Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-03 > 0891196269
From: CyBLOUNT <>
Subject: Re: Scotch-Irish-D Digest V98 #300
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 1998 13:31:09 EST
In a message dated 28/03/98 21:38:28 GMT, you write:
<< I understand that Methodism used "circuits" or traveling ministers. Did
this tend to make record keeping sporadic? >>
As a Methodist Minister can I jump in and try to explain a bit of our jargon ?
There were and are two kinds of "ministers" in British Methodism - "Local
Preacher" and "Itinerant Preacher". The word "Lay" was hardly ever used in
Methodism until the last fifty years. You must also know that after the
death of John Wesley in 1791, Methodism disintegrated into over 40 "branches".
>From about 1860 onwards various groups of Methodists merged until in 1907
there were 3 main groupings - the Wesleyan Methodist Church, the Primitive
Methodist Church and the United Methodist Church. These 3 groups merged in
An Itinerant Preacher - usually called a "Minister" - works for the church
full-time and is supported financially by the church. He (or she since 1970)
has about 6 years training, is "Ordained" and appears in handbooks and would
have had an obituary recorded in the "Minutes of Conference" on death. They
can be stationed anywhere in the world by the ruling body of the church called
All branches of Methodism used a Circuit system. This originated in the
"preaching round" which was followed by itinerant preachers usually on
horseback. In different places it was called a "Round" (as in this part of
Yorkshire where I now live) and in other places it was called a "Circuit", and
the word "Circuit" gradually took over. Ministers were appointed to a Circuit
and the senior minister was called a "Superintendent", and he allocated the
pastoral responsibility to the rest of his team. Within the Circuit there
could be as many as fifty "preaching places" - most of them were "Chapels",
but some of them were in people's homes and even at sites in the open air.
Usually it was the responsibility of the Itinerant to keep records of those
who were "members", who met regularly in "classes" for Bible teaching and
prayer, and who were issued with a "ticket" to show they belonged.
A Local Preacher works for the church part-time and is not paid. He (or she
- there have always been female Local preachers) has about 3 years training,
is "Recognised" and only appears on what is known as "The Circuit Plan" - a
local quarterly list which tells the preacher where he or she will be expected
to lead worship during the next three months. Old plans (ie pre-1932) are
like gold-dust and there is a Society of folk who collect such items. Local
Preachers minister where they live and work.
During the 19th Century more and more Methodist Societies started to
administrer the sacraments in their own chapels. They began to keep baptism
registers, and later marriage registers. A few chapels had graveyards and
they kep burial registers. It was the Minister's (Itinerant's) job to keep
these registers. Where local chapels were small a "Circuit Register" was
kept and the minister took it around with him when he did a christening.
Most British Methodist records have been deposited with the county record
office or the locla history department in the town library. The old and
valuable records have been deposited in the John Rylands Library at Manchester
|Re: Scotch-Irish-D Digest V98 #300 by CyBLOUNT <>|