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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Some early events in Oklahoma Methodism

In 1844, at Riley's Chapel near Tahlequah, the first ever Methodist conference was held in what would become known as Oklahoma.  It was a historic year for Methodism, It was the year the church divided itself over unreconciled differences over the issues of slavery and the authority of the larger church over the individual conferences. It was a microcosm in some ways of the larger issues in society over slavery and states' rights against federal authority. 
In 1871 in far northeastern Oklahoma the Wyandotte Mission work settled into place having moved south from Kansas under Rev. John Iliff.  The work had been begun by a African American in Ohio who had helped the Wyandotte people move their tribal lands to southeast Kansas and then into north eastern Indian Territory.
There were several significant African American works in that region of Indian Territory by 1873 and in 1881 when Iliff was named supervisor of the Indian Territory region they were under his guidance.
In 1889 the last Indian Mission  Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church was held in Tulsa.
In 1909, the Indian Territory Mission became the East Oklahoma Mission.
In 1939, at the union of the M.E., South, the M.E., and the Methodist Protestant Church. there had been a total of 48 annual conference sessions of the M.E. Church.

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