Methodist Family - Events By Date

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.

Mary Evans Thorne Appointed Class Leader (1770)

Mary Evans Thorne is believed to be the first woman appointed as a class leader in American Methodism around 1770.

Francis Asbury Arrives in America (1771)

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Evangelical Methodist Church (1946)

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

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.

Methodists Approve Full Ordination of Women (1956)

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

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.

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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