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Historical Overview

Plains Church is part of The Wesleyan Church - an evangelical, Protestant denomination that can trace its roots back to the holiness camp meetings of the late nineteenth century and the Methodism of John Wesley.  The Wesleyan Church seeks to fulfill the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment.  Here's a brief recap of our heritage:

Methodism in England

John Wesley was an Anglican minister who travelled a circuit in England, proclaiming the need for people to have a salvation encounter with Jesus Christ.  Wesley himself experienced such an event when his heart was "strangely warmed" at a meeting on Aldersgate Street in London.  He also preached the need for Christians to pursue a life of holiness through empowerment by the Holy Spirit.  Among the most distinguishing characteristics of Wesley's ministry was his practice of purchasing businesses that would hire people his ministry was discipling in an effort to teach the impoverished how to work.  Historians credit Wesley for creating the middle class in England and even staving off a French-style revolution.  Plains Church is eager to employ this same approach in Sumner and Harper counties.

Methodism in America

When John Wesley's Methodism reached America, it emerged in the form of the Methodist Episcopal Church and became the largest denomination in the United States before the Civil War.  As the country struggled through the debate over slavery, churches in the North became so uncomfortable with Southern churches' neglect of John Wesley's strong stance against slavery that they seceeded over the issue (among others) in 1848, forming the Wesleyan Methodist Church.

Though some advocated rejoining the Methodist Episcopal church after the Civil War, the vast majority of Wesleyan Methodist churches did not, continuing to give a strong Biblical witness to society regarding social issues just as they did with slavery.  For example, the Wesleyan Methodists ordained the first woman to Christian ministry in the United States in 1856 and passed a resolution supporting women's right to vote in 1867, 44 years before the Constitutional amendment granted the right.

Pilgrim Holiness

Not long after these events, another branch of our heritage was taking shape in the Pilgrim Holiness Church.  This church's legacy was steeped in camp meetings, revivals, and prayer meetings that focused seekers on encountering the power of the Holy Spirit to live a holy life.  Plains Church was originally a Pilgrim Holiness church and, therefore, continues its heritage of passionate pursuit of the Holy Spirit.

The Wesleyan Church

In 1968, the Wesleyan Methodist Church merged with the Pilgrim Holiness Church and took the name The Wesleyan Church.  Today, its world headquarters are in Fishers, Indiana, and it has nearly 400,000 constituents in 4,000 churches and missions in 80 countries of the world.
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