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George-Whitefield-Main_article_image.jpg
World News

Church in dispute over renowned preacher's burial

George Whitefield, one of the founders of Methodism and the evangelical movement, was laid to rest beneath the pulpit of The Old South Presbyterian Church, Massachusetts after he passed away in the parsonage - the church house provided for clergy members - in 1770.

The Gloucestershire born preacher started the Newburyport church in 1746 during the Great Awakening - a Christian revival that impacted British colonies in the 1730s and 40s.

His funeral was held in London, where another founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley, delivered the sermon at Whitefield's personal request.

According to the Times, Whitefield's great-great-niece, Vicki Kenderdine, has accused the Old South Presbyterian Church of "claiming his body as their own property" and ignoring her grandfather's wishes to be buried alongside his wife in Britain.

She is hoping to raise £41,000 to fly his body back to Gloucester.

Rev Sara Singleton of the Old South Presbyterian Church said that funeral directors had attempted to exhume the remains last year, but the church refused to give them authorisation.

There have been a number of campaigns to send Whitefield's body back to his home country but the church has maintained that it was Whitefield's desire to be buried there in 1770.

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