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?
Priscilla Pope-Levison’s new book Building The Old Time Religion: Women Evangelists in the Progressive Era is the most significant contribution to the collective memory of women evangelists in the United States since Janette Hassey’s 1986 book No Time for Silence. … Continue reading Building The Old Time Religion: Giving Progressive Era Women Evangelists Due Credit
“Heeelll No! What, what are you doing standing outside my door?” demands a woman to my husband. He’s innocently standing in the hall of our hotel waiting for me to grab my coat and join him. “Uh, waiting for my wife.” “Sorry,” I say flashing a smile as we walk by. “It’s okay, you can’t be too careful in D.C.” I thought the woman’s comment was odd, considering we were staying at an upscale suite style hotel. We could only afford it because of an amazing online deal I’d found. The next day I noticed the same woman waiting in … Continue reading Another Side to D.C.
I have to admit something I’ve denied for three months now. I’m 30. As an evangelical woman who is married and doesn’t have kids this is the worst possible age to be. I refused to acknowledge I had a birthday this year. Telling family and friends to just ignore that day and insisting for six months before my birthday that no one dare tell anyone I was turning 30. I was “29 and holding.” However, over the past month I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am no longer in my 20s. I’ve accomplished a … Continue reading I’m a 30 year-old Evangelical Woman Without Kids- What am I thinking?!!
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
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?
Throughout the Methodist movement in eighteenth century England and in the early Free Methodist movement divine healing was not uncommon. In many of the accounts I’ve read it seems to be more prevalent with women than men, or at least … Continue reading Preaching Divine Healing in Nineteenth Century Free Methodism
Out in the vast, rugged Dakota Territory a pioneer family settled on their claim. No, I’m not talking about Laura Ingalls’ Wilder, but the Freeland family of South Dakota. They settled in the Dakota Territory a few years after the Ingalls’ family (around the mid 1880s whereas the Ingalls were 1879/1880). When we think of nineteenth century missionaries we often think of individuals who sailed on ships to unexplored areas of Asia and Africa and expected to face almost certain death for their faith. What we don’t think about are home missionaries – like the Freelands in South Dakota. Those … Continue reading The Free Methodist Equivalant of Little House on the Prarie: The Freelands’
This article was published while B.T. Roberts was editor of The Free Methodist. It shows the emotional/embodied nature Clara most likely also practiced as she addressed a congregation. As I’ve blogged about her for several years, her passion cannot be doubted but how she physically and emotionally expressed that passion was something I was unsure of until I found this article. My favorite quote from Clara in this article is: “Tears often speak louder than words. “ By Clara Wetherald The Free Methodist November 23, 1887 A meeting was held in a certain place to labor with a sister, and … Continue reading Are Tears a Sin? Clara Wetherald’s Views on Emotion and Preaching
I am beginning a long series of publishing Free Methodist women’s original articles in their entirety. I’ve spent the past few years telling the stories of various Free Methodist women trailblazers and while I have quoted them, I want them to have a chance to say more in their own voices. This first article published in the February 22, 1888, The Free Methodist was a ministry report by Clara Wetherald from South Lyon, Michigan. Clara illustrates the tension between a believing and unbelieving spouse and women’s lack of legal status in this article. It’s a remarkable story and incredible example … Continue reading Keep Our Faces Before Thee: Clara Wetherald’s Report from South Lyon, MI