Presentation on theme: "The Story of American Methodism: Part One Early American Methodism."— Presentation transcript:
The Story of American Methodism: Part One Early American Methodism
1784: A Pivotal Year American Revolution Research on the Episcopacy of the Early Church by Wesley Continued adherence of the Anglican Tradition and its ecclesiastic doctrine Adherence to Ordaination
Itinerancy as Basic Principle “As long as I am alive,” stated Wesley, “the Methodist itinerant will itinerate.” American Methodism designed to reach people who were not being reached by other Christian movements and to win souls for Christ.
Other Fundamentals to Wesley Priesthood of all believers Primacy of Scripture Christian Perfection Justification by Faith Catholic (universal) Church Communion of Saints (believers) Committed Discipleship through commitment to works of piety
Concerning the American Situation Wesley never an advocate for the American Revolution Governments considered human- oriented models of community structured from the fabric of original sin However, freedom from sin should translate into freedom from oppression
On Most Issues… …Wesley sided with the Tories. Exception: The Evil of Slavery Thomas Coke (known as Dr. Coke to most American Methodists) agreed with Wesley on this count. Wesley not an advocate for free enterprise but did contend that individuals held some responsibility
Early American Beginnings Date from 1760s All Protestant movements had roots in Europe Diversity the key feature of colonial religion; no single religious tradition held sway Early Methodists encountered numerous religious beliefs and practices
Great Awakening Begins in 1740s Characterized the Early American Religious experience Heightened focus on individual repentance from sin and death Religious enthusiasm and emotional revivalism “Deep Moving” of Holy Spirit
Outcomes of the First Great Awakening Enhancement of missionary spirit of American Protestant movements Formation of Higher Education (perhaps as a corrective to the emotional revivalism and poor preparation of lay preachers) Forged a political system that advocated tolerance of religious opinion and action
Early Lay Leadership Robert Strawbridge of Maryland (1766) Formed first Methodist Society in America (according to Asbury) Taught, preached and administered the Sacraments without formal permission 1773, Strawbridge granted special dispensation for his ministry
Early Lay Leadership William Watters and Freeborn Garrettson become lay preachers after encountering Strawberry Barbara Heck at John Street Methodist Episcopal Church in New York recognized as first woman lay woman (1766) Betty, a slave “girl”, takes on responsibility in same Class as Heck
Early Lay Leadership Another lay leader, Thomas Taylor, writes to Wesley, encouraging more experienced leadership; somebody to train and direct the lay preachers. 1766: Wesley appoints a few missionary pastors to train lay leaders of American societies.
Early Lay Leadership Peter Williams, one of the earliest slaves who provided leadership in a New York Methodist Society. After seven years, church “bought” Williams and set him free. Williams saw the purchase as a “loan” and paid the church back.
Early Lay Leadership Thomas Webb preached in New York, Long Island and Philadelphia Helped organize the Philadelphia Society (1767) and preached at St. George’s Church (1769), one of the oldest Methodist structures still in existence.
Missionary Preachers Arrive 1769, Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmore arrive in Philadelphia. Sent in response to Thomas Taylor’s letter. Pilmore makes significant contribution to development of Colonial Methodism (see pp. 71-72)
Missionary Preachers Arrive 1771, Francis Asbury and Richard Wright arrive 1773, Thomas Rankin and George Shadford Asbury and Rankin at odds, Rankin returns to Great Britain in 1778 Contrariwise, Asbury and Shadford characterized as “David with Jonathan”
Missionary Preachers Arrive 1774, James Dempster and Martin Rodda arrive. Rooda returns to England after three years, due in part to his position as a royalist.
Factors of Early Growth Seen in conjunction with Church of England Disrupted in some areas by the Revolution Effectiveness of some lay preachers help movement to proper in Virginia and Maryland Presence of Congregational and Presbyterian churches hurts
First Annual Conference St. George’s Church in July, 1773 Lasted three days Attended by ten lay preachers Affirmed affiliation with Church of England Affirmed prohibition of lay preachers administering sacraments Since then, Annual Conference held every year into the present
Issues Facing the Post-Revolution Methodists Itinerancy Wesley’s Authority Methodist’s relationship with other colonial churches The Question of slavery Discipline (polity) English vs. Native preachers Social Reform Issues
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