Monday, January 01, 2007

This Week in Texas Methodist History December 31

Bishop Simpson Organizes Texas Mission Conference of the MEC, January 3, 1867

In 1865 Texas became a mission field for the MEC for a second time. The first was in 1836 when Texan independence from Mexico opened the door for formal organization of Methodist activities in the Republic. All MEC activities in Texas were suspended during the Civil War. In 1865 the MEC returned to Texas, this time accopanying the victorious Union forces. Through 1865 and 1866 MEC activities in Texas were connected with Louisiana and Mississippi, but on January 3, 1867 Bishop Matthew Simpson organized the Texas Mission Conference of the MEC in Houston.

Few organizing conferences have had so many members. Ninety men stepped forward as original members of the conference, 87 African Americans and 3 German Americans. The biracial nature of the MEC in Texas did not last. The 1872 General Conference allowed annual conferences to divide along racial lines if super majorities of both races agreed to do so. The Texas Mission Conference then split into two African American conferences (the Texas and West Texas) and two European American confernences (one English speaking and one German speaking). The two African American conferences had the longest existence of any Methodist conferences in Texas history. They continued until their incorporation into other conferences in 1970.


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