Monday, July 13, 2015

Philip Embury Returns To Preaching

In the 1760 there was no Methodist Chapel or societies in New York let along in America.

Philip Embury had been converted to the Wesleyans' prior to leaving Ireland.  There was no no evidence that he was considering a lifelong calling as a Methodist Minister, especially since he had no training and was not ordained but he responded to the Wesleyans' need for lay ministers.

Philip was working very hard to make a living and he suffered four family bereavements.  Two of his children died young, Catherine in 1762, and John Albert in 1766.  His brother John died in 1764 and his brother Peter died in 1765.

Five weeks after the death of his son, Philip decided to stop "hiding his talent in a napkin."  Barbara Heck his cousin, sparked Philip's fire to preach again.

The historical accounts of how Philip met both Abraham Bininger and Pastor Weygand isn't clear but they talked regularly about the three different religious groups that each were members of and missionary work.  The three were from different centuries and religions: Lutheran, Methodist, and the Moravian.  Andrew had to have an influence on Philip during this dark time of his life.

August of 1765 was an informal first meeting that included newcomers who had been Methodists in Ireland and found homes near the Embury and the Heck families in New York.

Barbara Heck had had a rough time after the death of one of her children and after she interrupted a card game being played by some of the men.  She marched over to Philip's house with intent to persuade him to preach to redeem them form the emptiness of life they were experiencing or they will go to hell.  His reply was he had no congregation or a preaching home but his cousin replied "Preach in  your house, and to your own company."

Philip began to preach again on Sundays in his own cottage.  The first congregation included John Lawrence, Mr. Manson, Margaret Embury (Philip's wife), Paul , and Barbara Heck as well as the servants and their hired man.  This was the first gathering of the Wesleyans in New York.  The attendance numbers began to grow until Philip's home could not hold them all.  Soon they were able to rent an upper room ten doors from the barracks to hold the congregation.

For a time, Philip was responsible for all the preaching until February of 1767 when assistance came from Captain Thomas Webb, a half-pay officer and barrack-master, who had heard about the Methodist meetings and he began to attend services.  He had converted to the Methodist in England under John Wesley.  From that day forward Philip and Captain Webb alternated sermons and soon they were meeting three times a week.

Finding interesting facts about your ancestor can be really fun.

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To Their Heirs Forever
United Empire Loyalists
pages 50 - 54, 62-69
Camden Valley, New York to Upper Canada
Author Eula C. Lapp