Saturday, March 01, 2008

This Week in Texas Methodist History March 2

Week set Aside for Prayer and Fasting March 1868

The 1866 General Conference of the MECS authorized the Texas and East Texas Conferences to divide and by doing so create two new conferences. The East Texas Conference broke off its northern section and created the Trinity Conference. That conference was later renamed the North Texas Conference. The Texas Conference broke off its northern counties and created the Northwest Texas Conference. In 1910 that conference again divided into the Central Texas and Northwest Texas Conference.

The new conferences naturally faced some difficulties during the turmoil of Reconstruction. The Northwest Texas Annual Conference met in Springfield in Limestone County in November 1867. The condition of the church reflected the hard times. Several window panes had been blown out on the north side of the building. When a norther hit, attendees scrounged up a stove, and since there was no stove pipe, they just stuck a flue out an open south window. One can imagine the discomfort. The presiding bishop, David S. Doggett worried about coming down with pneumonia so far away from his home in Virginia.

It is little wonder that in such conditions when Bishop Doggett asked the question, “Who is to be admitted?” no one stepped forward. That was a genuine crisis. The church was dependent upon a new class of preachers to replace those who located, died, or transferred. Every preacher in the drafty church knew how serious the problem was. They all knew that their circuits would have to be lengthened to take up the slack. They then appointed the first week of March 1868 as a week of prayer and fasting for God to send new candidates for admission.

Lewis Whipple was able to report answered prayer at the 1868 annual conference. Seven candidates were admitted. Two former members accepted appointments. One Methodist Protestant was admitted. There were also transfers from the Texas and West Texas Conferences—The Northwest Texas Conference had twelve new traveling preachers! (Two preachers had died during the year.)

The increase in ranks was just what the young conference needed. The population within its boundaries was booming as farmers pushed westward. Within a few years the Northwest Texas Conference would report the largest membership of any annual conference in Texas.


Post a Comment

<< Home