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Francis Asbury

On September 4, 1771, 22-year-old English lay-preacher Francis Asbury boarded a ship bound for America. He would remain there for the rest of his life. 

In December of 1784, he oversaw The Christmas Conference where he was ordained a pastor and consecrated the first bishop of the newly founded Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Under Bishop Asbury’s direction, the Methodist Episcopal Church grew from 1,200 to 214,000 members and more than 700 ordained preachers. 

Dramatist Peyton Dixon reenacts Bishop Asbury's arrival at Historic St. George's United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during a celebration of the 250th anniversary of Asbury's journey. Still of video by The United Methodist Church.
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Francis Asbury

The Asbury Crossing: U.S. event highlights

In October 2021, The United Methodist Church celebrated the 250th anniversary of Bishop Francis Asbury's arrival in Philadelphia, PA.

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View of the original glasses and powder horn carried by the Rev. Francis Asbury, a sampling of thousands of historic items housed at the General Commission on Archives and History at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Note that the quill and ink bottle are original examples used in the time of Asbury but not attributed to being his own items.  Images courtesy of the General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church. A UMNS photo by Kathleen Barry, November 2010.
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Inspiring Videos

Francis Asbury: A Flame Spirit

A brief documentary of the life of the first American Methodist Bishop who traveled to the American territories where he spent his life preaching.

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