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Encyclopedia > Circuit rider (Religious)

A circuit rider is a concept from the history of American Methodism. The Methodist movement is a group of denominations of Protestant Christianity. ...

A circuit (nowadays referred to as a charge) was a geographical area that encompassed two or more local churches. Local pastors met with their bishops annually for appointment to either a new circuit or remain at the same one (often they were moved to another). Once a pastor was assigned a circuit, it was his responsibility to visit each church in his charge at least once a year in addition to possibly erecting new churches. A church building is a building used in Christian worship. ... Pastor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... A bishop is an ordained member of the Christian clergy who, in certain Christian churches, holds a position of authority. ...

Because of the distance between churches, these preachers would ride on horseback. They were called circuit riders or saddlebag preachers. They traveled with few possessions, carrying whatever they had in their saddlebags. They traveled through wilderness and villages, they preached every day at any place available (peoples' cabins, courthouses, fields, meeting houses, later even basements and street corners). Unlike preachers of settled denominations, Methodist preachers were always on the move (most circuits were so large that it would take 5 to 6 weeks to cover their assignment). This is what boosted Methodism into the largest protestant denomination at the time; bringing the church to the common people. horse, see Horse (disambiguation). ... Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... A religious denomination, (also simply denomination) is a large, long-established subgroup within a religion that has been in existence for many years. ...

Francis Asbury (1745-1816), the founding bishop of American Methodism, established the precedent having traveled 270,000 miles and preached 16,000 sermons as he made his way through the circuits. He brought the concept of the circuit from English Methodism, where it still exists: UK Methodist churches are grouped in circuits, which typically include a dozen or more churches, and ministers are appointed ("stationed") to the circuit, not to the local church. A typical circuit has two or three times as many churches as ministers, the balance of the services being led by lay Methodist local preachers or retired ("supernumerary") ministers. The title circuit rider, however, was an American coinage born of American necessities: although John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, covered enormous distances on horseback during his career, and early British Methodist preachers also rode around their circuits, in general they had far less formidable travelling commitments than their American counterparts. Francis Asbury (1745-1816) was born at Handsworth, near Birmingham, England of Methodist parents. ... A Methodist local preacher is a lay person who has been accredited by a Methodist church to lead worship on a regular basis. ... For entries on other people named John Wesley, see John Wesley (disambiguation). ...

As well as being constantly on the move between the churches in their charge, Methodist ministers were regularly moved between charges, a principal known as itinerancy. Although most charges in the US now consist of a single church, the tradition of itinerancy is still alive and functioning today in US Methodism, as it is in most Methodist Churches worldwide. Although not moving as frequently as in the past, the average US United Methodist Church pastor will stay at a local church for 2-5 years before being appointed to another charge at the Annual Conference (although technically, every pastor is assigned to a charge every year, it is just usually the same one). In UK Methodism, ministers are normally appointed to a circuit for five years, and although there is some possibility of renewal, it is unusual for a minister to stay for longer than seven years in one circuit. The saying in the church is, "After seven years, if the person's any good, it's time someone else had them; and if they aren't any good, it's time someone else had them!" The United Methodist Church is the largest Methodist, and the second-largest Protestant, denomination in the United States. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Circuit rider - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (147 words)
Circuit rider is a term in the United States for any professional who travels a regular circuit of locations to provide services, and has several specific applications:
For the position within the Methodist Church, see Circuit rider (Religious).
For traveling jurists, see Circuit rider (U.S. Court system).
Personal Inquiry Blog: Weaving - Findings (460 words)
The circuit rider stayed with the Woodhouse family because it was the largest house in the neighborhood
This was due in part to the faithful efforts of circuit riders, like the Woodhouse family's circuit rider, who traveled long and lonely routes through the frontier wilderness spreading the Gospel.
The Woodhouse family was influenced by the circuit rider, probably a Methodist preacher.
  More results at FactBites »



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