Religion: Deep Malady

Few evangelists surpassed the zeal of John Wesley and his disciples when they officially founded "The Yearly Corporation of the People Called Methodists" in 1784. Last week the zeal seemed to be guttering low. As 650 delegates met in a heat wave at Newcastle-on-Tyne, even their lustiest singing of The Living Church ("And are we yet alive") could not hide their mood. By the delegates' own gloomy account, the Methodist Church in Britain is sick.

"We are combatting something deep in the soul of the nation," said the Rev. William Sangster, head of home missions. "For this deep malady, we need some...

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