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Bible Christians

A Methodist body stemming from the unauthorized itinerant preaching of William O'Bryan (1778-1868), fervent Methodist preacher in Devon, England. Expelled for his refusal to confine himself to preaching within the circuit, O'Bryan formed a society in Shebbear, N Devon (1815). Aided by men of the caliber of James Thorne (1795-1872) and numerous women preachers, and concentrating on areas devoid of Gospel preaching, the [[Bible Christians]] spread not only in the west of England but also in the Isle of Wight, Channel Islands, Kent, and Northumberland. The first conference was held near Launceston (1819), with O'Bryan president and Thorne secretary. O'Bryan's autocracy aroused opposition which led to his withdrawal from the movement (1829-35). The deed enrolled by conference in 1831 made conference, composed of superintendents of districts together with ministerial and lay representatives, the supreme organ of government. Every fifth conference was to be composed of equal numbers of