METHODIST PROTESTANT CHURCH
METHODIST PROTESTANT CHURCH. Though the Methodist Protestant Church never became strong in Texas, it kept alive its doctrine there: that lay members ought to be represented and have a voice in Methodist decisions in their conferences. The Methodist Protestants left the Methodist Episcopal Church and formally organized their own denomination without bishops in 1830, and about the same time established a mission church in Mexican Texas, where they sent H. M. A. Cassiday as a missionary. Methodist Protestant ministers were active in Texas by 1837; the Texas Annual Conference, organized in 1848, met on a log near Moore's Store in Bowie County. Overall membership in the state was scarce, numbering 1,364 by 1859, but was so widely scattered that three separate conferences, or districts, were formed; a fourth was established in 1878. Each conference was represented by an equal number of laity and clergy in annual conferences, and was guided by an elected president who traveled throughout the conference preaching and encouraging the churches.
In the denomination's formative early years in Texas, the lack of an educated clergy led to a concentration on rural and small-town areas, and thus a failure to establish strong Methodist Protestant churches in growing towns and cities. Early circuits were 200 to 300 miles in circumference, and some churches had only fifteen or thirty members. Redmond Boyd was responsible for organizing many of the churches in North Texas throughout the 1880s, and for a time the church operated Westminster College, which was founded in 1895 near McKinney and moved to Tehuacana in 1902. The church grew slowly but had a definite leavening influence on the other branches of Methodists. At the turn of the century there were six white conferences and one black conference in the state. In 1939 the Methodist Protestants merged with the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to form the Methodist Church. One Texas MP minister, Kenneth W. Copeland, was elected a bishop in the Methodist Church in 1960.
Walter N. Vernon, Methodism Moves Across North Texas (Dallas: North Texas Conference of the Methodist Church, 1967). Walter N. Vernon et al., The Methodist Excitement in Texas (Dallas: Texas United Methodist Historical Society, 1984).