Barratt’s Chapel to hold presentation on founding of Methodist church in Delaware

Terry RogersCulture, Headlines, Milford Headline Story

Barrett’s Chapel (Photo courtesy of Barratt’s Chapel)

Please join us at Barratt’s Chapel, an officially designated Heritage Landmark of the United Methodist Church, on March 16, 2024 at 10am as we welcome David Worthington, Director of Global Relationships of John Wesley’s New Room in Bristol, England.

Worthington’s presentation, titled “Methodism Comes to America: The Bristol Connection” will highlight John Wesley, founder of Methodism’s, arrival in Bristol in 1739. Wesley subsequently established the template for the Methodist movement which spread across England before coming to America.

In 1780, Phillip Barratt donated land to construct a “brick preaching house” across the road from his home, according to the Delaware State Archives. Barratt, who had recently converted to Methodism, wanted to construct a center for the growing congregation in Delaware. The oldest surviving church building in the United States built for and by Methodists, Barratt’s Chapel is also known as the “Cradle of Methodism” because of events that occurred in 1784.

Wesley sent Francis Asbury, James Dempster and several other Methodist preachers to the colonies, including Delaware. When the Revolutionary War broke out, Dempster left the area and moved to upstate New York while Asbury remained.

Wesley sent Thomas Coke to Delaware, instructing him to find Asbury and prepare a plan for Methodism in America. Coke was speaking from the pulpit on November 14, 1784 when Asbury arrived. Coke stepped down from the pulpit to embrace Asbury and a star on the floor of the chapel commemorates this meeting.

The Chapel, as it appears from the outside today, looks very much the way it did when Coke and Asbury met there. The inside of the Chapel has undergone several renovations. The present appearance dates from 1842.

Worthington will provide details on the historic impact of this meeting and how it still affects Methodism today.

“If you want to understand our Methodist DNA, what happened in Bristol runs all the way through it,” Worthington explains.

The Museum of Methodism, adjacent to the Chapel, will be available after the presentation.

Barratt’s Chapel and the Museum of Methodism are open to the public for tours and research on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visits at other times can be arranged by contacting the Chapel office. Groups wishing to schedule tours are asked to contact the office ahead of their visit. Also, people planning to do research will find that they can make the best use of their visit if they first contact the museum staff.

Barratt’s Chapel is located at 6362 Bay Road, Frederica. For more information, contact Barb Duffin at [email protected] or call 302-2335-5544.

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