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     Whitefield, George (16th December 1714-30th September 1770)

    He was a minister, evangelist and founder of Methodism born at the Bell Inn, Gloucester, England.  He studied at the Crypt School in Gloucester and entered Pembroke College, Oxford, at the lowest rank of servitor because he came from a poor background.  At Oxford he would serve some of the high ranked students to earn free tuition.  He became a member of the "Holy Club" there with Charles and John Wesley and after preaching the new faith he had discovered the Bishop of Gloucester ordained him at an earlier time than would be deemed usual.  Initially starting out as a preacher at the Crypt Church in Gloucester he moved to Savannah, Georgia, in 1738 for a year to become a parish priest.  After a disagreement with John Wesley they parted company and he concentrated more on the Calvanistic style of Methodism.  Three churches were named after him in England, two in London and one in Bristol and there would later be Whitefield's Tabernacle, also in London.  Travelling back to Georgia he preached several revivals and in 1738 he established the Bethesda Orphanage, which still stands today.  In 1749 he spent several months preaching Calvanism daily to huge crowds in America after having returned there from England very quickly after his 1738 visit.   Benjamin Franklin was known to have attended one of his revivals and was so impressed that he became his publisher and friend.  He rarely read from prepared notes but it is known that he suffered from strabismus, which caused him to be cross-eyed, and his style of preaching is now said to have helped the way that sermons are now delivered.  Very highly thought of in many areas of the world, he visited America many times where it has been said that he was one of the most publicly recognised figures before George Washington and is buried in Massachusetts, visited Scotland 15 times, Ireland twice, and was also heard in The Netherlands, Bermuda and Gibraltar.  Not recognised as a hymn-writer or author it is known that he re-wrote Charles Wesley's "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing".  He died near Boston, Massachusetts, in 1770 when he was 55 years old.

     

    Hark! The Herald Angels Sing recordings

    Black Dyke Mills Band

    Chandos 4541 (CD: A Christmas Fantasy)

     

    Boston Pops

    Philips 416 287 - 2 (CD:  We Wish You a Merry Christmas)

    Conductor - John Williams 

     

    DG 419 414-2 (CD: White Christmas)

    Conductor - Arthur Fiedler

     

    RCA 09026-61685-2 (CD: Pops Christmas Party)

    Conductor - Arthur Fiedler

     

    Sony SK 48232 (CD: Joy to the World)

    Conductor - John Williams

    Tanglewood Festival Chorus 

     

    Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra

    Naxos 8.990005 (CD: Joy to the World)

    Conductor - Richard Hayman 

     

    Rochester Pops Orchestra 

    Koch CHD 1531 (CD: Joy to the World - Carols for Orchestra and Chorus)

     

    St Louis Philharmonic Orchestra

    Sonari records - 7 55724 00272 3 (CD: Christmas with the Philharmonic)

    Conductor - Robert Hart Baker

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.visit-gloucestershire.co.uk/gloucester/geow.htm
    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Whitefield
    3. http://www.believersweb.org/view.cfm?ID=94

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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