EVANGELICAL ASSOCIATION. A reli gious denomination formed originally among the Germans of Pennsylvania. It has grown and ex tended till it is represented in most parts of the United States and Canada, and has gained a solid footing in Germany and Switzerland. Its founder, Jacob Albright, was born in Pennsylva nia, in 1759, and was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Observing the low condi tion of religious life among the German popula tion around him, he undertook a work of refor mation among them about 1790, and traveled as an evangelist. In 1800 he formed a class or so ciety of his converts, which by 1 807 had become large enough to make some organization desir able, and a conference was held at which Al bright was unanimously elected bishop. Ile died in 1808, leaving the association a growing body of much vigor. A book of discipline was pub lished similar to that of the Methodist Episco pal Church, and the name Evangelical Associa tion of North America was adopted. Annual conferences were formed, and the first General Conference, consisting of all the elders, was held in 1816, in Union County, Pa.
The doctrines and theology of the Evangelical Association are Arminian, and its twenty-one articles of religion do not differ in any essen tial point from the twenty-five articles of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Its government, polity, and methods of worship likewise' closely resemble those of the Methodist Church, and it is represented in the Methodist Ecumenical Con ferences. It has bishops, chosen by the General Conference for terms of four years; presiding elders, serving not more than four years con secutively in the same districts; classes, quar terly conferences, annual conferences, and the General Conference, the supreme judicatory.meet ing every four years. The ministers are of two -orders—deacons and elders—and the itinerant system prevails, the pastors being appointed to their stations from year to year, at the meetings of the annual conferences. In 189] the Church suffered a division, the culmination of a con troversy of several years' duration. Two 'bodies met, one at Indianapolis and the other at Phila delphia, each claiming to he the true and lawful General Conference, and regarding the other as spnrious. Lawsuits resulted concerning titles to
property, the final decision of which was given in favor of the party representing the majority, whose General Conference had been held at In dianapolis. The minority then withdrew and organized the United Evangelical Church. By this division the Evangelical Association lost about 40,000 members. In 1891, previous to the division, it had 26 annual conferences, 1227 itinerant and 619 local preachers, 150,33-1 church members, church buildings valued at $5,168,210, and a missionary income for the preceding year of $159,443. In 1901 it had 27 annual con ferences, including two in Germany, one in Swit zerland, and one in Japan; 1088 itinerant and 476 local preachers, 139.459 pupils in Sun day schools, church property valued at $6,]25, -t:30, and a total income for missions of $1 17,080. Besides its German elements, it has a relatively large English-speaking membership, and pub lishes English periodicals and English books. It has three bishops, with one vacancy in the epis copal office; a well-equipped publishing house at Cleveland, and another at Stuttgart, Wiirttem berg; a biblical institute and a college at Naper ville, Ill.; two seminaries; an orphan home at Flat Rock, Ohio; a charitable society; a mis sionary society, sustaining domestic missions and a foreign mission in Japan, and assisting the European churches; a Woman's :Missionary So ciety; a Church Extension Society; a Sunday School and Tract Union; and a Young People's Alliance, returning 33,626 members. Its peri odicals are: The Evangelical Messenger (week ly) ; The Missionary Messenger (monthly) ; Der Christliche Botschafter (weekly) ; Der Evange lis•he Missionshote (monthly) ; papers for Sun day schools and the young people, in English and German—all published at Cleveland; Der Evan gelische Botschafter (weekly) and Der Evange lische Kinder! reund (weekly), published at Stutt gart, Wiirttemberg. Consult: Plitt, Die Al brechtsleuts (Erlangen, 1877) ; W. Orwig, His tory of the Evangelical Association (Cleveland, 1858) ; Mrs. H. Bennett, History of the Woman's Missionary Society of the Evangelical Association (Cleveland, 1902).