“John Wesley would be proud of you.” These are the words expressed by Timothy George to David Leese, pastor of the Wesley Memorial Church in Epworth, England. During our recent visit to Great Britain, our group was afforded the opportunity to visit the historic church and we were privileged to spend some valuable time with this fine pastor.
The complimentary affirmation from Timothy George came at the end of our fellowship time with David Leese. What precipitated these words of appreciation and blessing? You would have to have been there to fully understand. This warmhearted evangelical pastor is seeking to make a difference for Christ in this small English village of Epworth, located in the beautiful countryside north of London.
The church is a thriving witness in the community. David is welcomed into the local schools to share his faith with the students. The Anglicans in the area also hold this pastor in high esteem. The worship style at Wesley Memorial is non-traditional, featuring all kinds of musical instruments and celebrative singing by the people. Wesley Memorial Church worships with a spirit of enthusiasm found in the preaching style of John Wesley and in the music of Charles Wesley.
During the brief dialogue with David, he shared his testimony with us. He traced his pilgrimage to faith by describing how he was moved by conviction after hearing a sermon by David Watson in York, England. This was 1971, and he was a young man, searching for answers to the questions of meaning and purpose in life.
Following the message, he walked across the park and, by the time, he had reached the third lamp post, David was praying the prayer of repentance from sin and trust in Jesus. Since that moment in the park, David Leese has been a changed man. His desire is to share Christ with others and to see them come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Standing in the sanctuary, in front of the very table the Wesleys used for Communion, David Leese said, “This church is not a museum, it is a place of worship.” Well said, my new friend from Epworth, England. The Wesley home is just behind the church and it is a museum, but the church which bears the famous family name is a mission – not a museum. Yes, to borrow the words of Timothy George, “John Wesley would be proud of you.”