A common question that’s often asked when first addressing Free Methodist research is, what is the difference between the Free Methodist Church and the Methodist Church that joined forces to form the United Church in 1925; aren’t the Free Methodists part of the United Church?
The quick answer to that question is: The Free Methodist Church and the United Church are two separate entities with separate histories, and separate archives. (If your ancestors were among the Methodists who later formed the United Church, the United Church of Canada Archives, located in Toronto, is a great place for you to begin your research.)
Free Methodist Church roots are deeply embedded in the spiritual awakening of 18th century England, which gave rise to the Methodist movement. Today, the Free Methodist Church ministers in 70 countries around the world. In Canada, over 150 churches are located as far west as Vancouver and as far east as Sherbrooke, Quebec.
In 1860, a group of North American Methodists renewed the founder of the Methodist movement John Wesley’s vision to transform the world, person by person through the message of God’s saving grace, calling themselves Free Methodists. This life of love for God and all people, also known as holiness, was a key message of B.T. Roberts, an early Free Methodist Leader.
If you are interested in learning more about the history of the Free Methodist church, a visit to the Robb Centre is a great place to start. As well, if you are interested in learning about your Free Methodist ancestors, chances are very good that through resources at the Robb Centre you might be able to find some information to further your research.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be blogging about aspects of the Robb Centre collection that may be a help to you in your journey to discover your Free Methodist roots.
If you have any questions, comments or would like some advice about your Free Methodist research, please use the contact us form through this site. Be sure to include contact information so that we can get back to you. Thanks for stopping by and we hope that our future blogs may help you learn more about the collection and how you might be able to use it to further your research.