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American Saint Francis Asbury and the Methodists$
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John Wigger

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195387803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387803.001.0001

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“Like a moving fire”

“Like a moving fire”

(p.313) 19 “Like a moving fire”
American Saint Francis Asbury and the Methodists

John Wigger (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Francis Asbury’s mother, Elizabeth Asbury, died in January 1802, severing his last tie to England. The revival sweeping through American Methodism continued unabated, with an increase of more than 30,000 members in 1802 and 1803. Camp meetings were an important component of this success. Asbury began encouraging their use as early as 1802. For Methodists, camp meetings were a logical extension of the quarterly meeting system. Methodists more readily incorporated camp meetings and accommodated the accompanying enthusiasm (including “the jerks”) than did the Presbyterians or Baptists. Contrary to past accounts, for Methodists the revival was not tied in any meaningful way to the frontier. Though Presbyterians and Methodists initially worked together to promote the revival in the West, by 1809 most of this goodwill had evaporated.

Keywords:   Elizabeth Asbury, Baptists, camp meetings, enthusiasm, frontier, jerks, Presbyterians, quarterly meeting, revival

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