Today was another very busy day with classes continuing. This second week has been much lighter in course load, but the strain of being into the 2nd week away from home makes it a little tougher. Most of the group has been much quieter this week in class discussions than last week. Today we touched on John Wesley again as we discussed one resource focused on John’s journaling. The second book discussed was similar but focused on Charles Wesley. This book was a much larger work – 2 volumes. I kind of felt bad for the guy that had to present that resource because the books were $50 a piece! He had to get both volumes and present them both in 20 minutes! So that was a big amount for a quick window of presentation. It really is an impressive work and gives us a real glimpse of the ministry and heart of Charles Wesley (someone we know mostly for his hymn writing but he was actually a fervent evangelist).
The last presentation this morning was on William Wilberforce. He was a British politician that wrestled with how God would use his life. At one point he thought about giving up politics and going into the pastorate. He sat down with John Newton who urged him to stay in politics – that’s where he could affect a great deal of social reform. Ultimately, his greatest reforming drive became the abolition of slavery. But this was no easy fight. He was contested again and again for 20 years before he finally was able to bring it to a vote successfully. While he was at one point chided for his stance against slavery, at the final vote that ended slavery in England, there was a standing recognition of Wilberforce’s work. What he had worked for most of his life to accomplish was now complete. In that one act, it is estimated that around 800,000 slaves were set free. It was a great presentation and I learned a great deal about his life.
Tomorrow we will be traveling to Savannah once again. This time we will be touring the “First African Baptist Church”. It is the longest continuous African Baptist church in America. It has connections all the way back to the Underground Railroad times. So we’ll tour that tomorrow and then be back here for one more day of classes.
Today we had to submit our formal thesis/dissertation proposal with proposed bibliography. That was a lot of work last night and today to pull together – and much earlier than I could have ever imagined. They really put the pressure on in this first seminar to get your ideas narrowed quickly so that you can get to work! So I have handed that in and I’m finished with that work!