Thomas Coke (1747-1814)

 

From Brecon to the World

Thomas Coke was one of the founders of Methodism and a major contributor to the globalisation of the movement. Born in Brecon, is travelled widely and initiated the sending of missions to many countries.

Brecon in the 18th Century

When Coke was born, Brecon was one of the most important towns in Wales. It was on the route to Ireland and the final stop for the first regular coach service into Wales from London.

It held one of the four Welsh Courts of Great Sessions of a prominent market town and administrative centre. It was also an important social centre for the local gentry and landowners who built many fine houses in the town.

Early Life

Born close to St Mary’s Church in Brecon, where he  was baptised, Coke was the son of a well-to-do apothecary (early pharmacist), Bartholomew Coke, and his wife, Anne. He was educated at Christ College in Brecon and at Jesus College, Oxford and he graduated from University in 1768.

In 1775 he became a doctor of Civil Law. In Brecon he was deeply involved in town life, serving first as a councillor and then as the Bailiff in 1770.

Early Methodism

The Methodist movement began in the 18th century with the teachings of John Wesley, who believed in bringing faith back into people’s everyday lives and that salvation was available to all. He was a charismatic speaker and often preached in the open air. Methodism became popular amongst the working class, although members of all social classes at the time became involved.

Early Ministry

In 1771 Coke was ordained as a priest and became curated in the parish of South Petherton, in Somerset. He first met John Wesley in 1776 and later became an important assistant to him, beginning his lifelong commitment to the newly developing Methodist Church. On Easter Sunday in 1777, to the sound of church bells, Coke was driven from his parish because the local Rector disapproved of his Methodist ways.

Profile and Personality

At only 5’1”, Coke was a short man but he had a youthful appearance that stayed with him throughout his life. He was described as volatile and impulsive but also quick to admit when he was at fault, warm-hearted and honest. John Wesley said of Coke in 1788: ’I creep like Laos and the ground I get I keep; but the doctor (Coke) leaps like a flea and is sometimes obliged to leap back again.’

In America

In 1784, Coke was ordained Superintendent and sailed for the newly formed United States with orders to organise an independent American Methodist Church. In Baltimore, Coke met with Methodist preachers and ordained their chosen leader, Francis Asbury, as a fellow Superintendent; though they were both later styled ‘Bishop’ by the Americans, much to John Wesley’s displeasure.

Coke made nine journeys across the Atlantic Ocean, meeting with the President, George Washington, speaking out against slavery and addressing the US Congress.

Father of the Methodist Missions

In 1786, Coke landed on Antigua in the Caribbean. Impressed by the devotion and quiet endurance of the slaves he found there, he was inspired to organise and encourage Methodist missions throughout the West Indies and elsewhere.

The costs were high and Coke often financed them from his own pocket. His marriages, late in life, to Penelope Goulding Smith, from Bradford-on-Avon, in 1805, and Anne Loxdale, of Liverpool, in 1811, she died less than a year later, helped fund his work: both women were strong supporters of their husband’s ideals, before their untimely deaths.

Death and Commemoration

Coke made his final voyage in 1814, at the age of 67, leading a team of missionaries to the Indian sub-continent. On Tuesday May 3rd, he was found dead in his cabin and was buried at sea.

His loss was greatly felt by the Methodist Church and many memorials were created to commemorate his life’s achievements. In Brecon, a memorial chapel was built in 1835, to which a school was later added. Churches bearing his name can be found in the United States, Jamaica, Sri Lanka and even South Petherton, his first parish.

Methodism in the World Today

Since Coke’s day, Methodism has continued to spread across the globe and today claims over 70 million members.

Modern day Methodists, such as the late Nelson Mandela, continue Coke’s legacy of ’a life of faith in God lived in service to others.’

In December 2013, the Methodist Church of South Africa said: ’Mandela’s life demonstrated the finest characteristics of the Methodist faith: integrity tempered with graciousness; a strong ethic of industriousness; and honesty with reconciliation.’

