‘Thomas Coke (1747-1814): From Brecon to the World’
3-16 May 2014
Thomas Coke was the minister appointed by John Wesley, along with Frances Asbury to superintend the Methodist movement in America, and who went on to play a pivotal role in organising Methodist missionary work around the world, dying on his final journey to undertake missionary work in Sri Lanka in May 1814.
On Saturday May 3rd. the 200th year celebrations commenced with a series of lectures putting Coke’s life into the context of the town of Brecon and then his legacy for American Methodism.
In the afternoon of May 3rd, the Cathedral was filled to capacity for a Gathering of Methodists from most of the Circuits in South Wales and beyond and folk from other denominations to celebrate Coke’s life and his contribution to Methodist Missionary work. Entitled ‘Thomas Coke – Looking back, Looking forward’ the lead speaker at the Gathering was The Reverend The Lord Leslie Griffiths of Burry Port. Contributions also came from, amongst others, Revd. Cathy Gale (Superintendent of the Gwent Hills and Vales Circuit) on Coke’s Mission to the West Indies, Revd. Jennie Hurd (Chair of Synod Cymru) on the Concern for the Welsh Speaker and Revd. Soba Sinnathamby (a former Minister in the Newport and Lower Wye Circuit) on Coke’s final journey to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon).
Those of us who were there found the Gathering afternoon extremely informative and well put together. It is hoped that Leslie Griffiths will be making available a transcript of his speech if anyone is interested.
On Sunday May 4th. there was an Ecumenical service of Holy Communion in the Cathedral at which the preacher was Bishop Thomas Bickerton of the Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church and in the afternoon, Glasbury Methodist Church at Cwmbach (the last remaining chapel of the old Brecon Circuit) hosted a buffet tea followed by a service at which the preacher was Revd. Cathy Gale.
From 3-16 May inclusive, Brecknock Museum will be open (ground floor only) every day 10am-4pm for the temporary exhibition ‘Thomas Coke (1747-1814): From Brecon to the World’. In addition to a wealth of illustrative material, it contains many memorable personal items that will never be seen in Brecon again, including his ‘writing slope’ (with inbuilt tea-caddy) that travelled the world with him, and his memorial ring.