A literature that helps us to see the values which women had in the early Methodist movement.
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May She Have a Word with You?

Women as Models of How to Live in the Poems of Charles Wesley

Hi <<First Name>>,

Charles Wesley left a legacy of hymns that spiritually impacted Methodism and far beyond. But his two volumes of Funeral Hymns (1746 and 1759) are perhaps the least known of his poetic corpus. They are a treasury of his views on the importance of women in eighteenth-century England as examples of how to live the Christian life.

Entries in his MS Journal indicate an extremely positive relationship with women, who are his coequals in mission and in the Methodist societies; much of the work depended on them. Furthermore, Charles wrote numerous poems about women, often occasioned by death, which lift up individual women as models for the community at large, the church, and nation.

The intent of May She Have a Word With You is not to present a historical survey of these women or their place in the early Methodist movement. Instead, these pages help the reader discover a literature that illuminates the values which women had in the early Methodist movement, and how these values were acknowledged, recorded, fostered and encouraged by Charles Wesley, particularly in his poetry.

May She Have a Word with You suggests there is a need today to hear of these women’s exemplary words, deeds, and lives as a whole. Herein one may discover important models for a life of discipleship to Jesus today — for all of us.

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Praise for May She Have a Word with You?

“S T Kimbrough, Jr. has offered here a gift to all those who love the poetry and lyrics of Charles Wesley, as well as all who are hungry for evidence of the lives and impact of women in the church and wider English society in the eighteenthth century. Carefully gathered and meticulously analyzed, these texts celebrating the labor, witness, and spiritual leadership of these diverse women provide a rare glimpse of the nearly invisible history of women and the imprint their holiness left on those who were privileged to know them.”
Sondra Wheeler, Wesley Theological Seminary

“If every written prayer preserves a world, then this collection of Charles Wesley by S T Kimbrough presents a veritable constellation of Methodist women and their worlds of prayer. These poems are works of gratitude, grief, faith, and praise in honor of spiritual teachers of the early Methodist movement. Their names may be best known by historians of the Methodist movement, but readers will be able to hear these women's distinctive voices of faith again.”
Heather Murray Elkins, Drew Theological School

“Once again S T Kimbrough has gifted us with an instructive selection of Charles Wesley texts (poetry and prose), enriched by his thoughtful commentary. Readers will gain insights both into Wesley's appreciation for the ‘good death’ and his ideal of the virtuous Methodist woman (a ‘mother in Israel’).”
Randy L. Maddox, Duke Divinity School

About the Author

S. T. Kimbrough, Jr., holds a PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary and is currently a research fellow of the Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition at Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC. He is author of the following books by Wipf and Stock: The Lyrical Theology of Charles Wesley, Radical Grace: Justice for the Poor and Marginalized, Partakers of the Life Divine: Participation in the Divine Nature in the Writings of Charles Wesley, Why Should a Child Be Born? Poems for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, and has published poetry in the journal Theology Today.

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