Category: Tennessee Annual Conference

Howell, Mabel Katharine (1874-1957)
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Howell, Mabel Katharine (1874-1957)

Mission Educator and Administrator Howell was born in New Jersey in 1874 and earned her Ph.D. degree in sociology from Cornell in 1896. She completed her formal education with a seminary degree from University of Chicago. She taught in Richmond, Kentucky, for four years, coming under the influence of Belle Bennett. In 1903, Bennett persuaded...

Pinson, William Washington (1854-1930)
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Pinson, William Washington (1854-1930)

MECS Mission Board Leader Pinson was born in Cheathan County, Tennessee, in 1854. He joined the Tennessee Conference in 1878. After serving pastorates in Tennessee with great success, he transferred to the Texas Conference to serve pastorates in Gonzales and Austin. Just before the turn of the century, he went to the largest church in...

Rankin, Lochie (1851-1929)
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Rankin, Lochie (1851-1929)

First Single Woman Missionary of MECS Lochie Rankin was the first unmarried woman to be sent abroad as a missionary by the MECS. She was also the first missionary supported by the Woman’s Foreign Mission Society of the church. She was born in Milan, Tennessee, in 1851. Upon reaching young womanhood, she volunteered herself for...

McFerrin, John Berry (1807-1887)
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McFerrin, John Berry (1807-1887)

Leader of Southern Methodist Missions John B. McFerrin, aside from bishops the most significant figure of the MECS in the nineteenth century, was born in 1807 near Nashville. Licensed to preach at age eighteen, he received appointment to be missionary to the Cherokees from 1826-1828. After pastoring several churches, he was named presiding elder in...

The Kelley Family
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The Kelley Family

Missionaries and Mission Supporters David Kelley was born in Tennessee to a prominent Methodist family in 1833. A precocious lad, he was graduated from college at eighteen, entered the Methodist ministry at nineteen, and received a medical degree at twenty. His mother, Margaret Lavinia Kelley, founded the first women’s missionary support group in her minister-husband’s...

Sehon, Edmund W. (1808 – 1876)
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Sehon, Edmund W. (1808 – 1876)

Leader of Southern Methodist Missions Edmund Sehon was a member of the Ohio Annual Conference at the time of the dissolution of the bonds between Northern and Southern Methodism in 1844 and probably intended to remain in that connection. But the manner of the Ohio Conference’s dealing with Bishop Joshua Soule in 1845 (it would...

Martin, Edith (1900-1979)
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Martin, Edith (1900-1979)

Mama Yema in the Congo Growing up in Harrison, Arkansas, Edith wanted to become a missionary and serve in Africa. After graduation from Peabody and Scarritt Colleges in Nashville, Tennessee, she was commissioned in 1931, and spent the next thirty-six years in Zaire (Congo) involved in Christian education, women’s work, social evangelism, directing schools and...

Tillman, Sadie Wilson (1895-1974)
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Tillman, Sadie Wilson (1895-1974)

Prominent US Leader of Women’s Mission By the 1960s, Sadie Wilson Tillman, who was born in Tennessee, and grew up a member of a small rural church near Lewisburg, had become one of the nation’s most prominent church women. From 1924 to 1927, she was Director of Christian Education at Laura Haygood Normal School, in...

Mai Gray
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Mai Gray

A Methodist and an Activist Mai Gray, the first African-American woman to be president of United Methodist Women, was deeply dedicated both to the Methodist tradition and to fighting segregation. Born in Jackson, Tennessee, in 1922, Gray worked with her husband, a Methodist pastor, to build a coalition of leadership in the Central Jurisdiction, the...

McGavock, Willie Elizabeth Harding (1832-1895)
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McGavock, Willie Elizabeth Harding (1832-1895)

Co-founder of the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South Willie Elizabeth Harding McGavock was a Tennessee resident whose life centered in her family, her home and the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, of which she was a founder. In 1875, when she heard Dr. and Mrs....

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