Pentecost Bands as Advocates for Social Purity

Historically, Free Methodism was tied to numerous social causes (and still is to this day). Its founding principles emphasized care and inclusion for everyone, strong abolitionist ties, and an emphasis on returning to the “old time Methodist” principles, such as entire sanctification. However, like any social movement, as Free Methodism transitioned from a movement to a denomination, the interpretation of those founding principles began to vary widely. As my research on women’s ordination and the Free Methodist Deaconess order has illustrated, there wasn’t universal agreement about what radical Holiness living and social action looked like. The Pentecost Bands are just … Continue reading Pentecost Bands as Advocates for Social Purity

Pentecost Band Leaders Embrace Marital Purity

While Free Methodists during the Progressive Era were known for following stringent Holiness lifestyle guidelines. (For example, simple dress, no instrumental music during services, refraining from any leisure activity that was deemed “worldly.”) Many Pentecost Band members took Holiness living to an entirely new level.  One of the most fascinating and controversial of these beliefs was the practice of marital purity (more commonly called social purity).  Most band workers were single and served in bands with workers of the same sex. However, a few married couples co-led different bands, including Vivan and Ida Dake, Minnie Baldwin Shelhammer and E.E. Shelhamer. … Continue reading Pentecost Band Leaders Embrace Marital Purity