Local Preachers have been a characteristic of Methodism from its beginnings as a revival movement. John Wesley tried to avoid a schism with the Church of England, and encouraged those who attended his revival meetings to attend their parish churches, but they also attended Methodist preaching services which were held elsewhere. It quickly became necessary to build "preaching houses" where the Methodist meetings could be held. One such preaching house was The Foundery, which served as Wesley's headquarters in London. In about 1740, Wesley was away on business and had left a young man, Thomas Maxfield, in charge of The Foundery. Since no clergymen were available, Maxfield took it upon himself to preach to the congregation. Wesley was annoyed by this and returned to London in order to confront Maxfield. However, his mother, Susanna Wesley, intervened and persuaded him to hear Maxfield out, suggesting that he had as much right to preach as Wesley. Wesley was sufficiently impressed by Maxfield's preaching to see it as God's work and began to encourage others to respond to God’s Call to preach as lay people. So today we celebrate Local Preaching and Local Preachers, we thank God for this Calling, and we encourage all who have responded to it, and those who are hearing that Call today. Every Sunday blessing. Sam