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Persistent preachers, 1807–1907
Author: Jennifer Lloyd

A response to the prominent Methodist historian David Hempton's call to analyse women's experience within Methodism, this book deals with British Methodist women preachers over the entire nineteenth century, with special emphasis on the Primitive Methodists and Bible Christians. The book covers women preachers in Wesley's lifetime, the reason why some Methodist sects allowed women to preach and others did not, and the experience of Bible Christian and Primitive Methodist female evangelists before 1850. It also describes the many other ways in which women supported their chapel communities. The second half of the book includes the careers of mid-century women revivalists, the opportunities, home and foreign missions offered for female evangelism, the emergence of deaconess evangelists and Sisters of the People in late century, and the brief revival of female itinerancy among the Bible Christians.

Jennifer Lloyd

silent. Two of our number are wholly devoted to mission preaching. They can command large audiences or small in large chapels and halls, or in little village sanctuaries.60 Between 1897 and 1907 deaconess evangelists conducted 1,441 special missions, usually lasting eleven days each. During each mission they took two collections for the Deaconess Institute fund, raising an average of £551 a year. In one year alone (1901–2) they made over 4,000 converts. Their success led to more appointments; in 1911 five were at work full-time.61 One such prominent Wesleyan deaconess

in Women and the shaping of British Methodism
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Jennifer Lloyd

and respectable organizations. The male leadership usually described this work as female-centered, even if it involved working with men, and many of the women themselves embraced an ideal based on gender difference. Nonetheless their presence and their professionalism worked to undermine gender norms. Some women became deaconess-evangelists, effective and sought-after preachers who, while arousing some disquiet, were seen as sufficiently unthreatening to enable them to continue their evangelical work into the twentieth century. In a few cases deaconess organizations

in Women and the shaping of British Methodism