Evangelical Association.At the close of the eighteenth century a great religions awakening took place in the United States, which was at first confined to the English speaking population. In time the revival reached the Germans living in eastern Pennsylvania, whose ancestors in the preceding century had fled from the Rhenish provinces of the Palatinate. Jacob Alhright, a German Methodist minister, who was drawn more and more to his own people, devoted himself to work among them in their own language. It had not been Albright's idea to form a new church, but the opposition of the Methodists to the mode of worship by his converts made a separate organization necessary. In 1790 Albright began to travel as an evangelist. Ten years later he organized a class of converts, which in 1807 was organized as a church at a general assembly held in eastern Pennsylvania. Annual conferences were formed and the first general conference was held in 1816. Albright was elected bishop, articles of faith and the book of disciples were adopted, but the full form of church government was not completed for some years.
While at the beginning the activities of the church were confined to the German language, it was soon widened by taking up work among the English speaking population. The faith spread into the other middle states, west to the Pacific coast, and north into Canada. A division occurred in 1891, which resulted in the organization of the United Evangelical Church, which took a large number of ministers and members. In doctrine and theology the Evangelical Association is Arminian and its articles of faith and plan of organization correspond very closely to those of the Methodist Episcopal church. The bishops are elected by the general conference for a term of four years, but are not ordained or consecrated as such. They have the general oversight of the church, preside at the annual conferences, and, as a board, decide all questions of law between general conference sessions. Presiding elders are elected for four years by the annual conference, pastors are appointed annually, on the itinerant system, the time limit being five consecutive years in any field except a missionary conference.
The Evangelical Association was established in Kansas sometime in the '70s. At first congregations were formed and churches erected in the eastern part of the state, but as settlements pushed farther west the people carried their faith with them and congregations were formed all over the state. In 1890 there were 96 church organizations with 50 church edifices and a membership of 4,459. During a little over a decade and a half the association has increased but about 400, while the United Evangelical church, etablished[sic] in 1891, now has a membership of 547.Page 599-600 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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