Wednesday, May 5, 2010

From Wales to America - Pt. 1

William Rowlands: Welsh Missionary to America

William Rowlands is a name that is unknown to American Christians. This Welshman arrived in America in 1836, to become the pastor of the first Calvinistic Methodist Church in New York City. The church was small, less than one hundred members, but with the arrival of Rowlands, it was the beginning of a new work of God.

While James Owens was rightly called the originator and initiator of Calvinistic Methodism in America, Rowlands was probably its most outstanding figure and its spiritual father. A preacher of exceptional ability, wherever he went, large numbers of people came to hear the gospel because of his eloquence and passion. A keen student of human nature, Dr. Rowlands had a tremendous capacity for hard work in both physical and spiritual matters. He traveled thousands of miles for the gospel in the interest of the work when travel was difficult, whether in stagecoaches, on horseback, or even on foot, to organize and to bring support of the churches.

Rowlands, while pastoring one of the local churches in New York, was also the editor of an evangelical magazine entitled The Friend, which he edited and published for thirty years. Rowlands lived until 1866, a man with many spiritual giftings and abilities, none of which he "stored away in a napkin", but instead freely used them fully in the interests of the kingdom of God. He was a Welshman who, loving his homeland, came to America to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ. This he did until his dying day.

to be continued...

- Mack Tomlinson