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American Methodist History The Issue of Slavery. Let’s Review a Few Ideas  1784 Richard Allen and Absalom Jones are the first black men to be granted.

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Presentation on theme: "American Methodist History The Issue of Slavery. Let’s Review a Few Ideas  1784 Richard Allen and Absalom Jones are the first black men to be granted."— Presentation transcript:

1 American Methodist History The Issue of Slavery

2 Let’s Review a Few Ideas  1784 Richard Allen and Absalom Jones are the first black men to be granted licenses to preach.  1784 "The Christmas Conference" of the Methodist Church passes a resolution against slave holding.  ,890 of a total of 18,791 Methodists are black.

3 Let’s Review a Few Ideas  1786 Richard Allen and Absalom Jones establish the Free African Society in Philadelphia. This is a response to the need to create a place of worship, social welfare, and community for free blacks in the area. Similar societies soon emerge in other cities.

4 Let’s Review a Few Ideas  1794 Richard Allen founds Mother Bethel.  1797 The number of black Methodists increases to 12,215. Most of these black members are in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.

5 Let’s Review a Few Ideas  1807 The African Union Church, the earliest black Methodist church, is incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware.  1814 African Methodist Episcopal Church forms in Philadelphia  1816 Several African Methodist churches meet at Bethel church in Philadelphia in April and form the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

6 Let’s Review a Few Ideas  1822 Denmark Vesey, a Methodist and a former slave to Captain Joseph Vesey, leads a slave insurrection in South Carolina. Vessey and his men are arrested before they have a chance to put their plan into action. Vesey hanged. South Carolina outlaws AME Church throughout state.  1827 First African-American newspaper, Freedom's Journal, begins publication in New York.

7 Let’s Review a Few Ideas  In the early years of American Methodism, the societies were capable of resisting the institution of slavery.  Dr. Thomas Coke’s vocal resistance so intense his life threatened on several occasions.

8 Let’s Review a Few Ideas  As Black Americans entered leadership roles in the Methodist Episcopal Church a clear tension develops: How can a church seek to liberate the soul of a black man and not his body as well?

9 The Struggle Intensifies  One thousand copies of The Discipline copied for South Carolina, omitting the church’s anti-slavery position.  A sense of hopelessness descends upon the Methodist Episcopal Church regarding resolution of the issue.

10 An Unavoidable Conflict  The history of the Methodist Episcopal Church during the 19 th century finds itself mingling with America’s Economic history, especially as it relates to the issue of slavery.

11 The Struggle Intensifies  North, East and Midwest churches move toward active abolitionist campaigns.  1837 Hosea Easton (AME Church Zion) writes A Treatise on the Intellectual Character and Civil and Political Condition of the Colored People of the United States and the Prejudice Exercised Towards Them

12 Meanwhile in the South…  Holland McTyeire (destined to become a bishop and first Chancellor of Vanderbilt University) writes Duties of Christian Masters (1859)  William A. Smith offers Lectures on the Philosophy and Practice of Slavery (1856)

13 Meanwhile in the South…  “…because it [slavery] is a fundamental principle of the social state…and justified by the condition and circumstances of the African race in this country, and therefore equally right.” William A. Smith

14 Further Tensions  Many Methodists financed the American Colonization Society, founded in 1816, for the purpose of shipping Black Americans to Africa.  But what about the mission to spread “scriptural holiness?” A bit difficult to perform under such conditions.

15 Silas Comfort  The Rev. Silas Comfort appealed from a decision of the Missouri conference, of which he was a member. That conference had convicted him of "mal-administration," in admitting the testimony of a colored person in the trial of a white member of the church. The General conference reversed the decision of the Missouri conference. The Southern delegates insisted on something being done, to counteract the injurious influence which the reversal would have on the Methodist church in the slave States.

16 Silas Comfort The Rev. Dr. A. J. Few, of Georgia, proposed the following:— Resolved,— "That it is inexpedient and unjustifiable for any preacher to permit colored persons to give testimony against white persons, in any State where they are denied that privilege by law."

17 Silas Comfort  This was carried: but it was at variance with the decision in Comfort's case. The conference saw the absurdity of their position, and that something must be done to shift it. To this end, it was thought best to attempt getting rid of the whole subject.

18 Silas Comfort  A motion was made to re-consider the decision in Comfort's case, with a view, if it should be carried, to another, not to entertain his appeal. Should this latter prevail, a motion was then to follow, to re-consider Dr. Few's resolution. If this should be carried, by another motion it could be laid on the table, and kept there. In this way the whole matter might be excluded.

19 Orange Scott  Orange Scott became convinced that the holy hearts should result in holy lives and that holy men should seek to bring an end to social evils such as slavery and intemperance. When his efforts to reform the existing church were rejected, he took the lead in establishing the Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America.

20 Orange Scott  Scott found himself facing opposition within his own church. While serving as a delegate to the General Conference of 1836 at Cincinnati, he was accused of lying and was described as either a "reckless incendiary" or a mental incompetent.

21 Orange Scott  Later that summer, his bishop told him that he must cease promoting abolition or cease being presiding elder. Scott refused to compromise on a matter of conscience and was returned to the pastorate at Lowell, Massachusetts.

22 Orange Scott  November 8, 1842, Orange Scott and two other ministers withdrew from the Methodist Episcopal Church and began publication of The True Wesleyan. Beginning on May 31, 1843, Scott presided over a convention assembled at Utica, New York, to establish a new church— known at first as the Wesleyan Methodist Connection.

23 Orange Scott  In addition to being a point of congregation for abolitionists, the church was active in fund raising and publishing. The building served as a safe haven for refugees from the South at an important transportation crossroads on the way to Canada. Recounting his involvement with the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Luther Lee, the church's founding pastor and editor of the anti- slavery publication the True Wesleyan, states that in Syracuse "...I did the largest work of my life on the Under-ground Rail-road. I passed as many as thirty slaves through my hands in a month (Luther Lee 1882:331)".

24 Orange Scott  The Wesleyan Methodist Connection not officially a denomination until  through a merger of the Pilgrim Holiness Church and the Wesleyan Methodist Church, The Wesleyan Church is formed.

25 General Conference of 1844  Greene Street Church, New York City- May 1 to June 1  Issue of Slavery  Authority of the General Conference vs. the integrity of the Episcopacy.

26 General Conference of 1844  Southern Speakers William A. Smith William Capers  Northern Speakers John A. Collins Stephen Olin Bishop James O. Andrew (an abolitionist) embarrassed to discover that he “owns” slaves bequeathed to him by his late first wife’s estate. Georgia law did not allow emancipation. Decided that Bishop Andrews should not exercise the office of Bishop until this “impediment” was addressed. Ruling leads to a minority protest document, answered by a terse “Reply” Committee of Nine submits “A Plan of Separation” on June 8.

27 Methodist Episcopal Church, South  Formed in Five Steps: 1844 Plan of Separation Southern Delegates at the Methodist Episcopal General Conference of 1844 call for a Constitutional Convention, to be held in Louisville Southern Delegates named Louisville Convention, 1845 First MEC,South Convention held in Virginia, 1846

28 Methodist Episcopal Church, South  Joseph Soule declares adherence to Southern churches during the first MEC,South General Conference.  This conference ends with William Capers and Robert Paine being elected as bishops.  U.S. Supreme Court eventually rules on ownership of Publishing House in Goes to the South.

29 Methodist Episcopal Church, South  1858 General Conference finally removes the prohibition to slavery from The Discipline.  Denominations remain separated until 1939.


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