In the late nineteenth century a gender battle was brewing in the Free Methodist Church. Since the denomination’s founding in 1860, women had pursued ordination. With the support of the denomination’s founder, Benjamin Titus Roberts, women began to wage a fierce editorial campaign in the pages of the denominational weekly magazine, The Free Methodist and the quadrennial special publication General Conference Dailies. The articles written by women and in defense of women’s roles in the denomination illustrate that the ‘woman issue’ was fiercely debated in nineteenth century American culture in numerous contexts. The Free Methodist debate occurred at a crucial time in American evangelical history when other similar denominations were also debating women’s roles in the church. It was a time when the evangelical movement could move forward and remain progressive or begin to deteriorate into the dogmatism of early twentieth century fundamentalism.
Keywords: United States, religious periodical, ordination, nineteenth century, gender roles, Free Methodist
How to Cite:
Mesaros-Winckles, C., (2017) “Hear our plea: Voices of early free Methodist women in denominational print culture”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture 8(3), p.25-46. doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/wpcc.132