Junior church member Ella Carter, aged 12, writes about the life of Susanna Wesley ...
Susanna was born in 1669. She was the 25th child, of Dr Samuel Annesley and Mary White, meaning that she had 24 siblings! She attended her father’s church until she was 13, then she joined the official Church of England. At the age of 19 she married Samuel Wesley and they had 19 children with 11 surviving beyond infancy.
Mother of Methodism ...
Despite Susanna not writing any books on Methodism, or ever preaching a sermon, she has been called ‘the Mother of Methodism’. Why? Because it was two of her sons who founded Methodism - John and Charles Wesley.
Susanna is rather inspirational because she educated all her children and led a different life, for that period of time. For example, her girls were educated as well as the boys. She taught all of her children the Lord’s Prayer, as soon as they could talk. Her life wasn’t without hardship, she survived two fires at her house - one where John nearly died - and her husband was sent to prison twice. But Susanna continued to look after her children and she always prioritised her faith.
It is believed that it was Susanna who mostly influenced John and Charles Wesley. She led a methodical and devout life, was highly disciplined, organised and charitable, all of which were to become the hallmarks of ‘Methodism’.
Relationship with God ...
Susanna took her relationship with God as seriously as she did her duties as a wife and mother. Early in her life, she vowed that she would never spend more time having fun or in leisure, than she would in prayer and study. Daily, Susanna scheduled two hours for fellowship with God. This was challenging in a house overflowing with children.
She would sit every day on her special chair, with a blanket over her head, praying and reading her Bible. The blanket over her head acted like a tent and was a sign to her children not to disturb her!
Susanna, while highly esteemed, is not without controversy. Some of her parenting techniques could certainly be questioned today. She ran a very tight schedule, times were assigned for sleep, education, meals and bedtime. The children were given nothing that they cried for and had to speak ‘handsomely’. She would smack the children if they disobeyed her, although she did allow the children to confess their sins and if they promised to make amendments they would not be punished.
Susanna Wesley is still admired today, and thought of as inspirational! This year marks the 350th Anniversary of Susanna’s birth. So we’re celebrating her life!
Written by the Minister & Members