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Items in Category An Eye on History

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Interior of Lovely Lane United Methodist Church as seen in January of 2014. Photo by Subodh Atal, shared via Facebook.

Lovely Lane:  A Methodist Birthplace

Dedicated on Nov. 6, 1887, this church became one of our most important buildings. “Your feet are truly on holy ground. Your eyes look upward and you see amazing things.” View

A three-handled love feast cup is on display at the United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History in New Jersey.

Methodist History: The What and Why of Love Feasts

John Wesley was influenced by the Moravians in adopting this Christian fellowship meal as a way of building community in the early days of Methodism. View

Image of factory workers. Courtesy of U.S. Library of Congress.

Methodist History: 1908 Social Creed for Workers

Since the time of John Wesley, the Methodist church has taken a strong stance for the rights of workers. View

The United Methodist Building is the only non-governmental structure on Capitol Hill. Courtesy of General Board of Church and Society.

United Methodist Beacon on Capitol Hill

Learn more about the church's unique space in the heart of Washington. “Commitments about the importance of faith in action come together here.” View

The sign at Pennington United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tenn., proclaims a message of hope. File photo by Raymond Landry.

The United Methodist Church: More than a name

Learn how our church's name was chosen. “If you leave the name ‘United’ off you’re leaving off both a significant piece and powerful part of who we are.” Read More

The Rev. D.D. Meighen recounts the story of the first Father's Day service in Fairmont, West Virginia.  Video image by United Methodist Communications.

Methodist History: First Father’s Day at Church

In 1908, a Methodist church hosted the first service specifically honoring fathers. It was an event born from great love, and great pain. View

Photo of Methodist circuit rider Peter Cartwright. Image in the public domain.

Peter Cartwright: Memorable Methodist Circuit Rider

This colorful, early Methodist challenged Abraham Lincoln for political office and won 8-10,000 souls for Christ. View

Exterior view of Barratt's Chapel, a United Methodist Heritage Landmark in Delaware.

Barratt’s Chapel: Independence Hall of American Methodism

Get a drone's eye view of the site where ‘the first truly American-born denomination’ came together. View

Donna Miller of Historic St. George's United Methodist Church in Philadelphia points out images of Ann and Anna Jarvis at the church. Video image by United Methodist Communications.

Methodist History: The Founding Mothers of Mother’s Day

Two women created the holiday that falls on the second Sunday in May in the U.S. but do you know how, and why, they did it? View

Image portray Susanna Wesley, mother of the founders of Methodism. Courtesy of General Commission on Archives and History.

Susanna Wesley: Mother of Methodism

John and Charles Wesley's mom was a strong woman of faith. “The differences she made have lived on because of the sons that she raised.” View

Photo shows portrait of John Wesley who had a conversion experience at Aldersgate. Image courtesy of United Methodist Communications.

How Aldersgate Changed John Wesley

May 24 is Aldersgate Day, a special time for United Methodists. But do you know why? View

Jim Maag points out an item on a church history wall he helped create at First United Methodist Church of Topeka. Maag is on the archive team. Image from video by United Methodist Communications.

Pro Tips for Preserving Local Church History

Archivists share best practices and cost-saving measures to help local churches preserve the past and share their stories. View

A genuine Tiffany glass window depicts Jesus in the Garden. The panel is on display in the lobby of the General Commission on Archives and History in Madison, New Jersey.

Methodist History: Tiffany Church Windows

A preservationist offers a quick way to tell if stained glass windows are valuable Tiffany originals. View

Archive photo of Georgia Harkness Methodist theologian.

Georgia Harkness: Methodist Trailblazer in Theology

During Women's History Month, we explore the powerful impact of an author and hymn writer whose work inspired MLK and remains relevant. View

Methodist deaconess Kathryn Maurer is seen in a 1935 photograph. Courtesy of California State Library.

Kathryn Maurer: Methodist Angel Welcomed Immigrants

Meet a deaconess whose kindness and dedication to those seeking a new life made headlines in her day. View

Methodist reformer Frances Willard is seen in portrait. Courtesy of United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History.

