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Pope Francis praises John Wesley for leading people to ‘knowledge of Jesus Christ’

Pope Francis blesses a picture on a mobile phone (Getty Images)

Methodism founder John Wesley brought many people to Christ through prayer and Bible reading, Pope Francis has said.

Speaking with leaders of the World Methodist Council, Pope Francis praised 50 years of dialogue between the Catholic and Methodist churches, Vatican Radio reports.

“We are no longer strangers,” he said, but rather, through our shared Baptism, “members of the household of God”.

Speaking about John Wesley, the 18th-century Anglican clergyman who founded the Methodist movement, Pope Francis said his example converted many people to God.

“We cannot fail to rejoice” when the Holy Spirit works through other Christian denominations, the Pope added, as they “also help us grow closer to the Lord.”

However, he concluded by saying we cannot grow in holiness without “growing in communion”.

“Let us prepare ourselves with humble hope and concrete efforts for that full recognition which will enable us to join one another in the breaking of bread together.”