A note ordaining Thomas Owens for the office as Deacon, 19th century
A facsimile copy of a note written by John Wesley in 1788 ordaining Thomas Owens for the office of Deacon in the Methodist Church. The note is an important document, in that it helps chart the separation of Methodism from the Anglican Church in the 1780s.
A few years earlier in 1784, in a controversial move, John Wesley ordained Englishman Thomas Coke as Wesley's American superintendent. As an Anglican clergyman, Wesley was not entitled to do so. Only Bishops could ordain. Wesley's ordinations signalled a very public split from the established Church in Britain. They also led to controversy among Methodists, including John Wesley and his brother Charles, who was horrified by John's actions.
See also Charles Wesley's ditty on the occasion of Thomas Coke's controversial ordination of Asbury in the Online Collection.