A Turning Point: Celebrating 65 Years of Wesleyan Church Presence in the UK
“Rejoice with those who rejoice.” Romans 12:15
What a blessing it is to be a part of the global church, the kingdom of God. And with that blessing comes the opportunity for us to come alongside our brothers and sisters in mourning and rejoicing. For this occasion, I ask you to rejoice with our brothers and sisters in the United Kingdom, where God is working through the local church.
In June, the Wesleyan Holiness Church celebrated 65 years of its church presence in the U.K. What started with a group of Caribbean immigrants gathering in an attic to worship and fellowship has become 13 churches working together to minister to the British Isles.
After the Second World War, there was an influx of Caribbean immigrants who came to the U.K. to help rebuild the country from devastation and create better lives for themselves. This later became known as the Windrush generation. During this time, many of them felt like outsiders as they faced racism and prejudice.
Once the church started, there were more ways for the Windrush generation to connect socially and spiritually, but God had a lot more in store than just connection.
Rev. David Whyte, the district superintendent of the Wesleyan Holiness Church U.K., says, “The church realized that Britain was perhaps in a bit of a moral decay and the church was being stagnant. It was almost like a revival broke out during that period when people from the Caribbean came with a different type of worshiping, a different way of gathering.”
Since then, the church has grown and established buildings where they can gather and worship. They have focused on training ministers in theology and serving as mentors for the next generations, which are being born into life in the U.K., away from the Caribbean. With this fast-growing church, it can be a challenge not to grow too comfortable and become stuck in the past.
This summer, as they celebrated 65 years, the church cast their vision plan called “A Turning Point;” acknowledging the shifting landscape of their ministry and committing to take risks in creating kingdom change in the U.K. The vision stems from Isaiah 30:21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”
When reading this passage and praying for guidance on what the church’s focus should be, David reflected on Israel.
“It was almost like a reminder, ‘You know what you are meant to do; you know this is the journey, but you’ve got to make a choice which way you are going to go. Providing your eyes are fixed on me. I will lead you just follow,’” he said. “So the ‘turning point’ is really looking at how we follow God’s direct leading.”
It has been a few months since the celebration and vision has been cast, and the church is still excited about what God is doing. As the church in the U.K. is growing, changing and stepping into what God has for them in this season, we need to come alongside our brothers and sisters in celebration and prayer.
I urge you to pray for courage to step out in faith as this new plan has been set. Please pray for leaders and precise ways to develop and grow them. Pray that the church will trust God with their limited resources.
Finally, pray that God would continue to give them excitement and joy for this season of the church, and that those feelings would strengthen with time.
God is doing great things in the U.K.! Rejoice!
To view the celebration, visit gponline.org/turning-point