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John Wesley

John Wesley was an English cleric and evangelist, a leader of a revival movement within the Church of England known as Methodism. The societies he founded became the dominant form of the independent Methodist movement that continues to this day. Educated at Charterhouse and Christ Church, Wesley was elected a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford in 1726 and ordained as an Anglican priest two years later, he led the "Holy Club", a society formed for the purpose of study and the pursuit of a devout Christian life. After an unsuccessful ministry of two years at Savannah in the Georgia Colony, Wesley returned to London and joined a religious society led by Moravian Christians. On 24 May 1738 he experienced what has come to be called his evangelical conversion, when he felt his "heart strangely warmed", he subsequently left the Moravians. A key step in the development of Wesley's ministry was, like Whitefield, to travel and preach outdoors. In contrast to Whitefield's Calvinism, Wesley embraced Arminian doctrines.

Moving across Great Britain and Ireland, he helped form and organise small Christian groups that developed intensive and personal accountability and religious instruction. Under Wesley's direction, Methodists became leaders in many social issues of the day, including prison reform and the abolition of slavery. Although he was not a systematic theologian, Wesley argued for the notion of Christian perfection and against Calvinism—and, in particular, against its doctrine of predestination, he held that, in this life, Christians could achieve a state where the love of God "reigned supreme in their hearts", giving them not only outward but inward holiness. His evangelicalism grounded in sacramental theology, maintained that means of grace sometimes had a role in sanctification of the believer, however he taught that it was by faith a believer was transformed into the likeness of Christ, the good works are the evidence that a person has been so, he encouraged people to experience Jesus Christ in the "more excellent way" of "Christian perfection".

Wesley's teachings, collectively known as Wesleyan theology, continue to underpin the doctrine of the Methodist churches. Throughout his life, Wesley remained within the established Church of England, insisting that the Methodist movement lay well within its tradition. In his early ministry, Wesley was barred from preaching in many parish churches and the Methodists were persecuted. John Wesley was born in 1703 in Epworth, 23 miles north-west of Lincoln, as the fifteenth child of Samuel Wesley and his wife Susanna Wesley. Samuel Wesley was a graduate of the University of Oxford and a poet who, from 1696, was rector of Epworth, he married Susanna, the twenty-fifth child of Samuel Annesley, a dissenting minister, in 1689. She bore nineteen children, of which nine lived beyond infancy, she and Samuel Wesley had become members of the Church of England as young adults. As in many families at the time, Wesley's parents gave their children their early education; each child, including the girls, was taught to read as soon as they could talk.

They were expected to become proficient in Latin and Greek and to have learned major portions of the New Testament by heart. Susanna Wesley examined each child before evening prayers; the children were not allowed to eat between meals and were interviewed singly by their mother one evening each week for the purpose of intensive spiritual instruction. In 1714, at age 11, Wesley was sent to the Charterhouse School in London, where he lived the studious, methodical and, for a while, religious life in which he had been trained at home. Apart from his disciplined upbringing, a rectory fire which occurred on 9 February 1709, when Wesley was five years old, left an indelible impression; some time after 11:00 pm, the rectory roof caught on fire. Sparks falling on the children's beds and cries of "fire" from the street roused the Wesleys who managed to shepherd all their children out of the house except for John, left stranded on an upper floor. With stairs aflame and the roof about to collapse, Wesley was lifted out of a window by a parishioner standing on another man's shoulders.

Wesley used the phrase, "a brand plucked out of the fire", quoting Zechariah 3:2, to describe the incident. This childhood deliverance subsequently became part of the Wesley legend, attesting to his special destiny and extraordinary work. In June 1720, Wesley entered Christ Church, graduating four years later, he was ordained a deacon on 25 September 1725 — holy orders being a necessary step toward becoming a fellow and tutor at the university. In the year of his ordination he read Thomas à Kempis and Jeremy Taylor, showed his interest in mysticism, began to seek the religious truths which underlay the great revival of the 18th century; the reading of William Law's Christian Perfection and A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life gave him, he said, a more sublime view of the law of God. He pursued a rigidly methodical and abstemious life, studied the Scriptures, performed his religious duties diligently, depriving himself so that he would have alms to give, he began to seek after holiness of life.

In March 1726, Wesley was unanim

Joseph Ryelandt

Joseph Ryelandt was a Belgian classical composer. He is known for sacred vocal music, including several masses. Joseph Victor Marie Ryelandt was born in Bruges, into a wealthy bourgeois family, for whom culture and the Roman Catholic religion mattered. So did music, which the family practiced a lot. From his childhood on he had lessons in music, which he studied assiduously, up to 2½ hours per day; as an adolescent he realized that his real destiny was music. But at the insistence of his mother, he first went to college, to study philosophy and law—his father, who had died when Joseph was only seven, had been a lawyer. While at university, however, he continued his musical activities, including composition, although he had had only a few lessons in harmony, he persuaded his mother to let him show some of his compositions to Edgar Tinel, at the time one of Belgium’s most esteemed musicians. Tinel had never taken on private students, “but,” he wrote, “I let myself be conquered because this young man will one day be someone.

