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SharePrint Media File

Type: Video

Series Title West Virginia: A Film History

Filmmaker Mark Samels

Company West Virginia Humanities Council

Format DVD


“Oh, how many thousands of poor souls have we to seek out in the wilds of America? Who are but one removed from the Indians and the comforts of civilized society. Considering that they have the Bible in their hands worse in their morals than the savages.” Francis Asbury

Narrator: He was an itinerant minister who rode thousands of miles every year through a frontier nearly empty of churches. Francis Asbury, America’s first Methodist Bishop, preached in open fields and hog barns six days a week, three times on Sundays.

Everywhere, he delivered a simple and appealing message: all believers were saved not just a chosen few.

“At Cheat River we had a mixed congregation of sinners, Presbyterians, Baptists and it may be of saints.”

Asbury performed baptisms, marriages and funerals and trained other backwoods ministers to spread the word. Known as circuit riders, they were so zealous that a common saying in bad weather went “there is no one out today but crows and Methodist preachers.”

“My mind has been severely tried under the great fatigue endured by myself and my horse. This country will require much to make it tolerable. The people are the boldest cast of adventurers.” Francis Asbury

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