Methodist History: Early Voice for Women’s Rights

Learn more about the 19th century reformer who fought for voting rights and full representation in the Methodist Church. View

Artist's drawing shows sinners seeking repentance at an early Methodist camp meeting. Image in the public domain.

Methodist History: The Mourner’s Bench

Historians say a piece of plain, rustic furniture in early Methodist churches was actually a sacred place of transformation. View

Ushers prepare for the offertory during a Sunday morning service at Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church in Washington D.C. Video image by United Methodist Communications.

Methodist History: Church of Presidents

A United Methodist landmark in Washington, D.C. was built with donations from leaders like Lincoln along with church members across the U.S. View

A student works in the vault at the United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History, based at Drew University in New Jersey. Video image by United Methodist Communications.

Archives & History: Connecting Church Past, Present, Future

Agency preserves the past to inform the future of The United Methodist Church. Take a tour and see the treasures that tell the denomination's story. View

The Rev. James Lawson (left) joins Martin Luther King and Ralph Jackson at a March 1968 press conference. Photo used with permission from the SCLC of California.

James Lawson: Reflections on Life, Nonviolence, Civil Rights, MLK

The United Methodist pastor's parents told him “there’s a better way” than violence to resolve conflict. Those words would shape James Lawson’s life, leadership and ministry. View

Speculative portrait of Annie Sweitzer by Richard C. Douglas, New Windsor, Maryland. Artwork courtesy of Richard C. Douglas and the Strawbridge Shrine Association.

Methodist History: Slave welcomed as one of first members

African-Americans were among the earliest converts to Methodism in America. Annie Sweitzer was one of the first. View

Stained glass window features Shelly Gale, an early deaconess at Mother African Zoar United Methodist Church. Photo by John Coleman.

Methodist History: Mother African Zoar’s Legacy

Pennsylvania congregation has cared for its community for 220 years, and passed on their spirit. 'We birthed five other churches.” View

The Rev. Gilbert Caldwell poses with his wife Grace, and sons Dale and Paul in front of Bryantville United Methodist Church.

Gilbert Caldwell: Voice for Justice and Human Rights

The retired United Methodist pastor reflects on how his relationship with MLK and involvement in the civil rights movement shaped his life and ministry. View

Archive photo of students at Sager Brown, a school and orphanage for African- American children.

Center Honors Black Methodists’ History

Heritage Center highlights important role African Americans play in the story of Methodism. View

The Rev. Ralph Abernathy and his family march with the Rev. and Mrs. Martin Luther King on march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Courtesy: Abernathy Family/Wikimedia Commons.

Eyewitness to Selma: Faith Leaders’ Stand for Civil Rights

“Many people cannot understand the depth of patriotism of Martin King and other civil rights heroes and heroines. View

Image of Methodist Bishop Gilbert Haven. Courtesy: Archives and History.

Methodist History: Bishop Fought Slavery

Gilbert Haven lived in the 19th-century but was progressive in his stances to end slavery, allow interracial marriage, and grant ordination of women. View

Comic books feature the adventures of Methodism's founding fathers, John Wesley and Francis Asbury. The books were published by Ron Kerr Associates, 1976. Image from video by United Methodist Communications.

Comic Books Animate United Methodist History

John Wesley and Francis Asbury join the ranks of action heroes like Batman and The Hulk in comic books designed to educate and entertain. View

Image of the Rev. Charles Albert Tindley. Courtesy of Tindley Temple United Methodist Church, Philadelphia, PA.

Tindley Temple: A Highlight of Methodist History

Learn about a church named for a Methodist preacher who drew huge crowds in the '20s and was a founding father of Gospel music. View

Slanted communion cups allowed Victorian era Methodists to avoid the appearance of drinking alcohol. Video image by United Methodist Communications.

Methodist History: Communion Cups

Have you seen an unusual communion cup set at your church? Learn secrets behind the slanted glassware that many Victorian era Methodists used. View

Choirs perform Christmas hymns at Barratt's Chapel's annual Christmas Carols concert in 2016.Image from video by Kisker Productions for United Methodist Communications.

