ABSTRACT

This article discusses issues of authority and conflict in John Wesley's Connexion in the eighteenth century, drawing on the example of the itinerant preacher Thomas Wride (1733–1807), who was embroiled in constant controversy. It explains that the tensions between Wride and his congregations and colleagues arose not simply from his alleged eccentricity, but reflected deep-seated differences about worship and discipline. A thoughtful and energetic pastor, and a dutiful administrator, Wride's punctiliousness and insensitivity in enforcing adherence to the movement's rules as he saw them undermined his effectiveness. His career, as recorded in his own often colourful words, exposes struggles within early Wesleyan Methodism that are not always evident in the movement's extensive official history.

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