James O’Kelly (1735 – October 16, 1826) was an American clergyman all through the Second Nice Awakening and an important decide inside the early historic previous of Methodism in America. He was moreover acknowledged for his outspoken views on abolitionism, penning the strong antislavery work, Essay on Negro Slavery. Appointed as a Methodist circuit rider in 1777, he organized preaching circuits on the frontier in central and southeastern North Carolina all through the American Revolutionary Conflict. He continued his affiliation with the Methodist Episcopal Church from its formal group in 1784 on the Christmas Convention, when he was ordained an elder. Properly thought-about a preacher, he effectively supervised pastors in a lot of areas of Virginia and North Carolina.
O’Kelly died in 1826 in Chatham County, North Carolina, aged 90 or 91. O’Kelly’s Chapel, constructed about 1900 and named after him, was listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations in 1985.
The Christian Connection or Christian Church, as a result of it was later further typically acknowledged, merged with the Congregational church buildings in 1931 to variety the Congregational Christian Church buildings. In 1957, a majority of church buildings from this affiliation merged with the Evangelical and Reformed Church, developed by German People from their historic immigrant traditions, to variety the present United Church of Christ.
In protest, O’Kelly withdrew from the denomination and collectively together with his supporters primarily based the Republican Methodist Church, later acknowledged merely as a result of the Christian Church, or “Connection”. The O’Kelly-led schism is acknowledged as the first schism of the Methodist Episcopal Church. A few of its members moreover turned involved inside the related Stone-Campbell movement. O’Kelly later revealed his place in a tract entitled The Writer’s Apology for Protesting in opposition to the Methodist Episcopal Authorities (1798). On this piece O’Kelly claims that the Methodist Bishops Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke weren’t elected to the episcopacy by the Convention. O’Kelly is answered in 1800 by Nicholas Snethen. Snethen accuses O’Kelly of propagating “notorious falsehoods.” O’Kelly, not one to let the argument leisure, responds collectively together with his A Vindication of an Apology.
O’Kelly, who favored the congregationalist system of church polity, obtained right here to oppose the church’s system of centralized episcopal authority, which he believed infringed on the freedom of preachers. On the 1792 Basic Convention of the Methodist Church, he launched a choice to allow clergy to attraction to the Convention within the occasion that they believed their assignments from the bishop to be unsatisfactory. After a lot of days of debate, the choice was defeated.