This Week in Christian History: Great Revival Meeting and the Architect of American Methodism

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Cane Ridge Revival Begins

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(Photo: Screengrab/YouTube/ignitethefire1)An illustration of the Cane Ridge Revival, a camp meeting of religious fervor that began on August 6, 1801 and continued for about a week. It is considered a crucial event of the Second Great Awakening.

This week marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Cane Ridge Revival, believed to be the largest camp meeting of the Second Great Awakening.

Held in Bourbon County, Kentucky, the meeting began on Aug. 6, 1801, and lasted about a week. It was organized by Presbyterian clergyman Barton Stone, who had Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist preachers speak at the event.

"A large crowd estimated at between 10,000 and 20,000 arrived to listen to sermons of redemption and to participate in the engulfing religious fervor," noted the Association of Religion Data Archives.

"Stone recalled six different types of 'religious exercises' experienced at the meeting: 'falling,' 'jerks,' 'dancing,' 'barking,' 'running,' and "singing.'"

In a letter written to the Rev. Dr. John King in September of 1801, Kentucky settler Colonel Robert Patterson described the revival as "the largest meeting of any that I have ever seen."

"Of all ages, from 8 years and upwards; male and female; rich and poor; the blacks; and of every denomination; those in favour of it, as well as those, at the instant in opposition to it, and railing against it, have instantaneously laid motionless on the ground," wrote Patterson.

"Some feel the approaching symptoms by being under deep convictions; their heart swells, their nerves relax, and in an instant they become motionless and speechless, but generally retain their senses."

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