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An Eye on History

 
Portrait of circuit rider Freeborn Garrettson. Courtesy of History of Methodism.

Freeborn Garrettson: Methodism’s Paul Revere

Paul Revere is famous for his ride on April 18, 1775. Learn how a Methodist circuit rider rode 1200 miles to gather the preachers in America to form the church. 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

Clay figure of Freeborn Garrettson made by Greg Killmaster for the 1984 feature film,

The Making of “Clayride,” a Methodist Classic

The claymation clip about the history of the church has many fans. But do you know how it was created? Get the behind-the-scenes scoop from the artists. View

Image from film shows the marquee outside the Dallas Convention Center during the 1968 Uniting Conference.

Methodist History: The Uniting Conference of 1968

Footage captures part of the event that merged the Methodist and Evangelical Brethren Churches and officially desegregated the newly formed United Methodist Church. View

Methodist circuit rider in stained glass, Methodist Sky Chapel, Chicago, IL. Courtesy Chris Light, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Hard Road of a Methodist Circuit Rider

Circuit riders faced difficult and often short lives, but their personal papers suggest that these long haul preachers found great reward in bringing souls to Christ. View

Clay figure of a circuit rider made by Greg Killmaster for the 1984  film,

“Clayride: A Gallop Through United Methodist History”

200 years of Methodist history come to life in a very creative way, using claymation and lighthearted lyrics. 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

1800's photo portrays Belle Harris Bennett, co-founder of Scarritt-Bennett College in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo courtesy of the United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History.

Notable Methodist Women: Scarritt-Bennett’s Outspoken Founder

In the 1890's this "Southern Belle" broke new ground for women in the Methodist Episcopal Church. View

Scene at John Wesley's deathbed is depicted in historic image. Courtesy of United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History.

Secrets of John Wesley’s Death Mask

The founder of Methodism died on March 2, 1791. Hear how a pathologist found clues in the plaster death mask as to Wesley's cause of death and other information. View

Historic images portray John and Susanna Wesley. Courtesy of the General Commission on Archives and History.

Dear Mother: A Letter From John Wesley

The U.S. celebration of Mother's Day inspired us to share a letter home from Methodism's founder to his beloved, and influential, mom. View

Man holds an 1813 Methodist Hymnal that circuit riders would have carried for sale. Video image by United Methodist Communications.

What Books Circuit Riders Carried

Early Methodist circuit riders were more than preachers, the books in their saddlebags carried the religious and social dialogue from the cities to rural America. 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

Photo shows an 1889 catalog of church plans published by the Board of Church Extension of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Methodist History: Church Plans Catalog

Ever notice similar style churches in different cities? There's a reason. Decades before the Sears catalog, the Methodist Church sold church plans. View

Actor Denzel Washington plays Melvin B. Tolson in the Movie 2007 movie,

Great Debate On Black Colleges

In "The Great Debaters" Denzel Washington portrays the coach of a debate team at a tiny Methodist college in Texas called Wiley...an all-black school during a desperate time. View

Public domain image of  Methodist Revivalist Phoebe Palmer

Methodist History: Revivalist Phoebe Palmer

This Methodist feminist and theologian was a popular preacher and speaker at camp revivals, more than a century before women gained clergy rights. 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

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

Hymn writer Fanny Crosby, circa 1915. Image in the public domain.

Fanny Crosby: Legendary Methodist Hymn Writer

Despite being blind, she penned "Blessed Assurance" and "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross" and wrote more hymns than Charles Wesley. View

St. Louis Salvation Army sign in a photo by Thomas Hawk, shared via Flickr, Creative Commons

Methodist History: The Salvation Army

The red kettles are a familiar sight at Christmastime. But did you know the group has deep ties to Methodism and Wesleyan tradition? View

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

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 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

An artist's depiction of Francis Asbury's ordination at the Christmas Conference of 1784 at Lovely Lane Chapel in Maryland.

Methodist History: The Christmas Conference

“Every Methodist preacher in America left their homes and their parish on Christmas Eve. For them the important place to be was in the church forming this denomination." 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

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

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

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

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. "We all need to care more about each other’s stories." 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." Pastor recalls historic effort for voting rights. 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