Methodism American Episcopal
church methodist conference york
METHODISM AMERICAN EPISCOPAL, the beginnings of American Methodism are traceable to the year 1766, when a few pious emigrants from Ireland introduced Methodism into New York. On receiving an appeal in 1768 from the New York Methodists, who were engaged in building a preaching-house, Wesley laid the case of America before the Conference at Leeds in 1769, and two preachers, Boardman and Pihnoor, volunteered to go to the colonies. Boardman went to New York, Pilmoor to Philadelphia. In 1771 two other Methodist itinerants, Francis Asbury - the most famous name in American Methodism - and Richard Wright, went out to America. In 1773 Thomas Rankin, a preacher of experience sent out Francis Asbury went back to England. At the end of the war, however, in 1784, Wesley sent out Dr Coke, and American Methodism was organized as an independent church, with Dr Coke and Francis Asbury as its presbyter-bishops. The history of American Methodism since that period is too vast and complicated for any attempt to be made to summarize it here. Methodism is more properly national in its character as an American church than any church in the States. In Massachusetts and some other of the New England States it is less powerful than Congregationalism, which still retains there much of its ancient predominance ; in the city of New York it is less powerful than Presbyterianism, and, indeed, occupies a position less generally influential than might have been expected. But in Philadelphia it is very powerful ; so also in Baltimore and in Cincinnati ; if not strong in New York city, it is very strong in the State ; and generally throughout the western and mid-western States it is the prevalent form of faith and worship. In the south, also, it is more powerful than any other church.
American Methodism is Episcopal. But its Episcopacy is neither prelatical nor diocesan. The bishops are superintending presbyters, and they visit the whole territory of Methodism in rotation, holding (presiding over) the annual Conferences. These Conferences arc purely ministerial. But the General Conference, which meets once in four years, and which is the Conference of legislation and final appeal, is mixed and representative. The first General Conference was held in 1792, the first delegated or representative Conference in 1812, the first mixed or ministerial-and-lay General Conference in 1872. There were till lately no district assemblies in the Episcopal Methodism of America, and now there are but few. The bishops maintain the unity of the Connexion in the interval between the General Conferences, by their visitation and by their conjoint council. A sub-episcopal class of ministers also, called presiding elders, supplement the action and superintendency of the bishops. These preside over districts, holding all the circuit quarterly meetings, and holding the district meetings, if any such meetings have been organized.
American Episcopal Methodism is distributed into five distinct sections or churches, which, however, differ from each other in no points of any importance as respects organization or discipline, still less doctrine. The American Methodist Episcopal Church South became a separate organization in 1847 by reason of the slavery controversy. The coloured churches, of which there are three, sprang up distinctly from local causes. The following are the latest available statistics: - In the Methodist Episcopal Church alone there are one hundred annual Conferences, visited by twelve bishops. This church has more than twenty universities, of which some are distinguished schools of learning. Boston University is one of the most recent and one of the chief. The principal foreign missions are in India. China, and Japan. The Methodist Church South also has some influential universities, particularly that at Nashville, and has missions, in particular in Japan and China.
Besides these Methodist Episcopal churches, with their total of 3,358,000 church members, there are two other churches which do not assume the name at all, but are yet essentially Methodist in doctrine and discipline, not varying in any important particulars from the Episcopal Methodism of America. Of these one is celled the United Brethren, with 157,000 members, the other the Evangelical Association, with 113,000 members.' Non- Episcopal American Methodism. - The bodies included under this head are chiefly secessions from the original stock of American Methodists, founded on principles of democratic church government, analogous to those of the English Methodist secessions. The only considerable body, however, is the Methodist Protestant Church, with 125,000 members. The minor bodies, four in number, count altogether less than 60,000 members, the principal being the American Wesleyan Church, with 25,000 members.