Another highlight of the conference was the celebration of the 275th anniversary of Kingswood School, founded by John Wesley in 1748 to serve the children of poor miners in the region of Bath and Bristol. On the first day of the conference, Gary Best had provided a detailed historical presentation about the beginning of Methodist education and the role that John Wesley and Charles Wesley had envisioned for this school. He also mentioned that the Wesley brothers had actually started four schools and faced many difficulties, but in the end Kingswood School prevailed and continues to have a great impact.
On Saturday, April 29, conference participants were able to visit the school and be received by its Headmaster, Andre Gordon-Brown, who – together with students, staff, and teachers – provided a tour of the school, enable times of reflections and photos by the participants, and showed many important historical aspects of the almost tricentenary school.
The visit concluded with a special session on “Vision and Future for Methodist Schools,” in which Roger Walton, Inderjit Bhogal, Benjamin Turgano, Jamisse Taimo, and Barbara Easton presented their respective proposals for the future of Methodist schools, colleges, universities, and seminaries. Also here, the issue of diversity, solidarity, anti-colonialism, creation of sanctuary spaces for migrants, environmental awareness, and many other critical issues emerged very clearly, challenging participants to return to their respective institutions and “do all the good they can.”
In the afternoon, Kingswood School was the site of a special worship to celebrate their 275th anniversary of the institution.
In the evening, Kingswood School offered a special dinner to celebrate their 275th anniversary, hosting nearly 300 people. The Headmaster of Kingswood School, Andrew Gordon-Brown, had been an Olympic athlete, who competed in rowing and shared his experiences with the guests. He also introduced the keynote speaker, Sir Matthew Pinset, a gold medalist in four Olympic Games, who shared his experience in rowing, showed his gold medals, and entertained the audience by commenting on the efforts involving in training for and finally winning ten world championships, besides the Olympic Gold medals. In his talk, he shared with the audience what it takes to control the controllables, make sure the rudder is kept straight, and to focus on the main goal in order to cross the victory line. Many of the participants were excited about this experience and took many photos with the Olympic champion, understanding that his lessons were also applicable in the field of education.
For more information on the program, visit the conference website: 2023methodistschools.org.uk. To watch the conference sessions and special events, see https://2023methodistschools.org.uk/index.php/watch-the-conference/. For any questions, please contact the conference organization at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.