METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH (STRASBURG, PA.)
Class leader's minutes, 1863-1874.
MANUSCRIPT NUMBER 129
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CITATION: Methodist Episcopal Church (Strasburg, Pa) Class leader's minutes, MSS 129, Archives and Manuscripts Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
John Wesley instituted the practice of class meetings in the 1730s as a way to provide close supervision of persons who were a part of the Methodist societies. This practice continued as the Methodist church took shape in America.
The membership of each church, along with persons desiring to become members of the church, was divided into small groups and a class leader was assigned to each group. The class leader was responsible for visiting each group member at least once each week and taking note of illness or inappropriate behavior. Class leaders acted as assistants to the pastor by providing spiritual guidance for the persons in their class. They were responsible for collecting monetary offerings from each class member and keeping records of these contributions. The leaders met on a regular basis to report on their groups and recommend persons for membership, disciplinary action, expulsion, or financial assistance. They also assumed some of the responsibility for building maintenance.
This is a 110 page folio manuscript containing the minutes of the Leader's
meetings of a Methodist church in Strasburg, Pennsylvannia from 1863-1874.
The minutes include reports on the conduct of class members, recommendations
for disciplinary actions against those who have engaged in any type of
"lewd and disorderly" behavior, recommendations for persons to be admitted
to full church membership, and reports of offerings collected from members.
The Leader's meetings also addressed problems with maintenance of the church
building and the parsonage.