Side 1: Reverends John & Charles Wesley
"About 3:30 in the afternoon I first set foot on St. Simons Island and immediately my spirits revived." Charles Wesley, March 9, 1736.
Ordained ministers of the Anglican Church, the Wesleys joined General James Oglethorpe, founder and first Governor of Georgia on his second trip to Georgia. John Wesley is remembered as the founder of Methodism. His brother Charles is remembered as a prolific poet and writer of over 6,000 hymns.
John Wesley was authorized by the Trustees of the Colony of Georgia to perform religious and ecclesiastical offices in the colony. Charles Wesley was to be secretary of Indian Affairs and to perform religious duties at Frederica.
Both had some bitter experiences and believed their ministry in Georgia was a failure. However, history has proved otherwise. Their work in Georgia is called the second rise of Methodism; the first being with the Holy Club in England.
The Wesley Memorial Garden is a place where people may experience the same revival of the spirit felt by Charles Wesley when he arrived on St. Simons Island and when John Wesley felt his heart strangely warmed during his Aldersgate experience in London on May 24, 1738.
Side 2: Wesley Memorial Garden
Dedicated to the Glory of God and in memory of the Reverends John and Charles Wesley
An unrealized dream of Alfred W. Jones Sr. of the Sea Island Company became a reality when this garden was established. In 1984, his son A. W. Jones Jr. proposed a generous gift of 20 acres of land to be divided equally between Christ Church Frederica (Episcopal) and the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church with the understanding that the two denominations come together to create a memorial honoring John and Charles Wesley, Anglican priests in Georgia and founders of Methodism.
Both denominations set aside one adjoining acre for the development of the Wesley Memorial Garden and established a foundation to build and maintain the garden in perpetuity. Henry D. Green, working with landscape architect, Candace Brewer, designed the Garden and managed its construction. The focal point of the azalea woods garden is the 18', 15 ton Celtic cross cut from granite in Elberton, Georgia.
Wesley United Methodist Church at Frederica was organized and erected their first unit on their remaining nine acres. The dedication of the Garden was held June 12, 1988, with the Reverend Thomas Fitzgerald, Rector of Christ Church Frederica, Bishop Frank Robertson, founding pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church at Frederica and Right Reverend Harry W. Shipps, Bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Georgia presiding.
Trustees from Christ Church Frederica and Wesley United Methodist Church at Frederica manage the trust to ensure the garden in perpetuity.