Religious Leaders Of America's Past-Francis Asbury
Asbury led all the Methodists in America for the next thirty-two years. His leadership was opposed when some prominent members challenged his idea for a ruling council. Thomas Coke advised that a General Conference be established to send delegates.His is the story of a leader of the Methodist religion, It is an important chapter in the history of religion in America.
Courthouses, public houses, Tobacco houses, fields and public squares were Asbury's preaching domain. Anywhere a crowd would assemble was where he would go. He was following the ways of John Wesley, by preaching in unconventional places. He rode about 6000 miles a year to preach, conduct meetings and conferences. The Methodist church in America grew from 1200 to 214,000 members. There were 700 ordained ministers including Richard Allen the first black minister in the United States.
In addition to Asbury riding the circuit there were circuit riders and local ministers who help another full time jobs. Many circuit riders were laymen who traveled by horseback to preach the gospel and establish churches and covered most of the United States of that time.
Rode and preached until his death
Asbury’s himself, between 1772 and 1776 preached in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia During the year of the Revolutionary War until 1780 was partially retired in Maryland and Delaware.
In addition to circuit riders he advocated camp meetings and made them an important part of American Methodism. Camp meetings and made them important to American Methodism.
Bishop Asbury was still on a preaching tour when he died, on March 31, 1816 in Spotsylvania, Virginia. He is buried at mount Olivet Cemetery.
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First Methodist Bishop
Francis Asbury was the first Methodist Bishop in America. He was born August 20, 1745 in Hamstead Bridge, Staffordshire, England. He along with a number of circuit riding preachers spread the Methodist faith on the frontier. For many the circuit riders and lay preachers were the only religious contact they had.
John Wesley, an English Anglican, was the founder of Methodism. It was by and large a movement within the Anglican Church, which was not originally intended to be a separate entity. For example members took sacraments at the Anglican churches. In America the pattern changed. At the Baltimore conference in 1784 it got its official beginning. The tendency was to ignore the established Anglican parishes. It became the Methodist Episcopal Church and had its own chapels. Now it has been absorbed into the United Methodist Church.
His parents were poor so he got his education in common school. The family was He became a local preacher at eighteen and was ordained in the Methodist Church when he was twenty-two. In 1771 he volunteered to go to America. When the American Revolution broke out in 1776 he was the only Methodist Minister who stayed. In 1784 John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, made Asbury and Thomas Coke co-superintendents of the work in America. Thus the “Methodist Church of the USA” was started
Some of the Tributes to Bishop Asbury:
- Asbury and George Whitefield are honored with a feast day on the calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA)
- Three schools are named for Asbury.
- Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky
- Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.
- Francis Asbury Elementary School in Hampton, Virginia.
- DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana was originally Indiana Asbury College.
Asbury Park, N.J. was named for him.In 1921 a statue of him was put in Washington, D.C.In the National Park a hiking trail follows the path Asbury took when crossing the mountains in the early 1800’s.The home he grew up in is now a museum in West Branch, England.
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