In his journal, May 24, 1738, Mr. Wesley writes, “In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle of Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me, that He had taken away sins, even mine, and saved from the law of sin and death.” 8
The next day, May 25, he writes, “The moment I awakened ‘Jesus, Master,’ was in my heart and in my mouth; and I found, all my strength lay in keeping my eye fixed upon Him, and my soul waiting on Him continually.” 9
On January 1, 1739, he records, “Mr. Hall, Kinchin, Ingham, Whitefield, Hutchins, and my brother Charles, were present at our love feast in Fetter-Lane, with about sixty of our brethren. About three in the morning, as we were continuing instant in prayer, the power of God came mightily upon us, insomuch that many cried out for exceeding joy, and many fell to the ground. As soon as we recovered a little from that awe and amazement at the presence of his Majesty, we broke out with one voice, “We praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.” 10
“1738 marked the turning point in John Wesley’s life. One Wednesday in May, at a society meeting on Aldersgate Street in London, a flame was lit which was to sweep the entire nation.” 11
The Aldersgate conference, as well as the organization, is rooted in the experience, tradition, heritage and theology of the Wesley’s.
Over the years, the Aldersgate conference has become a reunion for Spirit-filled United Methodists from all across the country. And, it is a constant reminder to the denomination of its need for the presence and power of God’s Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. Aldersgate is one of the largest voluntary gatherings of United Methodists in North America. Aldersgate is a “connecting place” for Spirit-filled United Methodists who feel called to stay and pray and work for renewal of the UMC, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The event, bathed in prayer, is characterized by its joyful praise and worship, powerful preaching and ministry, and anointed teaching, particularly related to the person and work of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and his role in building up the church, the body of Christ.
In 1980, ARM opened an office in the United Methodist Center in Nashville and Whetstone became its first full time Executive Director. He retired from the position at the Aldersgate ’89 conference in Little Rock, Arkansas.
In 1982, Sally and I attended our first Aldersgate Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. The pastor and staff at the Bedford Church believed that part of its call and mission as a UMC congregation, was to reach out in any way possible to help renew the denomination. They felt that “the UMC was part of their Samaria.” It seemed obvious that the group for them to be connected to, and in partnership with, was ARM. We went to Aldersgate with a clear objective to “get the church and the ARM connected.”
Like so many others who attend an Aldersgate Conference, we discovered that it was possible to be a born again, Spirit-filled Christian and remain a United Methodist. We felt at home, refreshed, encouraged, and were filled with new hope for the people called Methodists. In was at Aldersgate ‘82, in Des Moines, Iowa, that God began calling us to pray and work for
Aldersgate Renewal Ministries: History and Impact - Page 7
Copyright © 2005, Gary L. Moore and Aldersgate Renewal Ministries. All rights reserved.