Keep Our Faces Before Thee: Clara Wetherald’s Report from South Lyon, MI

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

The Conclusion of “Why?” by Mariet Hardy Freeland

The summing up is this. The design of God in the Gospel dispensation is the full restoration of woman to her original place as described in Genesis 1:26-28. God created woman because he saw it was not good for man to be alone – “a help meet for him.” Her place was by his side, not as a troublesome appendage, a mere toy or a cipher, neither as lord over him, but as a unit of equal value with himself. She lost her place in the transgression, but received the promise of final deliverance through her seed, which is Christ, … Continue reading The Conclusion of “Why?” by Mariet Hardy Freeland

“Why?” Mariet Hardy Freeland’s Defense of Women’s Ordination Part 1

by Mariet Hardy Freeland Editors note: Pay attention to how she crafts a defense of ordination that is both logical and spiritual. It is soundly grounded in Scripture and written using numerous examples to make her rhetorical points. Why should woman be ordained? or, in other words, why should woman be granted the full endorsement of the church upon her call to work for God and souls? To ordain, ecclesiastically, is to set apart for a special purpose or work. It is but the endorsement of the church of those already chosen of God for special service. In all Methodist … Continue reading “Why?” Mariet Hardy Freeland’s Defense of Women’s Ordination Part 1

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

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

Clara Wetherald Part Three: Wife, Mother, Pastor

Clara Wetherald was born Clarissa L. Miller around 1849. While Clarissa Miller was a very popular name during this time period, Her husband John Wetherald was born in New York in 1842 to William Wetherald and Hannah Ferris. John’s father was born in England and immigrated to the U.S. It appears at some point in his family’s history they changed the spelling of their name from “Wetherell” or “Witherall” to “Wetherald.” Sometime between John’s birth in 1842 and 1860 his family moved to Vienna, Genesee County, Michigan.  On Apr. 5 1866, John F. and Clara Miller married in Genesee County, … Continue reading Clara Wetherald Part Three: Wife, Mother, Pastor