Christmas Carols at United Methodist Landmark

Step back in time and enjoy traditional hymns at Barratt's Chapel. “Worshipers were singing those same carols here, same notes, same words, 200 years ago, and that’s special.” View

Members of First United Methodist Church of Topeka look at a permanent history wall on display inside the church. Video image courtesy of United Methodist Communications.

Church History Wall Unites Generations

Exhibit captures 160 years of church stories at a glance. “It’s more than just the building. It’s the people, important events, social issues and standing up for justice.” View

Image of Charles Wesley. Courtesy of United Methodist Commission on Archives and History.

Charles Wesley’s Gift of Music

John's younger brother made his own contribution as “the poet laureate and great writer of Methodism.” View

Statue of Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury stands on grounds of Drew University in New Jersey. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Methodism’s American Saint: Bishop Francis Asbury

He died March 31, 1816 and Asbury's efforts helped Methodism become the largest Protestant church body in America just 75 years after his death. View

Videographer captures image of tent at Ocean Grove, NJ. Photo by Fran Coode Walsh.

Historic Methodist Camp is ‘God’s Square Mile’

For some, summertime means heading to one of Methodism's best kept secrets, a spiritual oasis at the beach in New Jersey. View

Chuck Knows Church dresses like John Wesley to tell a little about this founding father of Methodism

Chuck Knows Church: John Wesley

Chuck Knows Church focuses on Methodist founding father, John Wesley and events that sparked the start of a new church. View

Actor portrays the Rev. Simon Blessing, an itinerant Methodist minister from the 1700s. Video image by Chris Foster.

Methodist history comes to life at St. George’s

Philadelphia church offers an experience in time travel for curious United Methodists. And history lessons that ring true today. View

Historic image shows Titanic at sea.  Courtesy Phil Gowan.

Ties to the Titanic: Methodists aboard the famous ship

Among the many intriguing stories of survivors, historian Phil Gowan says a Methodist man married a woman he met on a lifeboat. View

Archivist Frances Lyons-Bristol assists a visitor to the United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History. Video image courtesy of United Methodist Communications.

Preserving Methodist Life Stories

Archivist helps families bring the stories of Methodist preachers and lay people to life. View

The Rev. Gil Caldwell walks with MLK at a rally in Boston in 1958. Courtesy: the Rev. Gil Caldwell.

The Rev. Gil Caldwell: Sharing MLK’s Dream

'One can never be at rest when one knew Martin King.' Retired pastor stood with civil rights leader then, and continues fight for justice today. View

The Rev. James Lawson speaks about nonviolence at First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., the site of a 1961 confrontation between Freedom Riders and an angry mob. 2009 file photo by Kathy L. Gilbert,  United Methodist News Service.

The Rev. James Lawson: Sharing MLK’s Dream

“Love and truth and compassion still are the only ways.” The Rev. James Lawson recalls what he learned from MLK. View

Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery's Ninety Years Birthday Celebration at the Atlanta Symphony Hall, October 9, 2011 included a birthday song by Stevie Wonder.  Next to Rev. Lowery is his wife of 60 years, Evelyn Lowery. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

The Rev. Joseph Lowery: Sharing MLK’s Dream

“The fear of death...never affected his commitment.” The Rev. Joseph Lowery describes his time with Martin Luther King Jr. View

Victor Cyrus-Franklin serves as an assistant pastor at Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles. Photo provided by Victor Cyrus-Franklin.

Victor Cyrus-Franklin: Sharing MLK’s Dream

"We can learn from what happened then to help us learn what...to do now." Young pastor recalls the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. View

The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington was dedicated by President Obama on Oct. 16, 2011. Photo by Maile Bradfield, United Methodist Communications.

United Methodists share MLK’s dream

United Methodists who knew the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. describe how he changed their lives. View

Video image shows building at Strawbridge Shrine historic site in Maryland. Courtesy of United Methodist Communications.

