The Tennessee Annual Conference was organized in the year 1812, two-hundred years ago. Geographically it was the largest conference in American Methodism. It embraced eight states and the southern part of a ninth (Kentucky). It was formally organized by two of Methodism’s most famous and historic figures, Bishops Francis Asbury and William McKendree.
The year 1812 was not the most ideal time to start an Annual Conference. The New Madrid earthquake occurred that year, followed by several months of aftershocks. Tennesseans were frightened and a great deal of physical damage had taken place. In addition, the entire nation was disturbed when war was declared with England on June 18, 1812. “Thousands of young men from the heart of the new conference enlisted under the command of General Andrew Jackson, and were with him at the battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815.”
With guidance from the Holy Spirit the people of this new conference persevered, membership increased, many new congregations were formed, and changes occurred in the conference boundary lines as population exploded westward.
The Tennessee Conference celebrates, commemorates
In a spirit of celebration leading up to Annual Conference in June 2012 the Conference Council on Connectional Ministries will be coordinating the sharing, through the Office of Communications’ featured publications, stories from the dramatic 200-year history of the Tennessee Annual Conference. The conference newsletter TNUMConnector and our website TNUMC.org will showcase articles and other written material, photographs, maps, bibliographic references, and more.
Material featured in print or online (as a downloadable resource) may be used in local church bulletins and newsletters, study groups, or even as sermon illustrations, etc. Contributions to this historic treasure trove will be made from books and records in addition to the current research and writings of scholars Dr. Frank Gulley, Jim Leath, and others.
The Tennessee Conference will officially recognize and celebrate this bicentennial anniversary corporately with a “Service of Celebration & Commemoration: Recognizing 200 years of Tennessee Methodism” on Sunday evening of Annual Conference at Brentwood UMC.
* Commemorative items will be for sale before and during Annual Conference, please DOWNLOAD an order form