Rawcliffe Street Methodist Church - Newspaper Article

Publication: Fleetwood Chronicle and Fylde Advertiser

Date: Friday March 23 1900

Title: The Wesley Guild Movement: Main Meeting at Blackpool

The Methodist Church today owes a good deal of its strength to the work that has been accomplished amongst the rising generation through the medium of the Wesley Guilds. On Tuesday, united gatherings of the Blackpool Guilds took place in the Rawcliffe Street Wesleyan Church, the object being to bring still more prominently before the members the objects at which the Guilds should aim.

A united service held in the afternoon opened the proceedings, this being conducted by the Rev. W. R. Fitzgerald, of Leeds, assisted by the Rev. J. Dunk (pastor). The preacher took for his text: ‘Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out’. From this text, Mr Fitzgerald drew many lessons upon a Christian as a pillar – a source of strength, beauty, and prominence in the church.

In the evening, a largely attended public meeting was held in the chapel, representatives of Wesley Guilds being present from all parts of the circuit. Mr K. R. Lightwood B.A. of Lytham, presided, and was supported by the Revs. W. B. Fitzgerald, T. Hind (superintendent minister), J. Dunk, J. P. Hodgson, and Messrs. T. Hartley, W. Kenyon, Cryer, and others.

The Chairman said that the problem of every age had been how to gain the ear of youth, and it was important at such gatherings to declare where they were going to gain their inspiration. He need not labour the question by assuring them that unless they had faith in a living person, their hope, the promise of joy, liberty, and beauty were of no avail. They should, therefore, make sure of a living personal faith in a live person, and the longer they studied the Bible the more they would discover in the Lord Jesus Him whom they longed most to know.

The Rev. T. Hind congratulated the Rev. J. Dunk and the audience upon the success of the gathering, and said that he hoped the Wesley Guilds would do a great deal in equipping the young men and women with knowledge and culture which would make them fit for the work to which God’s Providence had called them.

The Rev. W. R. Fitzgerald then delivered a forcible address, in which he brought out very vividly the aims and principles of the Wesley Guild and the magnificent opportunity which it afforded the young Methodists of today. There never was a time in the history of their church when they had so many young people in their congregations. There was no other church in the land which had such a strong hold upon the youth as their own. The Guild gave these young people an opportunity for a realisation of worldwide comradeship. Their aim had been to combine together all young Methodists all over the world in a mighty crusade of Christian service, and that they were accomplishing was proved by the fact that, since the Guild’s constitution three years ago, they had opened more than 1,000 branches and enrolled more than 70,000 members in the British Isles alone. The Guild had already gone over the seas and had taken root in several parts of the British Empire. So that it was having its effect not simply in English, but in Imperial Methodism.

Whilst touching upon the various directions in which the Guild’s work was effectual, Mr Fitzgerald said that it afforded an opportunity for mental culture. It was so easy nowadays to do no independent thinking. One could so easily get ready made thought which, like ready made clothes, were cheap and nasty. It was nothing less than intellectual mince-meat. He warned them against forming opinions after reading tit-bits from newspapers and appealed for more intellectual reading, although he preferred the tit-bits to the ‘penny dreadfuls’. He appealed to the members to act in concert, and trusted that the Guilds at Blackpool would during the next twelve months have a magnificent record of service.

The Rev. J. Dunk thanked the Chairman and the Rev. W. B. Fitzgerald for their presence and expressed his gratitude to all who had assisted in making the gathering such a success.

1900 newspaper cutting about a meeting of the Wesley Guild Movement at Rawcliffe Street Methodist Church
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