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The Story of American Methodism: Part One Early American Methodism.

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1 The Story of American Methodism: Part One Early American Methodism

2 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

3 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.

4 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

5 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

6 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

7 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

8 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

9 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

10 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

11 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

12 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.

13 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.

14 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.

15 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 )

16 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”

17 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.

18 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

19 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

20 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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