Shifting Narratives on Gender Part Three: The 1907 Free Methodist General Conference

When the resolution to approve a deaconess order came to the floor at the 1907 General Conference, the idea was met with enthusiastic support, passing through committee with thirty-five in favor and only seven opposed before coming to the floor for a conference vote.[i] Very few concerns were raised, but among the topics discussed were governance, mission, and uniforms for the order. Speaking in favor of the order, Free Methodist editor Charles Ebey reminded delegates there were already churches with such orders, and the need for a Free Methodist order was great. Reflecting on his personal experiences with deaconesses, Ebey … Continue reading Shifting Narratives on Gender Part Three: The 1907 Free Methodist General Conference

Shifting Rhetorical Narratives of Gender Part Two: Motivations Behind the Free Methodist Deaconess Order

By 1907 the Free Methodist Church sponsored rescue homes for young women, orphanages, and old folks homes across the United States. [i] All these missions provided various social services to their respective communities, but an emphasis was placed on providing housing to unwed mothers and homes for orphans. The need to staff these missions helped fuel the establishment of the Free Methodist Deaconess Order in 1907. However, motivations for establishing the order were not straightforward as a range of social concerns fueled the order’s establishment . One motivation was a deaconess order was seen as a way to provide acceptable … Continue reading Shifting Rhetorical Narratives of Gender Part Two: Motivations Behind the Free Methodist Deaconess Order

The Shifting Rhetorical Narrative of Gender: 1894-1911 Part One

I’ve written a lot on this blog about the 1890 and 1894 Free Methodist General Conference debates on women’s ordination. (I even have transcripts here if you would like to read the debates). However, the discussion did not end in 1894. Despite the 1894 General Conference choosing not to ordain women as elders or even deacons, more women, not less, became evangelists over the next decade. In 1894 there were 48 licensed women evangelists in the Free Methodist Church, and by 1904 there were 307. However, the number of women evangelists appointed to a circuit did not significantly increase. In … Continue reading The Shifting Rhetorical Narrative of Gender: 1894-1911 Part One

Blanche and Christopher Stamp: Superstar Free Methodist Evangelists

A few more pieces about the Stamp family have come into place this week. Christopher Stamp was an early convert to Free Methodism. About ten years after the denomination was founded (1860), he heard Free Methodists preach in Seattle. A teenager at the time, he was greatly influenced by two Free Methodists, Rev. Peter Griggs and Hiram Pease, who were preaching in the Northwest United States. According to his 1930 obituary in The Free Methodist, he first converted to Free Methodism, and then a few days later, during the same revival, experienced sanctification. Because Seattle didn’t have an established Free … Continue reading Blanche and Christopher Stamp: Superstar Free Methodist Evangelists

Anna Grant Pastor of San Diego Free Methodist 1912-1913

Dr. Sarah Anne Grant served as an evangelist in Northren Indiana, Iowa and Oklahoma for the Free Methodist Church. While she appears as a licensed evangelist for the Northern Indiana Conference in 1890 and 1891, her ministry in Iowa and Oklahoma appears to have been more informal (or else annual conference minutes aren’t incredibly accurate and didn’t report all licensed evangelists). She turns in regular ministry reports while working in Iowa and in Oklahoma. The Grant family appears to encourage Free Methodist elders to come and hold revivals where Sarah would assist.1 She again appears as a licensed evangelist in … Continue reading Anna Grant Pastor of San Diego Free Methodist 1912-1913

Sarah Anne Grant MD: 19th Century Pioneer in Medicine and Ministry

According to family stories*, Sarah Anne Grant approached her husband John in the late 1860s or early 1870s with some surprising news: she felt called by God to become a doctor. Sarah already had two children at home, but John was supportive so she left him home to tend their farm and their children while she studied medicine. At this time in American history, a female doctor was a rarity. Women faced numerous professional hurdles to become doctors. Many medical schools wouldn’t accept them as students, leading to the founding of the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1850 so … Continue reading Sarah Anne Grant MD: 19th Century Pioneer in Medicine and Ministry

The Other Female Delegates at the 1890 & 1894 Free Methodist General Conferences

A little over a year ago, I published a post “Who was S. Annie Grant?” Since that time, I’ve been trying to track down information on the other women delegates at the 1890 and 1894 Free Methodist General Conferences. I’ve written extensively about the two delegates who spoke on the floor in defense of women’s ministries, but who were the other women? At the 1890 General Conference there was Clara Wetherald from Eastern Michigan and Anna Grant from Northern Indiana. In 1894 there was Ida Gage from Ohio, Mrs. Coleman from Wisconsin, Mrs. Barnhart from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and Clara Sage … Continue reading The Other Female Delegates at the 1890 & 1894 Free Methodist General Conferences

Who was S. Annie Grant?

At the 1890 Free Methodist General Conference the Northern Indiana Conference sent Anna Grant as a delegate. Grant, an evangelist who sent in regular ministry updates to the denominational magazine The Free Methodist, appears to primarily have been preaching in the northeast portion of the state  (Whitley, Steuben, Allen, Noble, De Kalb and Legrange Counties). While other female evangelists I’ve researched have had either spouse who was ordained elders (Clara & John Wetherald) or a well-written annual conference history that outlined their story (Ida Gage), Anna Grant so far doesn’t have that.  She and Clara Wetherald were the only two … Continue reading Who was S. Annie Grant?