Strawbridge Shrine

Earlier this month, the Clearfield Cluster of United Methodist Churches (churches from the Clearfield area) conducted a two-day confirmation bus trip for youth who are either preparing for confirmation, or have been confirmed since the last bus trip a few years ago.

The trip, with 30-something people, included stops in the Harrisburg area (the Pennsylvania State Museum, The United Methodist Home for Children, the offices of the Susquehanna Conference, and Mission Central), the Galleria Mall in York, and an overnight stay at a church in York. On the second day, we went to Maryland and visited the Strawbridge Shrine, Lovely Lane UMC, and the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, before returning home. Ethan and Sarah, who were with us, did very well on the long, busy, two-day trip.

One of the highlights of the trip was our visit to Strawbridge Shrine. The tour guides were very hospitable and youth group friendly (especially compared to the subsequent visit to Lovely Lane, which I’ll write about tomorrow). Strawbridge Shrine is called “home of American Methodism” because it is arguably the first Methodist societies in America (there are a couple of other possibilities). Interestingly, the first Discipline of the Methodist church in America, states …

About twenty Years ago, Philip Embury, a local Preacher from Ireland, began to preach in the City of New York, and formed a Society of his own Countrymen and the Citizens. About that same Time, Robert Strawbridge, a local Preacher from Ireland, settled in Frederick County, in the State of Maryland, and preaching there formed some Societies. (3-4)

Robert Strawbridge was an early Methodist who arrived in Maryland around 1760 and later began the first Methodist class in America. You can learn more about him at

I am also enjoying reading about Strawbridge and other early Methodists in American Saint by John Wigger (I’ll blog more about the book when I finish reading it). Perhaps the biggest controversy with Strawbridge is that he was performing the sacraments even though he was not ordained, a practiced he continued even after being confronted by Francis Asbury, I believe.

Finally, as I said, the tour guides were great hosts. Marian was particularly fond of Ethan and Sarah. Just before we boarded the bus, she asked to have her photo taken with the kids (see below). A few days after our visit, we received a letter from her along with two copies of the photo, one for each of the kids. The kids still know her name!

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