A Historical Overview on Divorce & What the Free Methodist Church Believes

Since I’ve discovered that both Ida Gage and Clara Wetherald were divorced, I’ve been trying to better understand the Free Methodist Church’s position on divorce in the early twentieth century. Today I often hear people refer to the “good old days” when divorce was never an option. What both these women’s stories illustrate is that divorce is not something recent. It’s been a social problem for quite sometime. However, before the twentieth century women had few legal rights and could be trapped in abusive marriages without options. While, I’m not promoting divorce; I also don’t want to endorse people staying … Continue reading A Historical Overview on Divorce & What the Free Methodist Church Believes

John and Clara Wetherald’s Last Years of Life and Ministry

“But now you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (Romans 6:22 ESV).  The Rev. F.J. Calkins from the East Michigan Free Methodist Conference stands in front of a crowd of mourners reciting the verse from Romans. He is conducting for John Wetherald’s funeral service. It’s 1902. John passed away on October 12.  His final years were filled with heartbreak, financial difficulties, health issues and divorce.  Calkins wrote John Wetherald’s obit and notes “On account of financial embarrassment and throat troubles Brother Wetherald … Continue reading John and Clara Wetherald’s Last Years of Life and Ministry

Ida Gage’s Life: As Told by Her Grandson Glenn V. Tingley

Over the past month I have made some amazing discoveries about both Clara Wetherald and Ida Gage and for the next few posts I’m going to share more of their stories. The more I find out about these women the more humbled I become. They were amazing, amazing people. Ida Gage converted to Christianity when she was 23. She had married Charles Gage before she became a believer; by 25 she felt a call to preach. What first attracted me to Ida Gage was her address at the 1890 Free Methodist General Conference. She wasn’t even a delegate, just attending … Continue reading Ida Gage’s Life: As Told by Her Grandson Glenn V. Tingley

Ellen Stowe Roberts: Co-Founder of Free Methodism

Benjamin Titus (B.T.) Roberts is known as the founder of Free Methodism. Yet, standing quietly beside him was his wife Ellen Stowe Roberts. While B.T. Roberts was traveling, preaching, dedicating new churches and attending annual conferences his wife Ellen was back at home at Chili Seminary. While she traveled with him sometimes, her impact on Free Methodism rests in her gentle spirit and quiet witness. I firmly believe that when we note who founded Free Methodism both B.T. and Ellen should be given credit in the same breath. Ellen helped shape B.T. Roberts theology through her connections to Phoebe Palmer … Continue reading Ellen Stowe Roberts: Co-Founder of Free Methodism