The Methodist congregation of Stanley and Thorp have a new pastor, and his name is Bill Beaton. Pastor Beaton, who will preach once a month at the church down on South Broadway in Stanley, hails from …
The Methodist congregation of Stanley and Thorp have a new pastor, and his name is Bill Beaton.
Pastor Beaton, who will preach once a month at the church down on South Broadway in Stanley, hails from North Carolina originally, where he says his life was changed forever by a prayer prayed under a magnolia tree almost four decades ago. Then becoming a Methodist preacher, Beaton preached his first sermon for Stanley at a September 12 service to mark 130 years of local presence, giving a slight background portrait.
“I grew up in a denomination where you had to earn grace,” he said without going into further specifics. In contrast to earned grace, Beaton said, was free grace, which Methodists are big on. Methodism as an organized tradition, meanwhile, hails from 18th-century England and the Wesley brothers, both sons of an Anglican pastor named Samuel Wesley.
Together with others, John and Charles Wesley started a prayer group at Oxford University, the strict routine of which earned them the name “Methodist.” Later coming to the American colonies on a church mission, John Wesley would return to England and have a conversion experience in London on Pentecost (also called ‘Whitsunday’), leading in time to a falling out with the Anglican Church establishment, and the official establishment of Methodism as a separate church organization before John Wesley’s death.
Going on in time to spread through open air preaching and circuit riding on the American frontier, Methodism would become a precursor to the Holiness movement with its emphasis on perfection. Back at the service September 12 to mark 130 years of local Methodist presence, meanwhile, Pastor Beaton went on regarding his background and hopes for the future of the Stanley and Thorp congregation.
“I believe we’re going to grow,” he said to those present earlier last month.