I would say …you can not understand the Clocks without understanding Methodism. But hold on… there is also much, much more to us. We are a complex batch.
There is no doubt that the earliest Klocks/Clocks that immigrated to America from The Netherlands in the mid-1600’s, belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church. The church records from New Amsterdam show baptisms, etc. To the best I can determine, the Clocks remained with the Dutch Reformed Church for sometime. It seems certain that Jacob Wilkie Clock (my great grandfather) was the first in the family to join the Methodist Church, in the early 1800’s. It is hardly surprising …the Second Great Awakening (a massive religious revival) was sweeping the country ….especially upstate New York where Jacob was living during the 1820’s. The young Methodist Church was perfectly suited for the contagious, emotional revival atmosphere. The intensity of Great Awakening II ….which didn’t just last for days or weeks, it lasted for YEARS ….can not even be imagined today. For instance, Joseph Smith founded Mormonism (LDS Church) at the same time, in the same area of New York! Other methods, ideals and churches sprang up out of nowhere, as did the congregations that attended the revivals. To say it was a simply a time of religious activism would be missing the point entirely!
After the Clocks moved to Noroton/Darien, CT in the 1720’s they converted to the Presbyterian Church. Jacob W Clock converted to Methodism while living in upstate New York in the early 1820’s ….afterwards most of the family members converted as well. Two in his parent’s family (Abraham’s) did not convert, his older sister, Caroline was one. She remained with Presbyterian Church.
I have included this background on the Methodist Church because both Rev Jacob Wilkie Clock and Rev Wilkie Clyde Clock (my grandfather) were both Methodist ministers, for over a CENTURY ….combined. JWC in Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and Kansas. WCC in New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. Charles L Clock’s family members (my family, meaning the family I grew up in) were all members of the Methodist Church. I would guess that Methodism has had an incalculable effect upon all of the Clock families since JWC’s time. Whether aware of it or not, or in favor of the church’s position on issues or not …in one way or another it has affected us all. No, I wouldn’t just guess …I’D SAY, FOR SURE!!
To give a small example ….it is a rare get together/reunion of the Clocks, that West Tulsa Methodist Church in Tulsa, that my grandfather (Rev Wilkie C Clock) helped build …is NOT mentioned. Another example …My father, Charles Lewis Clock headed up the committee in charge of building the new Methodist Church in our hometown, Newberg, Oregon.
But, its not all about building churches …the overall impact on us all has been much, much more significant than that.
(HISTORY OF THE CHURCH & BELIEFS TODAY):
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley‘sevangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother Charles was instrumental in writing much of the hymnody of the Methodist Church.George Whitefield, another significant leader in the movement, was known for his unorthodox ministry of itinerant open-air preaching. The Methodist Church is known for its missionary work, and its establishment of hospitals, universities, orphanages, soup kitchens, and schools to follow Jesus‘ command to spread the Good News and serve all people.Wesley, along with his brother founded the Holy Club while they were at Oxford, where John was a fellow and later a lecturer at Lincoln College. The holy club met weekly and they systematically set about living a holy life. They were branded as “Methodist” by students at Oxford who derided the methodical way they ordered their lives. Wesley took the attempted mockery and turned it into a title of honour. Initially Whitefield and the Wesleys merely sought reform, by way of a return to the gospel, within the Church of England, but the movement spread with revival and soon a significant number of Anglican clergy became known as Methodists in the mid-18th century. The movement did not form a separate denomination in England until after John Wesley’s death in 1791. Although Wesley and the majority of his followers were decidedly Arminian in their theological outlook, George Whitefield, Howell Harris, and Selina Hastings(the Countess of Huntingdon) were notable for being Calvinistic Methodists.The influence of Whitefield and Lady Huntingdon on the Church of England was a factor in the founding of the Free Church of England in 1844. Through vigorous missionary activity Methodism spread throughout the British Empire and, mostly through Whitefield’s preaching during what historians call the First Great Awakening, colonial America. After Whitefield’s death in 1770, however, American Methodism entered a more lasting Wesleyan and Arminian phase of development.Early Methodists were drawn from all levels of society, including the aristocracy, but the Methodist preachers took the message to labourers and criminals who tended to be left outside of organized religion at that time. Wesley himself thought it wrong to preach outside a church building until persuaded otherwise by Whitefield.Doctrinally, the branches of Methodism following the Wesleys are Arminian, while those following Harris and Whitefield are Calvinistic. Wesley maintained the Arminian doctrines that were dominant in the 18th-century Church of England, while Whitefield adopted Calvinism through his contacts with Calvinists in Scotland and New England. This caused serious strains on the relationship between Whitefield and Wesley, with Wesley becoming quite hostile toward Whitefield in what had been previously very close relations. Whitefield consistently begged Wesley not to let these differences sever their friendship and, in time their friendship was restored, though this was seen by many of Whitefield’s followers to be a doctrinal compromise. As a final testimony of their friendship, John Wesley’s sermon on Whitefield’s death is full of praise and affection.Methodism has a wide variety of forms of worship, ranging from high church to low church in liturgical usage. Both Whitefield and the Wesleys themselves greatly valued the Anglican liturgy and tradition, and the Methodist worship in The Book of Offices was based on the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
The Methodist revival originated in Epworth, North Lincolnshire, England. It began with a group of men, including John Wesley and his younger brother Charles, as a movement within the Church of England in the 18th century. The movement focused on Bible study and a methodical approach to scriptures and Christian living. The name “methodist” was a pejorative name given to a small society of students at Oxford who met together between 1729 and 1735 for the purpose of mutual improvement, given because of their methodistic habits. They were accustomed to receiving communion every week, fasting regularly, and abstaining from most forms of amusement and luxury. They also frequently visited the sick and the poor, as well as prisoners.
