John Wesley’s Arminian Magazine and Lay-Women’s Conversion Narratives

I’m returning to some research that I was writing about earlier in the year – the involvement of Free Methodist women in the temperance movement. My husband has his own blog where the article below is also posted. While his research focuses mostly on the 18th century and mine on the 19th and 20th century, I thought this article does a great job setting up how conversion narratives can be used to promote a particular Christian interpretation in a publication. John Wesley used conversion narrative to fuel on the Methodist movement, and in the last 19th century the Free Methodists … Continue reading John Wesley’s Arminian Magazine and Lay-Women’s Conversion Narratives

History is More than Just Remembering Facts: It’s a Call to Action and Reform

The Free Methodist Denomination has a long history of supporting women in ministry. However, the battle for official ordination went on almost a 100 years. It began in 1860 when the denomination was founded. B.T. Roberts, one of the main founders, decided for the health of the fledgling denomination not to pursue ordaining women at the same time the denomination was forming. So, the debate raged on at general conferences and in the denominational magazine The Free Methodist (later to become Light and Life magazine) until 1974 when women were officially approved for ordination. The commitment of women in the … Continue reading History is More than Just Remembering Facts: It’s a Call to Action and Reform

A Glance at Women in Ministry in the Free Methodist Denomination

Over the past year as I’ve studied the rhetorical arguments against women in church leadership positions, I’ve noticed that not much has changed over the years. When the Free Methodist denomination was founded B.T. Roberts faced opposition to ordaining women.  He faced so much opposition that he didn’t encourage the new denomination to “officially” appoint women to senior leadership positions for fear it would divide a new, but fragile denomination. As the denomination strengthened and grew women became increasingly important to furthering the denomination’s growth and spreading Christianity. Yet, while women have been officially ordained as pastors for decades (since … Continue reading A Glance at Women in Ministry in the Free Methodist Denomination

Women’s defense of their ministry in the 1890 Free Methodist

The debate continued in The Free Methodist over the next four years, in the May 1890 issue Clara Wetherald wrote a two page defense of her ministry and a woman’s right to be part of the denomination’s governing body. Wetherald, who would go on to become one of the denomination’s first seated female delegates at the 1890 General Conference, noted in her article “Shall Women be Ordained?” that at prior conferences women were not allowed to speak until the delegates voted her approval and that men who were not members of the denomination were allowed to be seated while women … Continue reading Women’s defense of their ministry in the 1890 Free Methodist

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

Equally Capable: Women in Ministry

The 1890 Free Methodist General Conference debate about the ordination of women is one of the most important moments in Free Methodist Church history. The debate about women’s roles still goes on today, making it crucial that we understand our history and our position on this issue. No true Free Methodist should ever say that our denomination supports male headship. If they do they need a firm scolding and to be sent home to read B.T. Roberts “On Ordaining Women” and numerous other documents the denomination has put out throughout the years. Yet it is disturbingly surprising how few people … Continue reading Equally Capable: Women in Ministry