Evangelical Church

albright brethren. An American Protestant denomination founded by Jacob Albright (1759-1808), a Pennsylvania tilemaker and farmer. Following his conversion to evangelical Christianity in 1791, Albright, though raised as a Lutheran, associated himself with a class meeting of the Methodist Episcopal Church and was licensed as a lay preacher. In 1796 he undertook a preaching mission in German throughout E Pennsylvania. Though he and his followers were on friendly terms with the English-speaking Methodists led by Francis Asbury,* the language barrier made it necessary for the Evangelicals to create their own independent organization.

Stressing a personal and experiential relationship with God, the Evangelicals held their first council in 1803. The first annual conference of preachers was in 1807, and a book of Discipline was adopted in 1809. In 1816, eight years after the death of its founder, the first general conference of the “so- called Albright People” named its new denomination the Evangelical Association. In 1891 controversies led to a schism and the birth of the United Evangelical Church (1894). In 1922 the two groups were reunited in the Evangelical Church. Negotiations with another Wesleyan denomination of predominantly German background, the United Brethren in Christ,* led in 1946 to the creation of the Evangelical United Brethren Church.* In 1968 this body merged with the Methodist Church to form the United Methodist Church,* healing the division caused by the old language barrier and bringing together into one body the church of Francis Asbury and the church of Jacob Albright.

W.W. Orwig, History of the Evangelical Association (1858); R. Yaekel, History of the Evangelical Association (2 vols., 1892-95); R.W. Albright, A History of the Evangelical Church (1942).