BBC Radio 4
Tuesday 2nd September
9am, repeated 9.30pm, presumably on iPlayer.
Series 6 Episode 2 of 4
Duration: 28 minutes
First broadcast: Tuesday 02 September 2014
They've lost a third of their members in the last decade – Quentin Letts asks whether the Methodists in Britain have a future.
In the nineteenth century the Methodists were a religious and social force in the land; shaking up a complacent Church of England, preaching in the open air and singing from the rafters, organising the masses into trade unions and laying the foundations of the modern labour party. Today, if current trends are anything to go by, they are heading for extinction.
Why has this happened? Have the Methodists lost their radical edge, sold out by watering down their attitudes to alcohol? Are they victims of their own success – do we now all take for granted the values equality and social justice which they communicated? Is their singing not what it used to be? What's the point of the Methodists?