History of the Church
The Free Methodist Church had it's origin in necessity and not as the result of choice. It did not grow out of a secession, nor out of an unsuccessful attempt to bring about a reform in the government of the existing church. In doctrine, discipline and spirit, it's members were truly Methodists, and could not offer themselves to any other denomination,
Prior to 1860, concerned laymen of the church found themselves deficient in their church with regard to issues they considered vital to religion: "The promoting of revivals, insisting on conversion to Christ, and the sanctifying of believers" according to W.T. Hogur's History of The Free Methodist Church.
The members called a convention in Albion, NY, hoping to revitalize the fundamental emphasis of Methodism. This was regarded with disfavor by Genessee Conference leaders who proceeded to expel them. In August of 1860, several layman and ministers met in Pekin, NY and organized the Free Methodist Church.
Among those who helped establish the newly formed Free Methodist Church in East Otto, NY were families of the godly laymen Niles Tefft, Deway Tefft, and E.S. Woodruff. Reverend O. Bacon was appointed minister in East Otto, with services being held in the school house and in local homes. A Free Methodist Society was founded and in 1868 the church was built. the present site was offered jointly by Deway Tefft and a Mr. Hopkins, during the pastorate of Reverend M.E. Brown, with dedication ceremony made in the spring of 1869 by Bishop B.T. Roberts.
The early Free Methodists fundamental doctrine was that the Bible is is the sole authority for both faith and practice, a belief that endures here today.
The word "Free" added to the name indicated that church members should always remain free from secret meetings and organizations, and be allowed the freedom of the the Holy Spirit to express itself. This was related to a difficult issue of the time, the practice of slavery, which was the subject of much argument.
The Free Methodist Church was notably against slavery and took a controversial stance against the practice. There were actually pastors at that time who were barred from preaching in some churches because they would not condone slavery.
Missions Supported by
Brooklyn Free Methodist Church
of East Otto
Buffalo City Mission
Family Life Network
8 Days of Hope
Veterans for Christ
Chris Wilkins, Missionary