their own poetry with a keynote address by Bristol-based poet and historian Dr Edson Burton.

Voices Together

After 18 months of singing together on Zoom, John Wesley’s New Room is delighted to welcome back its Community Choir to sing together in person. Open to everyone, the Community Choir re-launches on Wednesday 22 September, 12-1pm with a varied repertoire of pop, folk, rock, jazz, blues and gospel music. Unlike some choirs, members are able to join at any time throughout the term. The choir offers the chance to improve the wellbeing of its members through song and the term concludes with a coming together of the community for a relaxed performance.

Folk events are back in action at John Wesley’s New Room this Autumn as Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith, one of the finest duos to emerge onto the British folk and acoustic scene in recent years take to the stage on Thursday 16 September.  This will be followed by BBC Folk Award Winner Ben Walker who joins forces with highly acclaimed pianist Kirsty Merryn on their ‘Life and the Land’ tour to rediscover songs from rural England on Thursday 14 October.