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

PS For more information about Thomas Coke I would greatly recommend that you obtain a copy of the book by Cyril Davey entitled ‘Mad About Mission’

Thought for the Day

The glory of God is not that of a despotic tyrant, but the splendour of love before which we fall not in abject terror but lost in wonder, love and praise.

From the immortal pen of William Barclay

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Be Filled With The Spirit

Today’s Biblical Word Search created by my wife, Marlene, is entitled ‘Be Filled With The Spirit’.

To freely download this new word search please go to:-

http://christianwordsearches.net/Befilledwiththespirit.html

 

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

5 Tips for a Better Prayer Life

“As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34–35

I believe that faithful following of these five rules will revolutionize the life of any person.

1. Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
The person who is afraid cuts himself off from the flow of power, but when you venture boldly, there comes a flow of power in response.

2. Deny adverse conditions.
Don’t go around saying or thinking: “Conditions are against me.” Face facts, but realize that it often happens that a person is defeated not so much by the facts of a situation as by his negative interpretation of the facts. In every problem there is an inherent good. Believe that.

3. Picture good outcomes.
By envisioning good things, you actually bring good influences into play, both within yourself and in the world around you.

4. Pray for every person you meet with by name. 
Pray that he or she may benefit from the dealings you have with him or her.

5. Practice Christian love toward everybody.

(Taken from ‘Positive Living Day by Day’ by Norman Vincent Peale)

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

An Introduction to William Barclay

William Barclay was born on December 5th 1907 in Wick, Scotland, and passed away on January 24th 1978 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Barclay was a Church of Scotland Minister and a Professor of Divinity and Biblical criticism at the University of Glasgow.

He was very well known for the many radio and television programmes in which he participated.

He specialised in the New Testament and wrote numerous books containing easily understood commentaries on all the chapters within the New Testament.

And today, a large number of preachers regularly use his commentaries when preparing their sermons.

Here are just a few of his quotes:-

* Religion fails if it cannot speak to men as they are.

* A man may well be condemned, not for doing something but for doing nothing.

* The tragedy of life and of the world is not that men do not know God; the tragedy is that, knowing Him, they still insist on going their own way.

* Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.

* The word grace emphasizes at one and the same time the helpless poverty of man and the limitless kindness of God

* We will often find compensation if we think more of what life has given us and less about what life has taken away.

WISE words, indeed!

Have a wonderful day, wherever you are and whatever you may be doing.

With many blessings of loving abundance

Geoffrey

 

The Lord Said To Moses – Exodus 14: 1-31

And today’s Biblical Word Search, created by my wife, Marlene, is taken from Exodus 14: 1-31 (The Lord Said to Moses).

To freely download please visit:-

http://christianwordsearches.net/LordsaidtoMoses.html

Happy word searching

With many joyful blessings

Geoffrey

Two books about the Rev John Brown – freely available via Kindle

TWO Kindle Books now available to freely download:-

The Rev John Brown was born on the 23d December 1722 in the small village of Carpow, which is situated in the parish of Abernethy, in the county of Perthshire (Scotland).

As a child, living in impoverished conditions, John contented himself with learning as much about life as he could; he was especially drawn to the Bible, which was his great love and joy.

And his very limited time at school saw him only being able to learn elementary knowledge about reading, writing and arithmetic.

By the age of thirteen he was an orphan, living in poverty. He became a herd-boy, watching sheep to earn his living. However, he still had a deep interest in the things of God, and set out to educate himself in the original languages of the Bible.

And after completing all his studies, Brown was called to be the pastor in the town of Haddington.

He became a prolific author and one of his best known works is The Self-Interpreting Bible, which was published in two volumes in 1778.

I have produced two kindles books (see below) which are now available for you to freely download until Thursday, January 29th.
The Life and Times of the Rev John Brown:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Life-and-Times-of-the-Rev-John-Brown-Geoffrey-Keyte-ebook/dp/B00IG9BYO8

 

and

 

The Christian Art of the Rev John Brown:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Christian-Art-John-Brown-ebook/dp/B00G5KZU04
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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey