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

Anna Grant Pastor of San Diego Free Methodist 1912-1913

Dr. Sarah Anne Grant served as an evangelist in Northren Indiana, Iowa and Oklahoma for the Free Methodist Church. While she appears as a licensed evangelist for the Northern Indiana Conference in 1890 and 1891, her ministry in Iowa and Oklahoma appears to have been more informal (or else annual conference minutes aren’t incredibly accurate and didn’t report all licensed evangelists). She turns in regular ministry reports while working in Iowa and in Oklahoma. The Grant family appears to encourage Free Methodist elders to come and hold revivals where Sarah would assist.1 She again appears as a licensed evangelist in … Continue reading Anna Grant Pastor of San Diego Free Methodist 1912-1913

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

The Free Methodist Equivalant of Little House on the Prarie: The Freelands’

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’

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

Clara Wetherald A Methodist, Then a Free Methodist and Finally a Congregationalist

I lost Clara Wetherald last year. One day she is at the 1890 Free Methodist General Conference passionately defending her right to ordination, and then the next day she disappears. She briefly returns in 1891 to preach at a Free Methodist revival in the Holly/Germany Michigan area, and then, once again, she is gone. At first I thought she had died. Then that theory was thrown out when I found her obit in 1921. So, where did she disappear to for thirty years? I have solved the mystery with the help of an amazing group of descendants and friends who … Continue reading Clara Wetherald A Methodist, Then a Free Methodist and Finally a Congregationalist

John and Clara Wetherald’s Last Years of Life and Ministry

“But now you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (Romans 6:22 ESV).  The Rev. F.J. Calkins from the East Michigan Free Methodist Conference stands in front of a crowd of mourners reciting the verse from Romans. He is conducting for John Wetherald’s funeral service. It’s 1902. John passed away on October 12.  His final years were filled with heartbreak, financial difficulties, health issues and divorce.  Calkins wrote John Wetherald’s obit and notes “On account of financial embarrassment and throat troubles Brother Wetherald … Continue reading John and Clara Wetherald’s Last Years of Life and Ministry