The Conference, 1838
From the Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838
The nineteenth Conference of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, was opened on Friday, May 18, 1838, in our new chapel at Darlaston. This populous place is in the south of Staffordshire, near Birmingham, and is in the midst of a very extensive population.
After the Conference was duly opened, the general report of the Connexion was found to be as follows:
Sixty-seven thousand, six hundred and sixty-six members in society. The increase for the year 2,339; the deaths were reported at eight hundred and ninety-two.
The chapels were stated to be nine hundred and thirty-nine; the travelling preachers were reported at four hundred and seventy; the local preachers at six thousand, eight hundred and ninety two.
The children taught in the Sunday schools in the Primitive Methodist Connexion, were reported at fifty eight thousand, one hundred and eighty-eight: taught by nine thousand eight hundred and one gratuitous teachers.
These commenced previous to the sittings of Conference; the preachers’ meeting being held the day before its opening.
The Camp Meeting,
Appointed to be held on the Sabbath, May 20,1838, was introduced by a noble procession, through the greater part of the town. The singing went well, the prayings were with good effect, and the processioning sermons were powerful. And this Conference procession may be looked upon as a good pattern for the whole Connexion.
At the close of this excellent procession, the Camp meeting opened with two preaching stands. The opening services were powerful; and the meeting proceeded with good effect.
A third stand had been provided; but after a time, the rain coming on not only rendered it unnecessary, but obliged the multitudes to adjourn to the chapel, and the chapel, large as it is, was completely filled. Two sermons were then delivered in the Camp meeting order. And then the praying service commenced in the chapel, with five praying companies. The Lord was intreated; the heavens opened; grace descended; and the converting work broke out in different parts of the immense congregation. The work was great; and precious souls were set at liberty.
Afternoon the chapel was again completely filled; besides a number who went to the old chapel; where the work of God also broke out and souls were saved.
As the afternoon advanced, the rain in some degree subsided; and as there were hundreds assembled who could not gain admittance into the chapel, one of the conductors of the Camp meeting went out, with other preachers and praying labourers, and opened a service at the preaching stand. So the Camp meeting was carrying on in both chapels, and in the open-air at one and the same time; and it so proceeded to the close.
At the Lovefeast, in the evening the chapel was again completely filled, and the work went on.
On the whole this wag a great day; a day that will be long remembered to the glory of God and the good or precious souls. To him be the glory.
Missionary meetings were held on the Monday and Tuesday evenings. And the morning and other preachings, and religious services were as usual.
On Thursday the 24th, the Conference closed its sittings. The preachers’ meeting then resumed, and finished its labours the same day.
The pressure of the times has borne very heavy on the funds of the Connexion. But in this, we, of course, share a common lot with other religious communities. But it certainly calls for much prayer, much faith, and prudent economy.
To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever Amen, Rom. xvi. 27.
Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838. Pages 272-273.