He played me a sonata of his. I was stupified, he is someone, but he has never studied. This fellow has written sonatas, variations, duos …” His mother relented, from 1891 to 1895 Joseph studied with Tinel. After his study with Tinel, he was able to devote himself to composing, being of independent financial means; the years between 1895 and 1924 were his most productive. World War I badly affected his financial situation, he had a family to take care of, for in 1899 he had married Marguerite Carton de Wiart, the children had come thick and fast, eight in all, he felt compelled to find a position, in 1924 he was appointed director of the Municipal Conservatory of Bruges, a function that came with a teaching load. He assumed it with some reluctance, but he discovered that he enjoyed teaching “regret that I didn’t enter the teaching profession until I was 54.” He kept on composing, albeit at a slower rate. He ceased composing oratorios, which he considered his major works, but, at least as much due to the death of Charles Martens, his librettist as well as his Maecenas, the tireless propagandist of his music and above all his friend, whose name he never mentioned without preceding it with “my good friend” or similar expression.

His life was busy: he took on a counterpoint course at the Ghent Conservatory, he organized a successful concert series in his own conservatory, he was involved in the organization of the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition, etc. Many honors came his way, he was asked to compose the Te Deum for the centenary of the independence of Belgium. But his private life was saddened by the slow decline in health of his wife, who died in 1939. World War II and the miseries and worries it entailed caused his composition to slow down still further: he wrote nothing at all in 1940– 42, only a few chamber music works between 1943 and 1948, when he ceased composing altogether. In 1943 the German administration forced Ryelandt to resign, but he was reinstated after the liberation of Belgium in 1944. In 1945 he retired, he devoted his retirement to literature, writing poetry and reading classics, many with strong religious contents: the Bible, the complete works of Shakespeare, Joost van den Vondel and Paul Claudel, as well as Dante and Teresa of Ávila.

He died aged 95, in his beloved Bruges and “without bothering anyone,” as he had wished, after a brief illness. From his writings and the testimony of all who knew him, Ryelandt appears first and foremost as a man with a great sense of duty. Duty towards God above all: he was a religious man, who tried to go to mass every day, knowledgeable about his religion, who conceived of his music making as a religious duty. Duty towards his music: he was privileged in being able to devote himself to music, but he was conscious this was a privilege and worked hard, both as a student of Tinel and as a composer. Towards his family: he was always solicitous of his wife, but during her illness, when he would organize serenades for her as she could no longer attend concerts. Towards his students, whose work he corrected with respect instead of denigrating it, who appreciated his teaching qualities: “Even though he followed the classical method of teaching harmony and counterpoint …, you never had the impression that you were learning something boring,” wrote one of them.

Another noticeable characteristic of Ryelandt was his modesty. Although he enjoyed hearing his works performed, he left it to others—especially his teacher Tinel and Charles Lamy —to make his works known; as he put it: “If God wants my work to be known one day, that will happen. If not, what does it matter? The task of the artist is to create, that’s it. Success is a luxury and a pleasure, it’s not indispensable.” He never bragged about the extra-musical honors. Sometimes he mocked them, like when, on being made Commander in the order of Leopold, he “complained” no one had told him whom to command; when he was old, he told his daughter: “You must never call a priest or a doctor for me at night, not before 6 in the morning. Those folk need their sleep.” But he was not a dour man: he was sociable

Jani Minga

Jani Minga was a patriot Albanian teacher and a notable follower of the National Renaissance of Albania. He was one of the signatories of Albanian Declaration of Independence. Minga was born in Shënpjetër village, today's Fier, Albania, on August 1, 1872, his father Konstandin was an activist for the education in Albanian language, while his mother Ana was a descendant of Topia family of Berat. He finished the elementary school in Berat, the high school in Qestorat, having Koto Hoxhi as a teacher, he studied and graduated for Philology in the University of Athens. Minga knew Old and New Greek, Latin and French. After finishing the studies he moved to Vlorë. Minga took part in every Congress on the Albanian language that took place before the declaration of independence, most notably the Congress of Monastir, where the Albanian alphabet was established, he initiated the association "Labëria" in 1889 and opened the first Albanian language school in Kanina. Minga wrote some early scholarly books on Albanian.

His patriotic activity would culminate with the participation and signature on the Albanian Declaration of Independence on 28 November 1912 as delegate of Vlora region, participation in the Vlora War as member of a voluntary unit from the villages of Seman area near Fier. He held the victory speech in "Pavarësia" square in Vlora. Minga held a solemn speech together with Qazim Kokoshi during the funeral of Ismail Qemali on 1919. Minga had Pirro and Mërkur; the first one refused to join the Albanian Fascist Party though serving as an interpreter for the Germans during World War II, being arrested and sent to a concentration camp, never returning. The other one lost his life in a construction accident. Depressed from the loss of his sons, Minga retired from his activities and died on May 7, 1947. Minga is awarded "Mësues i Popullit", Honorary Citizen of Vlora. Several schools in Albania bear his name. "History of Albanian People" Albanian Academy of Science. ISBN 99927-1-623-1