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?

An Open Letter to FM Leaders: Have We Forgotten Our Roots?

Dear Leaders of the North American Free Methodist Church, In 2008 I discovered why I loved being a Free Methodist – our history of social justice. Namely living out Galatians 3:28. “In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.”(The Message) I grew up in the Free Methodist Church, but I had no idea that … Continue reading An Open Letter to FM Leaders: Have We Forgotten Our Roots?

Returning to the Urban Ministry of Early Free Methodists

Fall of 2012 my husband and I moved into Toledo, Ohio. We bought an 1899 Edwardian home in the Birmingham neighborhood. Demographically the neighborhood is filled with renters, many of them working for minimum wage or on welfare. There are a lot of single mothers and a lot of kids. Many of my neighbors don’t have the Internet; instead going to the library on Monday or Tuesday evenings to check their e-mail there. It’s a very different community from the suburban neighborhood we had previously lived in. Buying a house, moving, and getting settled took away all my blogging time … Continue reading Returning to the Urban Ministry of Early Free Methodists

Expressing Faith Through Fashion: Choice, Legalism or Both?

In many Christian traditions such as the Mennonites,  Quakers, Amish and various holiness movements dress was an outward expression of faith. However, there was and continues to be a fine line between an individual embracing dress as a form of religious expression and being forced to dress a certain way as a form of legalism. Playing with the Free Methodist history of dress in the late nineteenth and early 2oth century, I’ll explore some of these tensions in a multi-part series. Free Methodist women, especially those who chose to preach and teach publicly  faced numerous barriers to acceptance- not least among them their attire, … Continue reading Expressing Faith Through Fashion: Choice, Legalism or Both?