This one point of Methodism was emphasized by other preachers sent by Wesley--the most important of whom was Francis Asbury who arrived in 1771--with the result that by 1773 there were 1,160 Methodists served by ten preachers in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Although there were membership losses in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania during the war of the American Revolution, there were such gains in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina that membership in 1779 stood at 8,673. This growth occurred in spite of problems.
These problems can be phrased as questions: What should be the attitude of American Methodists toward the war of the American Revolution? How were they to receive the Christian sacraments? Wesley admonished his followers to receive baptism and communion from clergy of the Church of England. But Church of England priests had never been numerous in America, and many of those who were here returned to England following the Declaration of Independence, with the result that Methodists in America were left without regular sacramental worship. A solution to this problem awaited the coming of peace.
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