Farmers Who Sowed Methodism in America

Get back to your United Methodist roots. Visit the Maryland farm where a circuit rider and his wife planted the faith among friends and neighbors. View

Photo shows Lake Junaluska in North Carolina. Photo by Kay Panovec, United Methodist Communications.

Lake Junaluska: United Methodist Mountain Retreat

A United Methodist landmark marks 100 years as a place of fun and fellowship. View

Women immigrants who traveled alone were often at risk when they arrived at Ellis Island in the late 19th century. Public domain image.

Methodist History: Welcoming Women Immigrants

Alma Mathews made her mission field Ellis Island. She and others offered a safety net for women traveling alone. View

Archivist, Dale Patterson, shows historic photos from the collection at GCAH

Ministry of Memory (UMTV)

Enjoy a visual trip through Archives and History’s collection of rare and treasured pieces of Methodism. View

An image of Rosa Parks is part of the ‘Icons of the Civil Rights Movement,’ exhibit by United Methodist artist Pamela Chatterton-Purdy. Photo courtesy of Board of Church and Society.

UMTV: Civil Rights Art

United Methodist artist uses works in wood and gold leaf to memorialize 16 people and events critical to the U.S. civil rights movement. View

Bishop James Thomas: Sharing MLK’s Dream

“Martin was about much more than race.” Bishop James Thomas reflects on the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. View

Bishop Felton May at the 2008 United Methodist General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. May is interim chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose. Photo #GC0088. April 24, 2008. Photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications.

Bishop Felton May: Sharing MLK’s Dream

“Thanks be to God for you having the courage to utilize the gifts that God gave you.” Bishop Felton May shares a message to Martin Luther King Jr. View

The Great Auditorium stands in the center of Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Photo by Fran Coode Walsh.

Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium

Constructed in 90 days by ship builders in 1894, this unique house of worship in New Jersey holds a special place in United Methodist history. View

Video image of Bishop Woodie White reading his 2015 letter to Martin Luther King Jr. Courtesy of Candler School of Theology.

Bishop White reads his 2015 letter to MLK

'Is there the belief that black life is not as valued in our nation as white life?' Watch video of this year's message to Martin Luther King Jr. View

Photographer John C. Goodwin holds a copy of the book written by his father.

UMTV: Church Photos of a Lifetime

The 1963 March on Washington inspired John Goodwin to use his lens to bring human struggles into focus View

UMTV: Museum of Methodism

The United Methodist Church's rich history comes to life in a fascinating collection of treasures. View

Francis Asbury's Bible is part of the collection at Historic St. George's UMC in Philadelphia. Photo by Fran Coode Walsh.

Cathedral Church of American Methodism

'I think people, no matter what side of any issue you’re on, love the denomination, love our history. And this is where you can connect to it.' View

Archive photo of students at Sager Brown, a school and orphanage for African- American children.

UMTV: Historic Black Haven

Former Methodist school became a hub for UMCOR volunteers, continuing a rich history of serving needs and shaping lives. View

250-year-old John Street United Methodist is home to the first Methodist congregation in the U.S.  Image by Beyond My Ken, WikiMedia Commons.

Historic Church’s Connection to 9/11

Encore video revisits church near Ground Zero to see how members marked the year after terrorist attacks tested their faith. View

Image from video documentary, “Making the World Their Parish: The Story of Korean United Methodists.” Produced by United Methodist Communications.

History of Korean United Methodists

Documentary traces the path of Korean Methodists, from their immigration to Hawaii to the mainland of America, through rare footage and photos. Read More

montage of John Wesley painting and bust by UMCOM with resources from GCAH

Rural Roots of United Methodism

Methodism's connectional system was born when circuit riders rode hundreds of miles to rural communities. Hear stories of those trailblazers through their letters home. View

Did faith drive Titanic musicians?

This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of the shipwreck that claimed almost 1,500 lives. Did the Titanic band play till the very end? Read More

Historic image shows Titanic at sea.  Courtesy Phil Gowan.

Ties to the Titanic: Methodist Band Members

Historian Phil Gowan says the band leader had Methodist roots, and the last song was probably not View