Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Checking the vital signs (2)

The Primitive Methodist centenary Camp Meeting was held at Mow Cop on May 25-27, 1907. At the first meeting there were an estimated 90,000 people present.

The Centenary plate made especially for the occasion records the following statistics:

Chapels & Preaching Places …. 4,905
Ministers …. 1,153
Local Preachers … 16,209
Church members … 210,173
Adherents … 607,682
Sunday Schools … 4209
Teachers … 61,275
Scholars …. 477,114
Value of property … £4,958,978

There were high expectations for Centenary. The Centenary Fund was the most successful Thanksgiving Fund in the history of the movement. When the final balance sheet was presented in 1912, it exceeded the target amount by over £77,000, a considerable sum. The Centenary had been a triumph of organisation, from start to finish.

In spite of the outward indications of success, something was wrong. One of the unfulfilled expectations was that membership would reach 250,000 by 1910. It was not to be. To the careful observer, the vital signs were showing that not all was well.

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