Gender Norms in Christian Co-Cultures Part III

he structure and influence of the Christian publishing market allows the writings of authors from various Christian co-cultures to exert great influence over Biblical interpretation, family life, and the self-worth of the Christian individual. Continue reading Gender Norms in Christian Co-Cultures Part III

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

Are Tears a Sin? Clara Wetherald’s Views on Emotion and Preaching

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

Mariet Hardy Freeland: A Trailblazer for Women’s Preaching and Public Speaking

I’m beginning an exploration of the life and ministry of Mariet Hardy Freeland. While Clara Wetherald and Ida Gage were influential in the debates on ordaining women, Mariet helped pave the way for later evangelists like Wetherald and Gage. Biographical information is taken from the book Mariet Hardy Freeland: A Faithful Witness by Emma Freeland Shay. Mariet Hardy Freeland was a trailblazer for women evangelists in the Free Methodist Church. Born in New York in 1829, she was the youngest of 10 children.  While there is a vast archive of Mariet’s original writings (which I still need to dig into), … Continue reading Mariet Hardy Freeland: A Trailblazer for Women’s Preaching and Public Speaking

The Roberts and Phoebe Palmer

It was through Walter and Phoebe Palmer that Ellen Stowe (later Ellen Stowe Roberts) first experienced a camp meeting revival. Ellen lived in New York City with her aunt and uncle – the same city as the Palmers. Her uncle George Lane was the editor of the Methodist Publishing House. Thus, putting her into contact with numerous prominent Methodists of the time period. The Sing Sing Camp Meeting in New York was one several life-changing experiences Ellen recounted in her writings. At this camp meeting she ran into people from the Allen Street Methodist Episcopal Church where the Palmers were … Continue reading The Roberts and Phoebe Palmer

Phoebe Palmer: A Pioneer for Women Preachers

A woman of passion, faith and a cunning rhetorical ability Phoebe Palmer is one of Methodism’s most skilled nineteenth century rhetoricians, and perhaps one of the most overlooked.  Palmer is best remembered for her Tuesday Bible studies “Meetings for the Promotion of Holiness” and her widely read religious periodical Guide to Holiness.  Her writings and preaching influenced France Willard, the long serving and influential president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, Catherine Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army and Benjamin Titus Roberts, founder of the Free Methodist Church. Palmer was a genius at negotiating nineteenth century gender norms to main … Continue reading Phoebe Palmer: A Pioneer for Women Preachers

What Makes a Free Methodist Feminist

I’m re-posting this entry since I now have more readers than I did when I originally posted it in May. It’s my manifesto for what I believe and what I research. Occasionally I’m asked why I call myself a feminist. Now that my blog is getting a few readers I’m getting this question more often. The concept of a “Free Methodist Feminist” seems like an oxymoron. Yet, I stand by this term. I am a feminist.  While there are definitely some feminists who distance themselves from organized religion and view organized religion as just another way to enforce patriarchy, I … Continue reading What Makes a Free Methodist Feminist

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

Walter Sellew’s Phamplet “Why Not?”: A Logical Defense on Women’s Ordination

The path to ordain women in the Free Methodist Church seemed to stall with the death of B.T. Roberts after the 1890 General Conference. Yet, the battle wasn’t over. In 1898 the Free Methodist Church for the first time appointed four bishops – Wilson Hogg (aka Hogue), G.W. Coleman, E.P. Hart and Walter Sellew. Sellew is the forgotten advocate for women’s ministry. Yet, without his support I believe recognition of women’s contributions within the denomination would have taken even longer to occur. While women were not granted the right to ordained elders within the denomination until 1974, they were granted … Continue reading Walter Sellew’s Phamplet “Why Not?”: A Logical Defense on Women’s Ordination