Free Methodist Women in the South Part II

Continuing the series of Free Methodist women’s ministry reports from the south. We will move from the 1890s into the early 1900s. (See Part 1 for the 1890s.) February 2, 1904 Summerville, Georgia We are here in our work. We have no other motive in view than to glorify God and see souls saved. We met some sweetly save pilgrims in Grayson, who opened their doors and gave us a hearty welcome. I praise the Lord this evening for salvation. My mind runs back as I write, to the time and place where I first found the Lord precious to … Continue reading Free Methodist Women in the South Part II

Free Methodist Women in the South Part I

During the 1890s and early 1900s numerous women wrote to The Free Methodist to share reports about their local congregations or the evangelistic crusades they were leading. Over the next few posts, I’ll be republishing ministry reports from women who lived and ministered in the southern states.  Their stories are remarkable, and they should be allowed to tell their stories in their own words without my summary. February 7, 1894 Hazelhurst, Mississippi Husband and myself are in meetings most of the time. It means so much to expound a pure, full Gospel to people who have been blinded so long … Continue reading Free Methodist Women in the South Part I

Walter Sellew’s Why Not? Is it Really a Defense of Women’s Ministry?

From 1911-1974 Free Methodist women who entered ministry had three approved tracks: evangelist, deaconess, or deacon. While these ministry paths opened numerous doors at the local level, decisions at the denominational level still largely excluded women, as they could only be elected as lay delegates to general conference. The result being, decisions affecting the entire denomination were still largely being decided by men. Since men could be elected as both lay and ministerial delegates to general conference it was almost a guarantee that more men would secure delegate spots and maintain the majority vote for denominational decisions. Leaders such as … Continue reading Walter Sellew’s Why Not? Is it Really a Defense of Women’s Ministry?

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

Ada Hall: One of the First Female Deacons

The 1911 Free Methodist General Conference took steps to finally allow women some form of ordination. Now, women could become ordained deacons at the annual conference level, but with the cavet that “this ordination of women shall not be considered a step towards ordination as an elder.”1 I’ll write about all five women at some point, but Ada Hall is by far my favorite. I feel a kindered spirit in her writing and passion for what she believed important enough to fight for. Prior to being ordained a deacon, Hall had been appointed to circuits in the Minnesota and Northern … Continue reading Ada Hall: One of the First Female Deacons

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

Eliza Witherspoon: Early 20th Century Evangelist in Southern Missouri

In the July 8, 1895, issue of The Free Methodist, an Eliza Witherspoon sends a ministry report from Virginia, Missouri noting that she, her mother, and sister had been “advocating the principles of Free Methodism” in that part of the country for the past seventeen years. Eliza tells readers her family is the lone Free Methodist family in the area and had spent the past three weeks holding meetings where “God sent us help and souls were converted to God– more than twenty souls.” Far from being a single report, Eliza Witherspoon begins appearing regularly in The Free Methodist over … Continue reading Eliza Witherspoon: Early 20th Century Evangelist in Southern Missouri

Dr. Anna Grant Oklahoma Pioneer and California Minister

In March 1903, W.G. Hammer visited the Grant family in Granite and sent an update to The Free Methodist. At that time, Granite had 1500 residents, several large mercantile, four churches, and according to Hammer, the largest public school building in the state. Hammer noted the Grant family’s philosophy was to take evangelistic work with them wherever they moved. Continue reading Dr. Anna Grant Oklahoma Pioneer and California Minister

Who was LeGrand Buell? – The Continuing Story of Clara Wetherald

I apologize for the delay in blogging. I’m trying to finish up my dissertation this semester, so I’m afraid my posts might not be as often as I’d like. I’d also like to thank members of the  Miller family who have been amazing in helping me find information on Clara Wetherald. Who was LeGrand Buell? In the story of Clara Wetherald he was the second husband who died three years into their marriage. He was the man that Clara supposedly left John Wetherald for and caused a scandal in the community. He was the drunkard who Clara married to reform. … Continue reading Who was LeGrand Buell? – The Continuing Story of Clara Wetherald