The work of care begins
In March, a small group of Wesleyans, motivated by faith and hope, meet in the Rocks in Sydney for the first Methodist meeting in Australia. These lay pioneers of Methodism are Edward Eagar, a lawyer and converted convict and two schoolmasters, Thomas Bowden and John Hosking. Bowden and Hosking were later to found a Methodist society in Sydney.
Advocating for justice Edward Eagar
Edward Eagar receives a conditional pardon from Governor Macquarie, going on to become one of the leading advocates for the emancipist cause in Australia. He receives a full pardon in 1818 and is instrumental in bringing about constitutional reform in New South Wales including the validation of pardons, trial by jury and recognition of ex-convicts’ rights.
Faith in action
The founding fathers of Methodism in Australia are instrumental in setting up the Philanthropic Society, the Sunday School Institution and the Bible Society to care for the sick, poor and marginalised, to educate and to spread the word of God in the colony. These are the roots of the work of Wesley Mission today.
A big job ahead
Following a petition from Sydney to the British Methodist Conference asking for a Minister, the Rev Samuel Leigh from the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society arrives in Sydney in August. Grounded in faith and evangelism, but with little in the way of resources, he preaches every Sunday in a rented house to a congregation of soldiers, convicts and free settlers.