Excerpt from Journal and Year Book of the Ninety-Third Session of the Southern Illinois Conference of the Methodist Church: Being the Sixth Session Since Unification, Held at E. St. Louis, Illinois, September 20-24, 1994; Official Records
Organized Methodism in Illinois began in 1803 (a) (b) when Benjamin Young was sent as a Circuit preacher to this great territory. On visiting the settlements along the Mississippi river he found two classes already formed by local preachers. In 1806 the Illinois Circuit reported 110 members, and in 1811 an Illinois District was formed with five Circuits. In 1824 the Illinois Conference was organized, covering the entire state, the first session of the Conference being held the same year in St. Clair County. At this Conference Bishop Robert R. Roberts presided, and John Scripps was the Secretary. The growth of Methodism in Illinois necessitated a dividing of the state, and in 1852 'the Southern Illinois Conference was formed. The first session of the Conference was held at Belleville, St. Clair County, with Bishop E. R. Ames, presiding, and J. Leaton, Secretary. This Conference was destined to hold eighty-eight sessions in separate relation before becom ing merged with the Illinois Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; and the Illinois Annual Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church, at Edwardsville, Illinois, September 19, 1939, under the presidency of Bishop Ernest Lynn Waldorf, with Roy N. Kean, Secretary.
In the Court House in Lacon, Illinois, February 11, 1864, (c) the Illinois Christian Union was duly organized. Rev. Ira Morris was elected president and Thomas Alexander was chosen Secretary. Thus a new organization was born in Illinois, out of which was to grow, in part, the Illinois Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In.the same year, the 22nd day of June, at Salem, Illinois, the Evangelical Church in Illinois was organized. Rev. Thomas Middleton was the president and T. D. Deeds, Secretary. Thus a second organization in Illinois was born which was later to contribute to the strength of the Illinois Conference Of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. These two organizations met in joint session at Xenia, Illinois, September 21, 1865, and from that session a new church organization was born, taking the name of the Christian Union Church in Illinois.
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