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July 11, 2002

Subject: England Trip - Letter #4
Thursday, July 11, 2002
Dear Friends,
What a great day! I had no subway anomalies today.
This morning at the Wesley Chapel and John Wesley house, I spend some great time with Mr.Micahel Bendle, a history steward, as they call him. He is a volunteer there for the past 13 years and has catalogued their archives of Methodism they have there. He took me into to "secret" not publically available archive rooms, both in the Wesley house. He has mad available hundreds of publications, virtually all long out of print of old hymnbooks and articles about the Wesley brothers. In particular he has 20-30 items specifically by or about Charles. He had two old copies of transcriptions from his personal journals. They are a treasure all at my disposal next week for research.
Today I completed a first draft of a musical setting of Psalm 16:5-11 the Psalm for Lent 2, year B. I have composed several double chants and pointed it so that a choir could sing it SATB unaccompanied, if they have great courage. I also obtained a lot information at Charles and Susanna's home in Bristol. There is a possibility that I might go there next Monday for a check-out of what is there. Details are not certain at this point.
After my morning at the Wesley Chapel tomorrow, I will leave London from the Waterloo station and take the train to Bournemouth where John Birch and his wife will pick me up for the weekend. John is my friend who is from Capetown and has composed many choral and organ pieces, one of which he dedicated to me and our choir at St. Gabriels. We have developed a friendship via email since he first contacted me several years ago about his music ministry there. We have never met in person. They have been so gracious to invite me to their home in Ringwood - about a two hour train ride southwest from London. We look forward to an exciting time getting to know each other better. I am certain that there willb be no idle moments there.
Meanwhile, this afternoon I went to 25 Brook Street. This is the location of the Handel house museum. I spend several hours there. Handel (1685-1759) lived there the last 39 years of his life (1723-1759). I stood in the room in which he died. They have replicated a bed that was as his was described and also placed a little period furniture there. Handel never married and passed the bulk of his estate, which was significant, to his beloved niece. He apparently loved his sister's family very much and admired his brother-in-law a great deal.
There is no know evidence that he and Charles Wesley ever met. However, it is likely. They were both in London during the same time period and both prominent musicians in the area. George F. wrote tunes for three of Charles Wesley's hymns. He remained a German citizen until being naturalized a British citizen in 1727. Because he could not as a foreigner own property, he could not buy the new home he moved into in 1723 and apparently it was not available for sale. He just renewed the annual lease in the amount of 50 pounds sterling. It was in these quarters that he wrote Messiah and countless other works during the last 39 years ofhis life. For many years he organized and led an annual Messiah performance for the benefit of a nearby orphans home which he actively supported with his money. Apparently, from what I have read, he was an truly spiritual Christian and saw his work as something that was a calling from God to do. I was also surprised to learn that a friend, Mr. Charles Jennens at Gopsall supplied the texts for much of Handel's music, including Messiah, which of course, was selection of holy scripture that was assembled to presnet the entire gospel story of the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I am off to dinner now and probably then to a local piano concert at a nearby parish church - St. Mary's Abbot Parish just down the street. Ayoung pianist will be performing Bach, Beethoven and other assorted golden oldies.
Love to all of you this Thursday evening,
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