Room for all people
Explore John Wesley's thoughts on trading fairly
In the 18th century a small group of very wealthy merchants and influential businessmen controlled the city. Expensive new homes were being built for them by unpaid and impoverished workers with materials bought from the profits of the transatlantic Slave Trade. If you were seeking justice from mistreatment the law was harsh, but it was prone to corrupting influences from the wealthy who could bribe or persuade the authorities.
John Wesley came to the city as a young man following his time at Oxford university. It was here that he first became drawn to the plight of the poor and his passion grew for preaching the gospel. John and Charles Wesley were incensed that fashion and greed overshadowed the need of poor families struggling to survive. This went against their Christian belief that they should love their neighbour as themselves. John Wesley believed a person’s wealth was therefore best spent in helping others saying, ‘Be ye ready to distribute to everyone according to his necessity’.
John Wesley acted in numerous ways to help the needs of those who were mistreated. He often did this in very practical, local ways. From giving away most of his income, to setting up food banks and producing impassioned pamphlets defending the cause of the weak and vulnerable. John Wesley’s published ‘Thoughts upon Slavery’ seeks to highlight the extreme brutality and immorality of the transatlantic Slave Trade. All this fervour was generated and sustained by John Wesley’s love for the gospel and his commitment to preaching the good news of Christ faithfully.
John Wesley’s passion for preaching the gospel spilled out into the lives of other men and women who he encouraged into ministry. Many men were sent out across the country to share the good news of Christ in the open air, and some faced brutal opposition. The forming of a movement of the ‘people called Methodists’ benefited the lives of many who felt oppressed and experienced the full force of a broken world. They received love, grace, and acceptance from Methodists, as well as care and understanding for their physical needs. It is no wonder this social and spiritual shift captured the attention of their enemies who spread rumour that the movement was a catalyst for revolution.
From the early beginnings of Methodism it is clear that the character of a Methodist is so often shaped by social enterprise, initiative, and hard work. Christians are stirred to action following the grace they themselves have received. Over the years many Methodists have campaigned for fairness and justice in the workplace. Most notably in the early 19th century Tolpuddle Martyrs case, where George Loveless and three other Methodist preachers were arrested in 1834 for organising a trade union and sentenced to seven years’ transportation to Australia.
"Passion and prejudice govern the world… It is our part, by religion and reason combined, to counteract them all we can." - John Wesley's letter to Joseph Benson, 5 October 1770
Highlights from the Shop
Face MasksThese beautiful and stylish face coverings have been designed and made by local crafter, Liz Worthington. 100% cotton, these coverings are really durable and comfortable to wear. They come in a range of colours and designs. A dedicated supporter of John Wesley’s New Room, Liz also leads our Craft and Chat workshop in the café every third Thursday afternoon of the month.
The John Wesley Stained Glass Window JigsawJohn Wesley’s New Room shop is always looking to support local, independent artists and makers. This jigsaw puzzle was created following the installation of our stained-glass window in January 2019. The window was designed and made by Devizes-based artist, Andrew Taylor who worked on the project for 14 months. Andrew has been working with stained glass for over 25 years and is a Fellow of the British Society of Master Glass Painters. The puzzle of the artwork features significant places and events in the life of John Wesley.
Communion SetFair trade provides hope, restores dignity, and values humanity. By operating in such a way we model a world which God intended for us. But we know we live in a world which battles despair, shame and brokenness. This beautifully crafted communion set is a reminder of the free grace offered in Christ. God sent His son to die for us, in our place, so that we might repent and believe and have eternal life with Him. It is through the gospel (which means ‘good news’) that we see the ultimate dealing in grace. This paves the way for us to freely model a life of love and compassion for others.
Seniors (65+) £6
Children (5-16) £4
Children (under 5) Free
Carer of disabled visitor Free
1 adult and up to 3 children £10
2 adults and up to 3 children £15
Additional children - £2 per child
Tickets are valid for one year, and include a free audio guide. Please note, these prices will be subject to review in 2021.
Monday - Saturday, 11am - 3pm
Monday - Saturday, 10am - 4pm
God and Money
Writer and local preacher, Liz Delafield has written a hymn which challenges people to address issues of wealth, balance of power and the use of money. Follow the link to the Methodist Church website to read the hymn in full and browse John Wesley’s sermon, On the Use of Money.Read more
All We Can
All We Can is an international development and relief organisation, working to see every person’s potential fulfilled. Focussed on serving the world’s most marginalised communities, All We Can is rooted in the Christian faith.Visit their site
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