Introduction to Methodism

Session One - the Beginnings

’ How, when and why did Methodism begin? ’ Who were its principal founders and what were their motivations? ’ How did the Methodist church in America begin? ’ What is the genealogy of the UMC and other than the UMC, what are the Methodist churches today?

Methodism’s beginnings
’Reform movement within C of E ’Principal founders:
’ John Wesley ’ Charles Whitefield (whit-field) ’ Charles Wesley

’“Holy Club” formed by C. Wesley & others at Oxford; they were mocked as “Methodists.”

The English Context
Early 1700s
’ Was more like medieval England than modern England ’ More than 50% of land was farmed ’ Little industry above cottage type

Population & Cities
’ Population of 5M when Wesley was born, 7M when he died. ’ London largest at 500K, Bristol second at 50K ’ Land of hamlets and villages ’ Average life expectancy 35 ’ Infant mortality 20% ’ One-third mortality before age 5 ’ More than half of population <21 years old

’ Heavily class-ridden society, strict social hierarchy ’ This order considered divinely ordained ’ Principal classes: ’ Royalty ’ Nobility ’ Gentry ’ The “Middling Sort” ’ The Poor ’ The Abject Poor ’ Wesleys were of the upper middling sort

Place of Women
’Restricted roles:
’ wives ’ mothers ’ housekeepers ’ domestic servants

’Married women had four functions:
’ obey husband ’ produce heirs ’ run household ’ be “ladylike”

Politics and government
’Limited monarchy ’House of Lords ’House of Commons ’Two main parties:
’ Whigs ’ Tories

’Wesley leaned Tory

Church of England
’26 dioceses, each with a bishop ’2 archdioceses: Canterbury and York. ’Monarch - head of Church of England. ’Parliament’s authority ’Bishops from nobility ’Clergy: 10K parishes in England.

The Laity
’Very low church attendance ’1750 Manchester, pop. 50K - one parish church. ’Marlyebone, pop. 40K - one church seating 200. ’Church of England weak among the people. ’No governing convocation called of C of E between1717-1800.

Opposing views of Church

’High Church ’Low Church ’Wesley adhered mostly to high church view until 1730s

Principal founders & motivations
’John and Charles Wesley
’ Oxford Holy Club ’ Savannah sojourn ’ Moravian influence ’ Aldersgate Chapel, May 24, 1738 ’ Methodist societies

’Charles Whitefield ( Whit-field)
’ Best preacher of 1700s ’ Reversed Anglican teaching of conversion ’ Influential in First Great Awakening

Methodism in America
’A “movement” at first ’Robert Strawbridge, 1760
’ Jacob Toogood

’Philip Embury, Barbara Heck, 1766 ’First Methodist Societies

Francis Asbury
’“Father of American Methodism” ’Never returned to England ’Pragmatic

Revolutionary War
’Wesley did not support the colonies ’War’s end severed Anglican connection ’Ordination decision, 1784

’In September, Wesley ordained:
’ Thomas Coke - superintendent ’ Richard Whatcoat - deacon ’ Thomas Vesey - elder ’ Understanding they would ordain others.

’They arrived in America in the fall

The Christmas Conference
Founding of the Methodist Church in USA

’Convened Dec. 24, 1784 ’Officially chartered the Methodist Episcopal Church ’Several key actions taken

EUB background
’Philip William Otterbein, Martin Boehm
’ 1800 organized the Church of the United Brethren in Christ

’Jacob Albright
’ The Evangelical Association, 1803

’Merged 1946 to form EUB ’EUB merged with The Methodist Church 1968 to form The UMC

Genealogy of the UMC
’ 1799 - Richard Allen & The AME Church ’ 1830 - The Methodist Protestant Church ’ 1844 - The MEC, South ’ 1870 - the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church ’ 1939 - The Methodist Church formed by merger of: ’ MEC ’ MEC, South ’ MPC ’ 1840 - Southern Methodist Church