“John Wesley” Visits Tamaqua for Heritage Day/Summerfest

John Wesley

The Tamaqua United Methodist Churches celebrated Heritage Day on June 20, including (left to right) Janice Tomkinson (Rev. Cavallero’s fiancé), Rev. Jim Cavallero, and Rev. John Wesley as portrayed by Rev. Stuart Thody.

Reverend John Wesley rode the circuit to visit the Tamaqua United Methodist Churches to celebrate Heritage Day on Sunday, June 20.   Rev. Wesley, portrayed by Rev. Stuart Thody, was greeted by many church and community members dressed in their finest garb of days gone by, as part of the Annual Tamaqua Summerfest.

Rev. Wesley, founder of Methodism, was portrayed by Rev. Stuart Thody, a retired Elder of the New York Annual Conference.  Rev. Thody first began portraying John Wesley and his famous hymn-writing brother, Charles, when he was invited to appear in full period dress as John Wesley for the bicentennial of the New York Annual Conference in 1999.  Since then he has presented costumed dramatic performances at churches in three States.

Rev. Thody’s presentation is entitled, A Wonderful Heritage.  “The wonderful story of the remarkable Wesley family, the influence of their mother Susanna, the beginnings of the Evangelical Awakening, and the spread of Methodism around the world over the past 250 years is an exciting part of our unique heritage,” he said.  Rev. James Cavallero, pastor of First and Salem United Methodist Churches, also attired in period garb, assisted in officiating the church service.

Following the Heritage Day worship service, worshippers enjoyed a coffee and tea fellowship time graciously provided by the host church, Salem UMC.

Tamaqua Heritage Day

Rev. Stuart Thody was born and educated in Leicestershire, England, not far from Epworth, Lincolnshire and its famous Rectory, the home of the Wesley family. He came to the United States forty-five years ago at the invitation of former Philadelphia Area bishop, Fred Pierce Corson, during his five-year term as President of the World Methodist Council.

Pastor Thody served Methodist churches in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New York. He has preached in several Northeast District churches as John Wesley, complete with his 18th century garb featuring white wig, robe, stockings, and buckle shoes. He now resides in Effort, PA and welcomes invitations to preach at churches.  He can be reached at 570-629-6330 or skyhigh234@verizon.net.