Alma Bridwell White Becomes First Female Bishop
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Evangelist and women’s rights activist Alma Bridwell White (1862-1946) was the wife of a Methodist pastor who drew the ire of Methodist officials after she began preaching at revivals and in her own husband’s church.

In 1901, she founded the breakaway Methodist Pentecostal Union in Denver, Colo., later moving the church’s headquarters to Zarephath, N.J. As the movement continued to expand, its name was changed to Pillar of Fire, after the well-known magazine White had established.

In 1918, she was consecrated bishop of Pillar of Fire, becoming the first woman bishop of a Christian church in America.

In the 1920s, White was a vocal supporter of the Ku Klux Klan, publishing two faith-based books in their defense -- The Ku Klux Klan in Prophecy (1925) and Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty (1926).

She remained senior bishop of Pillar of Fire until her death.
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Women and Religion
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Women and Religion in American History
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Bishop Alma White portrait- Wikimedia Commons

Alma White portrait- Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ggbain-03770
Book/Journal Source(s)
Melton, J. Gordon, 2009. Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions, Eighth Edition. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale.
Web Source(s)
Encyclopedia Britannica, "Alma Bridwell White"
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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