March 1736 in Georgia

Historical and background information from the website Glynn County History and Lore. -- ed.

Among the immigrants which Mr. Oglethorpe brought from England were two young ministers who afterwards became very famous. John Wesley, fresh from Oxford University, came as a missionary to the Indians and a pastor to the colonists. His brother, Charles Wesley, was to serve as a private secretary to Oglethorpe. John took up his work in Savannah, making only an occasional trip to Frederica, while Charles came immediately with Oglethorpe to Frederica. His assigned task was to keep records and make reports to the Trustees, a previous failing of Mr. Oglethorpe. He soon discovered that pastoral responsibilities were his as well, so he conducted religious services and organized the settlers into a congregation which still today exists as the continuing congregation of Christ Church.

The Wesley brothers remained only a few months in the colony, however, as they really were not suited for the task...

There were two things though which made the Georgia experience of the Wesleys of great significance: 1) On shipboard and in the colony they had been greatly impressed by the Moravian immigrants. Their trusting faith and deep piety made a deep impression on them, and the future "warm hearted" religious experience and the Methodist movement were greatly influenced by this Moravian contact. 2) The first Sunday School in the world was established in Savannah by John Wesley. He brought children together on Sunday for religious instruction. This is not to take away from Robert Raikes, who is given credit for the beginning of the Sunday School movement many years later. Robert Raikes developed an important system of teaching poor children on Sunday. These children had been working in the factories or mines for long hours six days a week, so on Sunday he got them together to teach them reading, writing, and arithmetic, for this was their only opportunity to learn. But the first known instance of getting children together on Sunday for religious instruction was by John Wesley in Savannah, Georgia.

So, although the Wesley brothers were in the colony for only a few months, it was a learning, growing, maturing experience which became part of the foundation upon which the Methodist movement was to be built.

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