Definition of John Wesley from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


John Wesley

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(1703-91) the person mainly responsible for establishing the Methodist Church in Britain. He became a priest in the Church of England in 1725 and in 1729 joined a religious group started by his brother Charles Wesley in Oxford. People called the group 'Methodists' because of their fixed methods of praying and studying. They were known for the very personal and intense style of their preaching (= speaking about religion) during church services and for the highly emotional response of those who heard them. When the Church of England decided not to allow the Methodists to continue preaching in its churches, John Wesley spent the next 50 years travelling around Britain on a horse preaching to people, mostly outdoors. As a result, the number of people following his religious beliefs greatly increased. The Methodist Church remained part of the Church of England until after Wesley's death, when it became a separate Church following a disagreement with the Church of England.