200 Years of United Methodism
An Illustrated History

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Title-page, A COLLECTION OF HYMNS FOR THE USE OF THE UNITED BRETHREN IN CHRIST TAKEN FROM THE MOST APPROVED AUTHORS, AND ADAPTED TO PUBLIC AND PRIVATE WORSHIP. Dayton, Ohio: Vonnieda & Sowers, 1859.Sunday schools were perhaps the first ministry to be added to the foundational ones of worship and small group meetings. Having been pioneered in England in 1780 for the twin purposes of providing religious instruction and teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, Sunday schools appeared among American Methodists by 1786, and conference action was taken in 1790 to establish Sunday schools for whites and blacks. The Methodist General Conference of 1824 made it the duty of preachers to encourage the establishment and growth of Sunday schools. Although Otterbein's church in Baltimore had in the 1780s a school offering religious instruction and the basics of a general education, the first United Brethren Sunday school was opened in 1820 in Corydon, Indiana. Evangelicals joined the Sunday school movement by opening a school in 1832 in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

Study materials for the Sunday schools, as well as hymn books, books of Discipline, and the churches' other printing needs, were supplied by the development of publishing enterprises. Cover of the October 1872 issue of The Ladies' Repository and Home MagazineA book steward was appointed by the Methodists in 1789. The Evangelicals set up a press in 1816 and the United Brethren in 1834. From these presses came first a trickle and then a stream of books and periodicals. Beginning with a magazine for preachers in 1818, the Methodists went on to a paper for youth in 1823, one for adults in 1826, a children's paper in 1827, and the Ladies' Repository in 1841. The United Brethren initiated Zion's Advocate in 1829, followed by the Religious Telescope in 1834, a German language paper in 1840, and a periodical for children in 1854. A German language paper came first in the Evangelical Association, debuting in 1836. It was followed by The Evangelical Messenger in 1848. All these publications helped Methodists, United Brethren, and Evangelicals sense they were part of dynamic churches.

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