Saturday, December 06, 2008

This Week in Texas Methodist History December 7

John McFerrin Addresses Texas Annual Conference about Missions, December 9, 1872

John B. McFerrin, Secretary of the Mission Board of the MECS, addressed the Texas Annual Conference meeting at Bryan on December 9, 1872. The Secretary recalled taking up collections for the Texas Mission decades earlier.

McFerrin (b. 1807) was the most prominent MECS minister of the mid-nineteenth century not to have been elected bishop. He joined the Tennessee Conference in 1825 and became editor of the Christian Advocate (Nashville edition) in 1840. He remained as editor until serving in the Confederate chaplaincy. After the war, he became Secretary of the Mission Board.

His denominational activities and published works made him well-known across the MECS. He had wide support for election to the episcopacy, but his wife had just died before the 1854 General Conference, and he was deathly ill during the 1866 General Conference.

McFerrin’s participation in the 1872 Texas Annual Conference was in support of the Mission Board. He recalled that when he was a young preacher in Tennessee, he took up a collection for the Texas Mission. One of the missionaries supported by that collection, was, of course, Robert Alexander, who was in attendance. McFerrin commented on Alexander’s presence.

. . .while many whom he had named had died, he in the providence had lived to see Dr. Alexander in a missionary meeting in Texas, laboring to raise means to send the Gospel to regions beyond.

McFerrin served as Mission Board Secretary for 12 years. He was a delegate to several General Conferences and the 1884 Centennial Celebration in Baltimore. He wrote several valuable books including the History of Methodism in Tennessee. He died in Nashville in 1887.


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