THE FREE METHODIST CHURCH
The Free Methodist Church was formed out of a movement to bring renewal to the Methodist Episcopal Church during the mid-1800’s. The movement never set out to form a new denomination, but was instead advocating for a return to Methodist ideals within the Methodist Episcopal Church that had been compromised during the nineteenth century – most notably the denouncement of slavery, and the pursuit of holiness in the life of the believer. They also became outraged at the renting of church pews to raise money that resulted in the poor being left standing at the back of a church service, even when there were unoccupied seats. The controlling establishment, however, rejected this movement, and cast out its leaders, who eventually met at Pekin, N.Y., in 1860 and formed the Free Methodist church under the leadership of B.T. Roberts.
The fledgling denomination soon grew in an explosion of church planting and mission. By the late 1800’s the denomination had grown across the northern United States and the number of churches in the Pacific Northwest region had become so numerous that it had to be split into three groups called “annual conferences.” One of these conferences was the Oregon Conference of the Free Methodist church, which was inaugurated in 1895 with 51 churches across the state.
Today the Free Methodist Church has more than 1.3 million members in nearly 90 countries world-wide, and is growing year on year. For more information feel free to investigate the links below.