John Wesley, (1703-91). British founder of Methodism. After studying at Oxford, Wesley became a missionary in Georgia, where he met members of the Protestant Moravian brethren. He underwent a decisive religious experience during a church service in 1738, after which he turned away from High Anglican doctrines and began travelling and preaching all over Britain. The numerous religious societies he organized were united as the Methodist Church in 1784. His brother Charles (1707-88) was a member of the first ‘methodists’, a group of students at Oxford who attracted this name because of their methodical observance of religious practices. He also wrote many well-known hymns, such as jesu, Lover of My Soul’.