The film "Clayride: A Gallop Through United Methodist History" is a clever, fun presentation of 200 years of Methodist history set to music and claymation. The project was produced in 1984 and it's still a YouTube favorite with confirmation classes and members of The United Methodist Church.
Well back when our country was very young, John Wesley said, "There's a job to be done."
Young Francis Asbury said, "Send me," so they put him on a boat and sailed across the sea.
He didn't know the tea party was a brewin' and the American Revolution was stewin'
And by the time that the war was won, why a brand new church was just begun
Right here in the U. S. of A.
Freeborn Garrettson rode for weeks all over the countryside
callin' all the preachers to Baltimore for a Christmas Conference.
Asbury became a bishop, a new denomination was formed,
and they called it the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Well there were three different groups in those early days,
and they were going their own separate ways.
Started their own publishing houses you see, to get the word out more effectively.
There were Methodists, Episcopals, United Brethren too,
and the Evangelical Association who would all get together on down the line
"How d'ya do"
They just didn't know it right at the time
The country was growing from shore to shore
And so were the Methodists who once more
They were traveling and preaching to the countryside
And all the ministers went on a circuit ride!
"Whew, that was tough!"
The rain, the sleet, the snow…
On horseback you see, and when the weather was real bad
people used to say it was only fit for crows and Methodist preachers.
And the spirit was movin' in those early days
Y'know, camp meetings all over the place, and churches started popping up everywhere.
But the country growing like it did, there were problems too that couldn't be hid
Just look at the Indians in the situation, the government sent them to a reservation.
Yeah, some Methodists didn't like that at all, uh-uh.
They marched right along with them on the Trail of Tears out West.
Now the nation wasn't even a century old, when someone yelled, "California gold!"
Come and get it!
Half the country went out West, including some of those Methodists
Of course there were some other folks already out there; wonder what they thought?
"¿Que reveló es este?"
Now the government was a democracy
And the lay people said, "That's the way it should be!"
In the church everybody should have a say, but everybody didn't always see it that way.
Then somebody else said the land of the free has got to do something about slavery
No sooner had they opened their mouth, than a war broke out between the north and the south.
And there were Methodists on both sides.
When it was all over folks began to see, all of God's children got to be free
That wasn't the end of it, hm-mmm, even today the struggle goes on
Now the nation was growing by leaps and bounds,
and everywhere Methodists could be found.
They started missions and hospitals and colleges too,
they went to India and China and Timbuktu!
Now the age of machine soon was here, and there were cities and factories far and near,
And the Methodists saw there were workers in need, so they adopted themselves a Social Creed.
(an end to child labor… the right of workers to organize… one day of rest…)
And the women kept on and made some more dents,
and finally got seated at General Conference
And they worked real hard to get the right to vote
and put up the first sail on the temperance boat
Well we been through lots in 200 years, there's been war and gore and lots of tears
And some of the folks who split back then decided to get together again
Now we have our fussin' and fightin' and fits
But we're still called… United Methodists
Now ain't that something?
"Clayride" was produced by United Methodist Communications in 1984 with clay animation by Greg Killmaster and music by Gene Cotton. Learn about about the making of "Clayride" from Killmaster and Cotton.
This video was first posted on February 14, 2018.