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

Who and What is an Evangelical? Rob Bell Adds to the Ongoing Debate…

I have been struggling for a couple weeks to answer the question – who is an evangelical and what defines evangelical beliefs? I still don’t have an easy answer.  Can an evangelical support male-headship. Does an evangelical have to vote Republican? Can an evangelical agree with Rob Bell’s books Love Wins? Yes, this is the main question of the post – is Rob Bell an evangelical? I’ve been a long time supporter of Rob Bell’s writing and theology. I love Velvet Elvis and his collaboration with Don Golden Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile. … Continue reading Who and What is an Evangelical? Rob Bell Adds to the Ongoing Debate…

Finding Clara Wetherald Part Two

In 1888 Clara Wetherald, a licensed evangelist and circuit riding preacher in Michigan, wrote a ministerial update published in the October 10, 1888, The Free Methodist. Wetherald had been sent to dedicate a new church in Royalton, Michigan, only to find on arrival that the congregation still needed to raise $369, and the building for the church was not completed. “It was a great cross to me to go to dedicate a church, as I consider myself a poor hand to raise money,” (5) Wetherald wrote. Yet, she led the congregation into a time of prayer on Saturday September 29, … Continue reading Finding Clara Wetherald Part Two

Women Still Struggle to Gain Acceptance in Ministry

When I tell other academics that I’m studying the rhetoric of the early Free Methodist movement I get responses such as “Free Methodists? What is a Free Methodist?” or “I’ve never even seen a Free Methodist Church.” I’ll grant that the denomination is small. Currently in North America the Free Methodist Denomination (as of 2007) estimates membership at 74,000, and worldwide there are about 730,000 members.  Yet, this relatively small denomination has a rich history that has been largely unexplored by historians and rhetoricians outside the denomination. I am thrilled that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the denomination’s … Continue reading Women Still Struggle to Gain Acceptance in Ministry

Vision Forum: The Giant of the Christian Patriarchy Movement

While there are numerous organizations I would consider part of the Christian patriarchy movement one of the largest and most disturbing organization is Dough Phillip’s Vision Forum. Vision Forum’s influence is vast in evangelical and fundamentalist culture.  The organization has its own homeschooling curriculum, devotional materials for men and women, homeschooling conferences and the popular San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, which is Phillip’s brainchild. Perhaps, the name of the film festival doesn’t ring a bell, but if you follow Christian media at all you have probably heard of movies such as Facing the Giants and Fireproof – both of … Continue reading Vision Forum: The Giant of the Christian Patriarchy Movement

The Threat of Christian Patriarchy

The Christian patriarchy movement is a fast growing fundamentalist/evangelical movement that is not easy to define.  While mainstream media has     drawn attention to the Quiverfull movement and pop cultural representations of this lifestyle, such as the famous or infamous (however you want to phrase it) Duggar family from 19 and Counting, there are other branches of the patriarchy movement which are not well known nor well researched. Therefore, for the next few blog posts I’m going to try to break down the various organizations associated with the Christian patriarchy movement to help us better understand why mainstream Christian society should … Continue reading The Threat of Christian Patriarchy

Caught between a rock and a hard place: The Christian feminist’s dilemma

Two years ago, soon after our second wedding anniversary, my husband Andrew and I stood in the church sanctuary taking to friends after the service about our anniversary plans. “So, when are you going to have kids?” a friend asked me. I stood there dumbfounded wondering why everyone kept asking me this question. Both Andrew and I were finishing our masters degrees with plans to pursue doctorate degrees in the next year. “Um, not anytime soon,” I replied. Yet, even after answering the family planning question two years ago. I am repeatedly asked every year, around our anniversary, when we … Continue reading Caught between a rock and a hard place: The Christian feminist’s dilemma

A Small Snippet of Ellen Robert’s Life

The powerful example of early Free Methodist women has been having a deep impact on me. As I’ve looked over the archives of the 1890 debate on ordaining women and saw the fiery response of women such as Ida Gage defend her right to ministry and read about the example of Ellen Roberts, who though not ordained served as a pastor alongside her husband B.T. Roberts, I can’t help but feel that the way I live my life is sadly lacking in comparison.  I don’t usually like to be self-reflexive on this blog. I prefer to keep my opinions to … Continue reading A Small Snippet of Ellen Robert’s Life