One of the favorite places I ever visited on our road trips is St. Simons Island. If I won the lottery (which I don’t play) I would have a home there. It is not only beautiful with the old oak trees and Spanish moss, but full of history.
One of the attractions there is the Wesley Gardens. Named for John and Charles Wesley, founders of the Methodist movement, the garden is filled with native trees and plants and is a beautiful place to just sit and enjoy God’s creation.
The oak trees are so massive and beautiful.
There are over 4,000 azaleas in so many different colors.
In the middle of the garden is an 18-foot Celtic cross honoring the ministry of John and Charles Wesley.
Charles Wesley came to the colony of Georgia in 1736 where he served as secretary for Indian Affairs to Georgia’s founder, James Edward Oglethorpe. He was also the chaplain at Fort Frederica on the island. This fort was built to protect the colony from Spanish attacks from the south (what is now Florida). Charles’ work as minister at Frederica did not last very long. His very strict rules did not sit well with the colonists and he left after only a few months. His brother, John Wesley, served as missionary to the colony of Georgia from February 1736 to December 1737. He also returned to England discouraged about his work there.
However, both brothers went back to England and continued a successful ministry there. John established a movement that later grew into the Methodist Church. Charles was a prolific hymn composer, and many churches even today sing some of his hymns. Here is a list of some that I remember singing as a child.
- Christ the Lord is Risen Today
- Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
- Jesus, Lover of My Soul
- Oh for a Thousand Tongues to Sing