Asbury, Francis 
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Time Period
8/20/1745  - 3/31/1816
Description
Reared in the Church of England, Francis Asbury converted to Methodism after a religious experience in 1763. He became an itinerant preacher in England, and eventually answered John Wesley’s call to spread Methodism to the American colonies.

Asbury’s time in America became turbulent during the American Revolution. Because John Wesley was against the war, many colonists suspected American Methodists of sympathizing with England. Although many Methodist missionaries fled back to England, Asbury was the only one to stay behind and continue evangelizing. After the war ended, Asbury became the preeminent leader of American Methodism, and John Wesley appointed him and Thomas Coke as superintendents (or later, bishops).

During his career, Asbury traveled 300,000 miles, delivered 16,500 sermons, and ordained 4,000 preachers. His aggressive missionary style gave rise to Methodist circuit riders, unmarried clergy who traveled across various territories spreading Methodism. He continued to evangelize up until his death in 1816.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Prominent Religious Events and People in American History
Methodist Religious Events and People in American History
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Prominent Religious Events and People in American History
Methodist Religious Events and People in American History
Narrative
Francis Asbury was born close to Birmingham, England on August 20, 1745. Although reared in the Church of England, he converted to Methodism after a religious experience in 1763. His career trajectory changed from blacksmith apprentice to Methodist itinerant preacher in England, and in 1771 he responded to John Wesley’s call for Methodist missionaries to aid the movement in America.

Asbury’s time in America became turbulent during the American Revolution. Because John Wesley was against the war, many colonists suspected American Methodists of sympathizing with England. Although many Methodist missionaries fled back to England during this time, Asbury was the only one to stay behind and continue aiding the Methodist movement in America. After the war ended, Asbury became the preeminent leader of American Methodism, and John Wesley appointed both him and Thomas Coke as superintendents (or later, bishops). The ordination was officially recognized during the Christmas Conference in Baltimore on December 24, 1784.

During his ministerial career, Asbury traveled approximately 300,000 miles, delivered 16,500 sermons, and ordained 4,000 preachers. As an aggressive evangelist, his missionary style gave rise to Methodist circuit riders, clergy who traveled across various territories spreading Methodism. He continued his missionary work up until his death at Spotsylvania, Virginia on March 31, 1816.
Religious Groups
Methodist/Pietist Family: Other ARDA Links

Events
Death of Francis Asbury
Methodist Episcopal Church
Francis Asbury Arrives in America
Thomas Coke's Anti-Slavery Resolution, "Christmas Conference"
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
Photographs

Francis Asbury portrait- National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Francis Asbury portrait- Internet Archive- from The Heart of Asbury's Journal

Francis Asbury portrait- Internet Archive- from Francis Asbury, A Biographical Study by Horace M. Du Bose

Francis Asbury statue- Library of Congress, LC-DIG-highsm-09622
Book/Journal Source(s)
Queen, Edward, Stephen Prothero and Gardiner Shattuck, 1996. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History. New York: Facts on File.
Reid, Daniel, Robert Linder, Bruce Shelley, and Harry Stout, 1990. Dictionary of Christianity in America. Downers Grove, IL.
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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