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Colonial Period (1607-1763)

Colonial America took root in Virginia in 1607 and gained momentum when the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts. By 1760, there were two million settlers.

King Philip's War (1675-1676)

For 14 months (1675-1676), Indians raided settlements and colonialists launched counterattacks. It ended after King Philip, the chief of the Wampanoag Indian tribe, was assassinated.

The First Great Awakening (1733-1770)

The First Great Awakening (1730s-1770s) was a series of religious revivals that propelled the expansion of evangelical denominations in the colonies.

John and Charles Wesley Visit America (1736-1737)

In 1736, John and Charles Wesley arrived in Savannah, Georgia. Although disappointing, the mission impacted the early stages of Methodism.

George Whitefield's First American Preaching Tour (1739-1740)

George Whitefield's preaching tour (1739-1740) helped propel his career as the preeminent revivalist of the First Great Awakening.

First Methodist Societies Established (1763-1766)

From 1763 to 1766, the first Methodist societies in America were established in Maryland, Virginia, and New York.

First Wesleyan Missionaries Arrive in America (10/20/1769)

Though Methodists were already in America, John Wesley sent Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmore to America in 1769 in order to further spread Methodism.

Francis Asbury Arrives in America (1771)

Methodist missionary Francis Asbury travels from England to America in 1771 and becomes the leader of American Methodism.

American Revolution (4/19/1775-9/3/1783)

When the first shots were fired in 1775, the Colonies didn’t even have a military. Eight years later, the United States had defeated England.

Wesley's A Collection of Hymns, for Use of the People Called Methodists (1780)

This 1780 hymnbook, written by John Wesley, became the definitive hymnbook for Methodists.

Founding Period (1783-1791)

With independence won, the United States of America began creating a new government during the Founding Period (1783-1791), including the selection of the first president.

Methodist Episcopal Church (1784)

In 1784, the Methodist Episcopal Church became the first official Methodist denomination in the United States.

Thomas Coke's Anti-Slavery Resolution, "Christmas Conference" (1784)

The Christmas Conference of 1784 allowed American Methodists to establish their new denominational identity in the United States and to reaffirm their opposition to slavery.

The Second Great Awakening (1790-1840)

The Second Great Awakening(s) (1790s-1840s) fueled the rise of an evangelical Protestant majority in antebellum America, giving rise to new denominations and social reform organizations.

Westward and Southern Expansion (1790-1848)

The United States of America began pushing beyond the boundaries of its original 13 states, until its holdings spanned from sea to sea (1790-1848).

James O'Kelly's Congregational Revolt (1792)

In 1792, James O'Kelly, concerned with the power of bishops, led the first schism in the American Methodist Church.

First Camp Meeting, Rehoboth, NC (1794)

In 1794, Daniel Asbury and the Methodists held the first recognized camp meeting in the United States.

Church of the United Brethren in Christ (1800)

In 1800, the Church of the United Brethren in Christ formed as a result of evangelizing German immigrants. It is the first uniquely American denomination.

War of 1812 (1812-1815)

The War of 1812 (1812-1815) is often called the second American Revolutionary War, because it again pitted America against Britain.

Union Church of Africans (1813)

In 1813, the Union Church of Africans became the first independently organized black church in the United States.

African Methodist Episcopal Church (1816)

In 1816, the African Methodist Episcopal Church formed after years of unequal treatment with white Methodists. It is the oldest existing African-American denomination in the U.S.

Death of Francis Asbury (1816)

Francis Asbury’s 1816 death marked the end of an influential 55-year ministry, but American Methodists continued to flourish following his death.

First Methodist Missionary Societies Organized (1819)

In 1819, American Methodists organized their first missionary societies in New York and Philadelphia.

African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (1821)

The African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church formed in 1821 as a response to racial discrimination and segregation.

The Christian Advocate First Published (1826)

In 1826, the Methodist Episcopal Church commissioned the Christian Advocate, a weekly newspaper that became one of the most popular periodicals in the country.

Indian Manual Training School Founded in Oregon (1835)

In 1835, Methodist missionaries established a mission and manual labor school for American Indians, which was largely unsuccessful.

Publication of Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee (1836)

Jarena Lee’s 1836 autobiography is one of the first extended life accounts of a black woman in America.

Emory University Founded (12/10/1836)

In 1836, the Methodist Episcopal Church founded Emory College in Georgia.

Wesleyan College (12/23/1836)

In 1836, Wesleyan College was founded in Macon, GA. It is the oldest college for women in the world.

Duke University Founded (1838)

A group of Methodists and Quakers founded a subscription school in 1838 that would eventually become Duke University.

Sojourner Truth's Methodist Conversion (1843)

In 1843, Sojourner Truth converted to Methodism and found her calling as an important social activist for blacks as well as women.

The Wesleyan Methodist Church Connection (1843)

In 1843, abolitionists split from the Methodist Episcopal Church over slavery and church governance.

Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1845)

In 1845, the contentious issue of American slavery divided the Methodist Episcopal Church into Northern and Southern denominations.

First Wave of Feminism (1848-1920)

The 72-year struggle to grant women the right to vote evolved as the central theme of the first wave of American feminism (1848-1920).

