First Methodist Missionary Societies Organized
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Time Period
1819
Description
In the 18th and 19th centuries, American Methodism had naturally revolved around evangelism due to the youth of the movement. The words "missionary" and "preacher" often were synonymous, and circuit riders volunteered to spread the gospel across the states.

However, Methodists did not have any formal organizations dedicated to missionary work until 1819. Prominent Methodists like Nathan Bangs and Joshua Soule met with others in New York to draft a constitution for the missionary society, which was ratified on April 5, 1819. Around the same time, a missionary society was forming in Philadelphia, making both New York and Philadelphia the birthplace of the first two Methodist missionary societies.

Despite hope in a formal missionary organization, the missionary societies were largely unsuccessful. Methodism continued to grow, but the growth came more organically through recruiting blacks and immigrants, not through the strategies brought about by the missionary societies.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Methodist Religious Events and People in American History
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Methodist Religious Events and People in American History
Religious Groups
Methodist/Pietist Family: Other ARDA Links

Movements
Missionary Movement
Photographs

Methodist Episcopal Missionary Society annual report logo- Hathi Trust

Nathan Bangs portrait- Hathi Trust- from A History of the Methodist Episcopal Church by Nathan Bangs

Joshua Soule portrait- Hathi Trust- from Life of Joshua Soule by Horace M. Du Bose

Methodist Book Concern and Missionary Society building, New York- Hathi Trust- from Missions and Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church by J. M. Reid
Book/Journal Source(s)
Bucke, Emory Stevens, 1964. The History of American Methodism. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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