Colston 4 Press Conference

John Wesley’s New Room, the site of Wesley’s notable sermon on the abolition of slavery, hosts the ‘Colston 4’ press conference after historic court decision.

Watch the live press conference – click here

On 5 January, John Wesley’s New Room was delighted to host the press conference following the momentous court decision to acquit the Colston 4 – a group of four protesters who were accused of criminal damage by toppling the statue of Edward Colston on 7 June 2020.

We welcomed Rhian Graham, one of the Colston 4, together with former Lord Mayor of Bristol Cleo Lake, the solicitor representing the Colston 4, Raj Chada, Bristol City councillor Christine Townsend and Black Lives Matter activist Jen Reid, as well as members of the press and supporters.

John Wesley’s New Room continues to be an active part of Bristol’s history and social life, while upholding Wesley’s abolitionist message as Bristol, the United Kingdom and the world still come to terms with the legacy of the slave trade. 

Witnessing the ‘Colston 4’ press conference helps us see the message of John Wesley’s 1788 abolitionist sermon at the New Room reverberate through history. Such events remind us of the importance of Wesley’s contribution to humanity to this day and the significance of John Wesley’s New Room as the place where many of his thoughts and ideas were first heard.

We hope that Wesley’s story and examples of advocacy, illustrated by our museum displays on the history of slave trade abolition, educational programmes for schools and Wes Talks public events can help nurture the next generations of changemakers and civil rights activists.

We conclude with the Parable of the Mustard Seed, to ponder on individual acts, no matter how small, that can bring about bigger change in the future. John Wesley’s New Room will continue to be a space that provides opportunities for intellectual and spiritual encounter, reflection, challenge and action that one day can change the world.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field; which indeed is smaller than all seeds but when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches.” [Matthew 13:31–32]