Saturday, December 08, 2007

This Week in Texas Methodist History December 9

Delegates Assemble in Baltimore to Celebrate Centennial Dec. 9, 1884

300 delegates from the MEC, MEC South, AME, AMEZ, CME, Primitive Methodist Church, and the Methodist Church of Canada assembled in Baltimore’s First Methodist Church, the descendant of Lovely Lane Meeting House, to celebrate communion on Tuesday, December 9, 1884. They were in Baltimore for the Centennial Celebration in honor of the founding of the Methodist Episcopal Church in that place in 1784.

The service began with the hymn, See How Great a Flame Aspires, Kindled by a Spark of Grace. After a prayer, the congregation sang, I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord. Bishop E. G. Andrews (MEC) delivered the welcoming address. Responses were given by J. B. McFerrin (MECS) and J. C. Price (AMEZ). McFerrin, well known to many Texans in his role as Mission Secretary, claimed to be the only delegate present who had also been at the 1836 General Conference (Cincinnati) and 1840 General Conference (Baltimore). He claimed sixty years in the itinerant ministry—a record no one there challenged.
The Texans who were named delegates were as follows:

MEC The Rev. C. L. Madison—Austin
MECS Clergy
Ygnacio Sanchez Rivera—San Antonio
Homer Thrall—San Antonio
A. H,. Sutherland—San Antonio
R. S. Finley—Tyler
M. H. Neeley—Terrell
Thomas H. Rogers—San Felipe
T. R. Bonner—Tyler
August Bering—Houston
Thomas Folts—Austin
D. H. Snyder—Georgetown
Asa Holt—Terrell
Wm. Headen--Laredo

An examination of the Proceedings reveals at least some of the Texans participated in the program and discussions. Homer Thrall served as celebrant at one of the worship services. Ygnacio Sanchez Rivera addressed the delegates for fifteen minutes on the evangelization of the Mexican border. He spoke in Spanish, and Rev. Sutherland translated. Jesse Boring, a Georgian who served for a while in Texas, delivered an historical address on Francis Asbury.

The program for the following week consisted of worship and lectures followed by discussion. The real value was probably maintaining relations among the various branches of the Wesleyan movement. Events such as this were one factor in keeping alive the prospect of the reunification of the northern and southern branches of the church. That was finally accomplished in 1939.


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