The early Methodists acted against perceived apathy in the Church of England, preaching in the open air and establishing Methodist societies wherever they went. These societies were divided into groups called classes — intimate meetings where individuals were encouraged to confess their sins to one another and to build each other up. They also took part inlove feasts which allowed for the sharing of testimony, a key feature of early Methodists.
George Whitefield, another significant leader in the movement, and one of the Wesley brothers’ fellow students at Oxford, became well known for his unorthodox ministry of itinerant open-air preaching.
Methodist preachers were notorious for their enthusiastic sermons and often accused of fanaticism. In those days, many members of England’s established church feared that new doctrines promulgated by the Methodists, such as the necessity of a new birth for salvation, of justification by faith, and of the constant and sustained action of the Holy Spirit upon the believer’s soul, would produce ill effects upon weak minds. Theophilus Evans, an early critic of the movement, even wrote that it was “the natural Tendency of their Behaviour, in Voice and Gesture and horrid Expressions, to make People mad.” In one of his prints,William Hogarth likewise attacked Methodists as “enthusiasts” full of “Credulity, Superstition and Fanaticism.” But the Methodists resisted the many attacks against their movement.
Missions to America
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In the late 1760s, two Methodist lay preachers emigrated to America and formed societies. Philip Embury began the work in New York at the instigation of fellow Irish Methodist Barbara Heck. Soon, Captain Webb from the British Army aided him. He formed a society in Philadelphia and traveled along the coast. In 1770, two authorized Methodist preachers, Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmoor, arrived from the British Connexion. They were immediately preceded by the unauthorized Robert Williams who quietly set about supporting himself by publishing American editions of Wesley’s hymnbooks without obtaining permission to do so. These men were soon followed by others, including Francis Asbury. Asbury reorganized the mid-Atlantic work in accordance with the Wesleyan model. Internal conflict characterized this period. Missionaries displaced most of the local preachers and irritated many of the leading lay members. During the American Revolution, “the mid-Atlantic work” (as Wesley called it) diminished, and, by 1778, the work was reduced to one circuit. Asbury refused to leave. He remained in Delaware during this period. Robert Strawbridge began a Methodist work in Maryland at the same time as Embury began his work in New York. They did not work together and did not know of each other’s existence. Strawbridge ordained himself and organized a circuit. He trained many very influential assistants who became some of the first leaders of American Methodism. His work grew rapidly both in numbers and in geographical spread. The British missionaries discovered Strawbridge’s work and annexed it into the American connection. However, the native preachers continued to work side-by-side with the missionaries, and they continued to recruit and dispatch more native preachers. Southern Methodism was not dependent on missionaries in the same way as mid-Atlantic Methodism.
Thomas Coke, the first Methodist bishop
Up until this time, with the exception of Strawbridge, none of the missionaries or American preachers was ordained. Consequently, the Methodist people received the sacraments at the hands of ministers from established Anglican churches. Most of the Anglican priests were Loyalists who fled to England, New York or Canada during the war. In the absence of Anglican ordination, a group of native preachers ordained themselves. This caused a split between the Asbury faction and the southern preachers. Asbury mediated the crisis by convincing the southern preachers to wait for Wesley’s response to the sacramental crisis. That response came in 1784. At that time, Wesley sent the Rev. Dr. Thomas Coke to America to form an independent American Methodist church. The native circuit riders met in late December. Coke had orders to ordain Asbury as a joint superintendent of the new church. However, Asbury turned to the assembled conference and said he would not accept it unless the preachers voted him into that office. This was done, and from that moment forward, the general superintendents received their authority from the conference. Later, Coke convinced the general conference that he and Asbury were bishops and added the title to the discipline. It caused a great deal of controversy. Wesley did not approve of ‘bishops’ who had not been ordained by bishops.
(Taken from the United Methodist Church flyer, “What Is So Great About Being Methodist?”, 2010):
“Three Simple Rules:
1. Do no harm by thought, word or action
2. Do all the good you can in building up the body of Christ and in loving and serving others and all of creation.
3. Follow the ordinances (spiritual practices) of God, including the Lord’s Supper, study of the Scriptures, prayer and good works.
Though theses rules may be simple to say, they are not easy to follow.”
‘There is no holiness but social holiness’ -John Wesley. Our tradition of social justice began with John Wesley; it continues with us today; and is our hope for future generations. We take the joy of the gospel story to the world as
*advocates for the poor and marginalized
*active participants in the work for restorative justice
*equality of access to the essentials of life (food, clothing, shelter, health care, education and opportunity).
*political and personal freedom
*the dignity and value of each person, and all people
*building a world of trustworthy relationships among people, and between people and God.
United Methodists have a long tradition of working to create justice for all people. We have built almost as many schools and hospitals as churches. Methodists were among the first to create institutions of learning for settlers, women and newly freed slaves in the 1800’s. We continue that focus today.
As United Methodists, we are called to open our hearts to love and care for ALL people.”
(There… that last sentence says it all…. don’t it?)
LETTER EXPLAINING METHODIST CONFERENCES. From our minister at the Newberg Church, Cyril Dorsett’s wife, Mary. (By the way “PK” means preacher’s kids)
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