Congregational Methodist Church (1852)

In 1852, the Congregational Methodist Church broke off from the Methodist Episcopal Church, South over church governance disputes.

Publication of Autobiography of Peter Cartwright (1856)

Peter Cartwright’s Autobiography (1856) recounts the famous Methodist circuit rider’s life, from his conversion to his encounters with famous American figures.

Free Methodist Church (1860)

Benjamin Titus Roberts and John Wesley Redfield founded the Free Methodist Church in 1860 after failing to reform the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Freedmen's Aid Society (1861)

In the 1860s, the Freedmen’s Aid Society formed with the goal of increasing educational opportunities for blacks in the American South.

Civil War (1861-1865)

The Civil War (1861-1865) was fought between the U.S. government and 11 southern states. The Union prevailed, slaves were freed, and nearly 700,000 people died.

John Chivington Leads Sand Creek Massacre (11/29/1864)

In 1864, former Methodist Episcopal Church pastor John Chivington led a massacre against Colorado Native Americans, now known as the Sand Creek Massacre.

Reconstruction and Industrialization (1865-1890)

During the Reconstruction and Industrialization period (1865-1890), the South struggled to recover after the Civil War. Meanwhile, United States was emerging as an industrial giant.

Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (1870)

In 1870, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church formed after southern black Methodists desired to form their own denomination following the Civil War.

Fanny Crosby Writes "Blessed Assurance" (1873)

Fanny Crosby’s "Blessed Assurance" (1873) became one of the most popular Christian hymns.

Vanderbilt University Founded (1873)

In 1873, Vanderbilt University was founded in Nashville, Tennessee with the initial goal of training local Methodist ministers.

Female Ordination Controversy in Methodist Episcopal Church (1880)

In 1880, Anna Howard Shaw and Anna Oliver both were denied ordination rights by the Methodist Episcopal Church, stirring tensions regarding female ordination.

Jim Crow Laws (1890-1965)

Abolition freed the slaves, but blacks were kept segregated from whites in the South through local and state regulations known as Jim Crow laws (1890-1965).

Pilgrim Holiness Church (1897)

The Pilgrim Holiness Church (1897) was originally a Methodist prayer league that grew into a denomination by the early 20th century.

President McKinley Addresses Methodist Ministers on Philippines (11/21/1899)

On November 21, 1899, President William McKinley told Methodist leaders that he had been divinely inspired to annex the Philippines.

The Methodist Social Creed Adopted (1908)

In 1908, the Methodist Episcopal Church developed an official creed to address social problems of poverty and child labor exploitation.

World War I (1914-1919)

World War I (1914-1919) began in Europe, but grew into an unprecedented global conflict with 65 million troops. It was called the Great War.

Prohibition (1920-1933)

The 18th amendment made the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcohol illegal in the United States for 13 years (1920-1933).

Great Depression (1929-1939)

The Great Depression (1929-1939) brought the biggest economic upheaval in U.S. history. Millions of people were unemployed, banks/businesses failed, and there was sweeping poverty.

World War II (1939-1945)

With the rise of Adolf Hitler, Germany began annexing neighboring countries, leading to the second World War (1939-1945) and the deadliest conflict in world history.

Northern and Southern Factions of the Methodist Episcopal Church Reunite (5/10/1939)

The Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South reunited in 1939, nearly a century after the issue of slavery divided them.

John R. Mott Awarded Nobel Peace Prize (1946)

In 1946, John R. Mott was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting religious peace through his ecumenical efforts

Evangelical Methodist Church (1946)

In 1946, the Evangelical Methodist Church formed in response to fears of liberalism within the Methodist Church.

Cold War (1947-1991)

The antagonistic relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, known as the Cold War (1947-1991), lasted for nearly half a century.

Vietnam War (1955-1975)

America’s two-decade involvement in the Vietnam War (1955-1975) was costly and divisive. It claimed more than 58,000 U.S. lives and cost 140 billion dollars.

Methodists Approve Full Ordination of Women (1956)

In 1956, the Methodist Church finally permitted the full ordination of women after years of resistance.

Rise of Equal Rights Movements (1962)

The social justice movements of the 1960s were infectious, giving rise to women, racial minorities, and LGBT groups seeking equal rights in the United States.

United Methodist Church (1968)

In 1968, Methodist Episcopal Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged to form the United Methodist Church, the largest Methodist denomination in the United States.

Wesleyan Church (6/26/1968)

In 1968, the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the Pilgrim Holiness Church merged to form the Wesleyan Church.

Marjorie Matthews Elected Bishop (7/17/1980)

Marjorie Matthews was elected bishop in the United Methodist church in 1980. She was the first female elected bishop of any mainline Christian church.

9/11 (9/11/2001)

On September 11, 2001 ("9/11"), al-Qaeda terrorists crashed two planes into the Twin Towers and one into the Pentagon. More than 3,000 people died.

UMC General Conference Denies Sexuality Amendment (2008-2012)

In 2008 and 2012, the United Methodist Church denied changes in the Book of Discipline, which would have permitted a more liberal stance on homosexuality.


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