Youth were singled out for special attention while Sunday schools were being used as baited hooks to catch church members. Sometime in the early 1870s a young people's society was formed at a Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, followed by the first Evangelical youth group in Dayton, Ohio, in 1880, and the first United Brethren one at Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania, in 1883. Spurred perhaps by the founding in 1881 of Christian Endeavor, an interdenominational youth organization, the churches put together denominational associations to link local youth groups. The Epworth League of northern Methodism took shape in 1889 and was followed the next year by southern Methodism's Epworth League, whose purpose was to promote "piety and loyalty to our church among the young people, their education in the Bible and Christian literature and in the missionary work of the church." The Evangelical Young People's Alliance appeared in 1891 and the United Brethren Young People's Christian Union two years later. College students received attention when northern Methodists opened a Wesley Foundation at the University of Illinois in 1913.
home table of contents index back continue