December 18, 2015 – May 14, 2016
“Dust, fever, and too much company, these are my trials: peace, and perfect love, these are my consolations.” Francis Asbury, April 13, 1815
Francis Asbury, the “Father of American Methodism,” was born in Staffordshire, England in 1745. At the age of twenty-one, Asbury became an itinerant lay preacher in the Methodist movement. Five years later, in 1771, he accepted John Wesley’s call for volunteers to cross the Atlantic and minister in British North America.
Highly regarded for his piety, perseverance, and administrative leadership, Asbury was ordained a Deacon, an Elder, and a General Superintendent (Bishop) during the 1784 founding “Christmas Conference” of the Methodist Episcopal Church. During his forty-five year ministry in North America, Asbury rode an estimated one hundred thirty thousand miles, preaching more than ten thousand sermons and ordaining an estimated seven hundred clergy. Under Bishop Asbury’s leadership, Methodism in North America grew from less than one thousand members in 1771 to over two hundred thousand in 1816.
This exhibition honors the memory of Bishop Francis Asbury by presenting fifteen documents and publications that detail Asbury’s ministry.