October 19, 2023
Dear Hyde Park Family,
Near the start of my ministry 25 years ago, I attended a clergy gathering at the Life Enrichment Center in Leesburg, Florida. The featured speaker was Dr. Paul Chilcote, a professor of Wesley Studies.
In that lecture, he spoke about John Wesley’s two conversion experiences. It was an intriguing premise. I had known about his first conversion, the fabled moment on Aldersgate Street in which he felt his heart “strangely warmed” after hearing Martin Luther’s preface to the book of Romans. In that moment, Dr. Chilcote said Wesley gained a “passion for the truth,” in which he received assurance for his salvation.
But then Chilcote said there was a second conversion for John Wesley. It occurred as he took to the streets, the open fields, the coal mines, all throughout England, preaching good news. Along the way, Wesley experienced up close the real needs of those who were hurting and suffering: the poor, the sick, the undereducated, the incarcerated. It was in this time that Wesley developed a “compassion for people.”
Chilcote said that both of these ideas – a passion for the truth and a compassion for people – gave Wesley a stereoscopic, multidimensional view of the power of the gospel. Not just to get people into heaven after they die, but to care for their wholeness and wellbeing during their time on earth.
Wesley’s two-fold conversion continues to be at the heart of what it means to be the United Methodist Church today. And it is why our denomination is so committed to not just preaching the gospel, but also to local and global missions efforts, from schools to clinics, from recovery centers to disaster relief, from peacebuilding to health and wellness efforts around the world.
MISSIONS CELEBRATION SUNDAY
So, I can think of few better people to be our guest preacher for this week’s Missions Celebration Sunday than Dr. Paul Chilcote. He continues to offer profound insights into our Wesleyan heritage and practice, especially during this time of renewal within the continuing United Methodist Church.
You will certainly want to join us this Sunday, either in person or online, as we recognize and pray for all our missions partners. We will also have available two of his latest books, Multiplying Love and Active Faith, which he will be available to sign after each service.
This Sunday will be one of great joy and celebration, and I am thrilled to have you hear from one of our most inspiring and compelling United Methodist voices today.
See you Sunday!
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist