250th Anniversary Biographies

UPDATED JUNE 2016: Annual Conference historical videos available!  The Commission on Archives and History created 1-2 minute videos of ten of our 250th anniversary luminaries, which were shown at Annual Conference at Hofstra University June 8-11, 2016.

Videos are available for: Nathan Bangs, Phoebe Palmer, Maggie Newton Van Cott, Fanny Crosby, Frank Mason North, Ralph Sockman, William James, Roy Nichols, Amos Seung Won Rhee, and Shirley Parris. 

View or download the videos on our 250th Anniversary Videos page or scroll down on this page to find each luminary, and click on the link to the video. 

UM Luminaries in the New York Area

To celebrate 250 years of United Methodism in the New York Area, the NYAC Commission on Archives and History developed educational biographies that tell the stories of 25 luminaries in the New York Conference over the past 250 years. These one-page biographies provide information about each person's life and accomplishments, as well as discussion questions that can be used for bible study, discussion groups, confirmation classes, and sermon preparation. 

Available as:

  • PDF 8.5x11 posters - see individual listings below to view/download
    • Once a file opens, you will see options to print and save to your computer at the top right of the screen
  • PDF Bulletin inserts - see individual listings below to view/download
    • PLEASE NOTE: When printing the bulletin inserts, choose "Print on both sides of paper" and "Flip on short edge." Then print, photocopy, and cut each sheet in half.


We hope you will find the biographies useful!         

Francis Asbury

Pioneer Methodist Bishop


8.5x11 poster     Bulletin insert 


Barbara Heck, Philip Embury and Captain Thomas Webb

Founders of John Street Church


8.5x11 poster            Bulletin insert

James Varick

Civil Rights Pioneer and First Bishop of the AME Zion Church


8.5x11 poster        Bulletin insert


Freeborn and Catherine Garrettson

Early American Methodist "Power Couple"

1752-1827 and 1752-1849

8.5x11 poster              Bulletin insert

Jesse Lee

Methodist Apostle to New England


8.5x11 poster              Bulletin insert


Nathan Bangs

Pioneer Publisher, Theologian and Methodist Historian


8.5x11 poster              Bulletin insert              Video

Mary Morgan Mason

Charity Worker and Educator


8.5x11 poster          Bulletin insert 


Phoebe Palmer

    Prophetess of the Holiness Movement


 8.5x11 poster             Bulletin insert               Video

Sojourner Truth 

Abolitionist and Social Activist


8.5x11 poster           Bulletin insert


Maggie Newton Van Cott

First Woman Licensed to Preach in the Methodist Episcopal Church


 8.5x11 poster         Bulletin insert           Video

Fanny Crosby

Hymn Writer, Teacher and Mission Worker 


8.5x11 poster      Bulletin insert        Video


Frank Mason North

Activist for the Social Gospel, Community Organizer and Poet


8.5x11 poster          Bulletin insert          Video

James Monroe Buckley

Newspaper Editor and Leading Opponent of Women's Rights


8.5x11 poster      Bulletin insert


Frederick Asbury Cullen

                                           Community Activist and Pastor of Salem Church


8.5x11 poster        Bulletin insert 

Harry F. Ward

Methodist Preacher and Social Activist


8.5x11 poster      Bulletin insert


Elsie F. Stowe

First Woman Ordained in the New York East Conference


 8.5x11 poster        Bulletin insert

Lorenzo King


First African-American Bishop Elected from the New York Conference


8.5x11 poster      Bulletin insert


Ralph Sockman

  Nationally-Known Radio Preacher and Pastor of Christ Church


8.5x11 poster        Bulletin insert        Video

Chester A. Smith

Community Leader and Lay Member of Annual and General Conferences


8.5x11 poster      Bulletin insert


William M. James

Teacher, Mentor and Community Leader


8.5x11 poster          Bulletin insert          Video

Alfredo Cotto-Thorner

Community Leader, Mentor and Founder of Anchor House


8.5x11 poster      Bulletin insert


Roy C. Nichols

                Social Justice Advocate and First African American Bishop in the UMC


 8.5x11 poster        Bulletin insert        Video

Amos Seung Won Rhee

Korean Community Leader and Pastor of First UMC of Flushing


8.5x11 poster       Bulletin insert        Video


Paul Abels

                   Social Activist, Musician, and First Openly Gay Pastor in the NYAC


 8.5x11 poster        Bulletin insert

Shirley I. Parris

First Woman District and Conference Lay Leader


8.5x11 poster        Bulletin insert          Video