The Methodist Tradition in Canada: Part 1

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May 15, 2006 by Joseph Krohn

The following is a short outline of Methodism and its early developments in what is now Canada. It comes from my short historical anaylsis paper on the history and development of the Methodist societies in Canada.

  • 1766 – Arrival of Laurence Coughlan, in Newfoundland and marked the beginning of the work there amongst the Protestant English and Irish settlers.
  • 1771 – William Black, born in England but raised in Nova Scotia, commenced evangelizing in the Maritimes, his work falling under the supervision of British Wesleyans in 1800. In 1855 this body formed the Wesleyan Methodist Conference of Eastern British America.
  • 1774 – Barbara and Paul Heck, brought Methodism from New York to Upper Canada. They were United Empire Loyalists. Paul took up arms for the British and his farm was confiscated in Vermont and he and his family fled to Montreal.
  • 1791 – William Losee, of the Methodist Episcopal Church (U.S.A.), established on Christmas Day in 1784, began work in among British immigrants to Upper Canada.
  • 1828 – the Methodist Episcopal work in Canada had formally severed ties with the U.S.A. In 1833 most of it joined with the British Wesleyans to form the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Canada, adding to itself the Methodist people of Lower Canada in 1854. That part of it which absented itself from the union re-formed into the Methodist Episcopal Church of Canada (1834), eventually growing into the second largest Methodist body in Canada.
  • 1874 – In turn the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Canada and the Wesleyan Methodist Conference of Eastern British America united in 1874, annexing as well the Methodist New Connection Church in Canada (itself an amalgam of several small groups), thereby forming the Methodist Church of Canada.
  • 1884 – Methodist Church of Canada joined with the Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada, together with the Bible Christian Church of Canada and the Primitive Methodist Church in Canada, bringing to birth the Methodist Church (Canada, Newfoundland and Bermuda.) This lattermost union made the Methodist Church the largest Protestant denomination in Canada.
  • 1925 – the Methodist Church united with 70% of the Presbyterian Church in Canada and 96% of the Congregational Union of Canada to form The United Church of Canada.
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