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Detail. Methodist Episcopal General Conference, held at Napanee, August, 1874. Rev. Thomas Webster was born in 1809 in Ireland. His family immigrated to the United States in 1812 and then moved on to Upper Canada in 1819. The family were staunch Methodists, and Webster maintained that, when Methodist union was attempted in 1833, neither the local preachers nor their congregations were consulted. Webster was angered by the Wesleyan Methodist acceptance of state financial assistance for educational and missionary work. In 1838, he became an itinerant preacher for the new Methodist Episcopal Church in the London district. He was ordained in 1840. In 1845, he was in Cobourg, where he and Joseph H. Leonard founded the Canada Christian Advocate. Webster served as editor until 1850, and later became extemely active in the temperance movement, particularly the Sons of Temperance. He also wrote a history of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada (1870) and a biography of Bishop Richardson (1876). Both books were controversial but thoroughly researched. Webster also challenged contemporary views by advocating equal rights for women, claiming that distinctions between the sexes were man-made, not God-made. He published on the subject in 1873. In 1874, at the time of the Napanee Conference, Webster was an established unwavering foe of Methodist Union and continued to speak against it, although ironically many of the prudent church financial reforms which he accomplished actually paved the way for amalgamation. Webster was disapointed by the election of Carman as Bishop and deeply upset when Bishop Carman led the M.E. Church into union in 1884. Thereafter, he withdrew from public life. He died at his home in Newbury, Ontario in 1901. (Dictionary of National Biography)
T. Webster -Exhibit #3 The Methodist Episcopal Conference of 1874 -Credit: The Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archives
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Rev. Thomas Webster

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Last modified on: October 09, 2008