THE AUTHOR ~ WILLIAM DUNN LONGSTAFF
Born November 26,1822 in Sunderland, England
Died April 2, 1894 in Sunderland, England
William was a business man, and the son of a wealthy English ship owner. He was a person of independent financial means. Due to his generous philanthropy, he was influential in evangelical circles. The Rev. Carlton Young, editor of The United Methodist Hymnal, notes that he followed his friend and persuasive Welsh preacher Arthur A. Rees when he left the Anglican priesthood in 1842 after disagreements with his rector and bishop. As a result, Rees established the Bethesda Free Chapel in Sunderland, where Longstaff served as his church treasurer. He married Joyce Burlinson in 1853 and together they had seven children.
In June, 1873, D.L. Moody and Ira Sankey came to England to hold evangelistic meetings. They arrived broke, and were hoping their sponsors would have things ready for them, but instead the fellow they counted on had died, and nothing had been done to prepare for the evangelistic team’s arrival. Moody and Sankey scrounged around desperately to have a meeting and had a very meager group of about 50 that showed up. Soon afterwards, William Longstaff used his financial resources and influence to support them, and the small gatherings increased to 20,000 people in London, and was able to go on to Scotland.