GBOD Offers Wesleyan Pilgrimage in Nov. 2011

Date Posted: 3/23/2011

United Methodist clergy and lay leaders who want to be immersed in the practical theology and missional leadership practiced by John and Charles Wesley can take advantage of early registration discounts for a 10-day Wesleyan Pilgrimage in November.

Additionally, scholarships are available for provisional members who want to deepen their understanding of Wesleyan missional leadership during the Nov. 7-17 pilgrimage being sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

“We want to take a group of leaders to England to immerse them in the Wesleyan practices of missional leadership,” said Steven Manskar, Director of Wesleyan Leadership at GBOD and one of four leaders of the pilgrimage.

An early registration discount of $400 is available for everyone until April 29, and a discount of $200 will be available from April 30 through July 31. After Aug. 1, the cost will be $2,395, except for provisional members. GBHEM is making $1,000 scholarships available for provisional elders and deacons.

The registration fee includes 10 nights of lodging, all admission and lecture fees, but not transportation to England.
Local pastors, lay leaders, lay speakers and in particular, provisional members are the target audiences for the pilgrimage, with the goal of developing missional leaders for the church, Manskar said.

The pilgrims will learn and pray where the Wesleys prayed and served, reflect, pray and make new friends in small groups, daily worship and make connections between the Wesleyan heritage and missional leadership for today.

Missional leaders help congregations focus on God’s mission in the world rather than on themselves, Manskar said.

“Some congregations are church-centered and their mission is their own survival or self-preservation,” he said. “In missional leadership, the focus is outward to equip the people in the congregation to be missionaries in the world, to be witnesses for Jesus Christ in the world,” Manskar said.

Up to 20 women and men who are commissioned for ordination as elders and deacons will receive financial assistance provided by GBHEM.

“We believe provisional members need to be familiar with the whole Wesley concept of ministry and with what makes us distinctively Methodist in that tradition,” said Anita Wood, Director of Professional Ministry Development at GBHEM.

The pilgrims will stay six nights at Sarum College, an ecumenical school of theological training in Salisbury. They will explore Epworth, the Wesleys’ birthplace; Oxford, where John and Charles Wesley received theological education and led the Holy Club; Bristol, the home of the Methodist societies and class meeting; London, where both Wesley brothers experienced assurance of salvation and John Wesley built the center of British Methodism, and Salisbury, home to a vital Methodist congregation once served by Francis Asbury.

 “For those who attended last year, it was almost like history came alive for them by going to those places and hearing again the stories and knowing the impact that Wesley had on the British society at that time,” said Wood, who worked closely with provisional members during the 2010 pilgrimage. “I think that sometimes we have not gained an understanding of how mission-oriented Wesley was going outside of the church, not just preaching in the open air, but ministering to those in need and visiting in the prisons. It was like a renewal of a commitment to many of the provisionary members. Some of them called it ‘life-changing.’ ”

In addition to Manskar and Wood, the 2011 pilgrimage will be led by Dr. Paul W. Chilcote, Professor of Historical Theology and Wesleyan Studies at Ashland Theological Seminary and President of the Charles Wesley Society, and Dr. Tim Macquiban, British Methodist Wesley scholar and minister of Wesley Methodist Church in Cambridge, England.

Registration must be completed no later than Sept. 7. For a registration form or more information, go to For questions, contact Manskar at GBOD by phone toll free at (877) 899-2780, ext. 1765, or by e-mail at