Building the Old Time Religion
Women Evangelists in the Progressive Era
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
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...then finds endless ways to squander it. . . . The work itself, As I stare out the study window past my lush garden—even in win-ter—to the Puget Sound in the distance, random, quotidian memories of “squandered” time pepper my thoughts—weeding, doing laundry, walking our dog on the neighborhood beach, talking with Jack, my ...
Introduction: Converted, Called, Commissioned: A Phalanx of Institution Builders
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In the spring of 1909, Iva Durham Vennard returned from maternity leave—after having given birth in her late thirties to her only child, William—and stepped into the aftermath of a bloodless coup that had engulfed Epworth Evangelistic Institute, the training school for Meth-odist deaconesses she had founded in St. Louis.2 While she tended her ...
1. Tents, Autos, Gospel Grenades: Evangelistic Organizations
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At the appointed hour, on a sultry, mid-July afternoon, the highly dec-orated, customized Model T autovan, nicknamed “Rome’s Chariot,” arrived on the corner of Washington Street and Chestnut Hill Avenue in Brighton, Massachusetts. In the autovan rode Martha Moore Avery and David Goldstein, the featured lecturers for the meeting to be held that ...
2. Mothers, Saints, Bishops: Churches and Denominations
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When Mary Lena Lewis Tate, whose titles extended to “mother,” “Saint Mary Magdalena,” “chief overseer,” “first revivor,” “president,” and “bishop,” first “felt moved by the Holy Spirit of God to go out into the world and preach the gospel,” she began close to home, journey-ing thirty miles away from Dickson to Steel Springs, Tennessee.2 Soon, ...
3. Biblical, Practical, Vocational: Religious Training Schools
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With empty coffers and a faith promise, thirty-year-old Mattie Perry opened the doors of Elhanan Training Institute in Marion, North Caro-lina, a sparsely populated farming community at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She confessed in her autobiography that she never expected, as a woman, to begin and oversee a religious training school. ...
4. Soap, Soup, Salvation: Rescue Homes and Rescue Missions
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Wearing a long, black dress gathered at the waist and topped with a starched white collarband, a forty-five-year-old woman—whose stern face and tight lips belied her maternal epithet—opened the shuttered door and walked into the dimly lit brothel. Martha “Mother” Lee and her companions had stayed up late to visit in the Omaha slums, knock ...
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Nearly twenty years ago, I came across the name Iva Durham Vennard while searching for material on women for an introductory lecture on American evangelism. Scads of resources on a succession of male evan-gelists, from Jonathan Edwards (1703–58) to Charles Finney (1792–1875) to Dwight Moody (1837–99) to Billy Sunday (1862–1935), to Billy Graham ...
Appendix: Evangelists and Institutions
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Index of Names and Subjects
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Index of Scripture References
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About the Author
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Priscilla Pope-Levison is Professor of Theology and Assistant Director of Women’s Studies at Seattle Pacific University. Her previous books include Sex, Gender, and Christianity; Turn the Pulpit Loose: Two Cen-turies of American Women Evangelists; Return to Babel: Global Perspec-tives on the Bible; Jesus in Global Contexts; and Evangelization in a Lib-...
Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2013