On this date, August 23, in the year 1860 the Free Methodist Church was organized. Read the account now from Wilson T. Hogue’s History of the Free Methodist Church.
“In accordance with the provisions of the last Laymen’s Convention, a Delegated Convention was called at Pekin, Niagara County, N.Y., August 23rd, 1860, to confer as to the best mode of extending the work which God had so graciously begun among them. The Convention was called to order, and opened with devotional exercises. Isaac M. Chesbrough, of Pekin, was elected Chairman, and Rev. A. A. Phelps, Secretary. The body, duly organized, was composed of sixty members – fifteen preachers, and forty-five laymen. [B.T. Roberts, in an editorial account of the Convention in the Earnest Christian, gives the number as "eighty laymen and fifteen preachers' - W.T.H.] Most of the business was transacted on the camp-ground–a spot newly consecrated by the outpouring of God’s Spirit and the salvation of precious souls. The deliberations of the Convention resulted in the organization of the Free Methodist Church, and the adoption of their first Discipline.”*
The call for this Convention read as follows: A Convention will be held at Pekin, for the purpose of adopting a Discipline for the Free Methodist Church, to commence at the close of the camp-meeting, August 23rd. All Societies and Bands that find it necessary, in order to promote the prosperity and permanency of the work of holiness to organize a Free Methodist Church on the following basis, are invited to send delegates:
1. Doctrines and usages of primitive Methodism, such as the witness of the Spirit, entire sanctification as a state of grace distinct from justification, attainable instantly by faith; free seats, congregational singing, without instrumental music in all cases; plainness of dress.
2. An equal representation of ministers and laymen in all the councils of the Church.
3. No slaveholding and no connection with secret, oath-bound societies.
Each Society or Band will be entitled to send one delegate at least, and an additional one for every forty members.
There were grave doubts in the minds of some who participated in this Convention as to the expediency of proceeding to organize a new Church at that time. The matter was freely discussed, however, after which a considerable majority voted in favor of proceeding with the work of organization. The Rev. S.K.J. Chesbrough, who had hitherto taken a prominent part in the Laymen’s Conventions, has expressed his attitude at that time.
You may read his statement and more by visiting the following website site and going to the table of contents page and choose chapter XXXII The Free Methodist church Organized http://www.swartzentrover.com/cotor/E-Books/freemeth/hogue/hfmc/vol_1/1hfmcindex.htm
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*Bowen’s “Origin of the Free Methodist Church,” p.229.