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Huntingdon Woman’s Club hears about ministry of George Whitefield

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President- Mrs. Billy Cary

Secretary- Mrs. Glenn Tippitt

The Huntingdon Woman’s Club met on September 14, at Long Rock Church welcoming in the fall season with a room decorated in fall colors of orange, brown and green. Mrs. Glenn Tippitt served as hostess, welcoming the ladies to the meeting where they would learn more about “The Great Awakening” which led America to freedom of religion and independence from Britain. Mrs. Tippitt opened the meeting with scripture taken from Hebrews 11:1 and verse 13 which says, “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot see. God gave his approval to people in days of old because of their faith. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them.” 

President Mrs. Billy Cary opened the business meeting. The roll was called and minutes from August 31, 2022 meeting were read and approved. Mrs. Doug Pruitt gave the treasurer report.

With no further business, Mrs. Cary turned the program over to Mrs. Tippitt to continue the program on “The Great Awakening” talking about one of the most dynamic and famous Christian ministers of the 18th century, George Whitefield. 

George Whitefield was born on December 16, 1714, in Gloucestershire, England to Thomas and Elizabeth Whitefield. His father was a wine maker but died when George was only two years old.  George had an unquenchable passion and extraordinary gift for the performing arts. He might have become a famous actor had he not been called to the ministry, but the theatre experience served him well in his future. While working to put himself through Pembroke College at Oxford University, he met John and Charles Wesley and joined their Christian club of zealous students called “Methodist.” During this time Whitefield experienced a profound spiritual conversion described as the “New Birth.” His new conversion set him on a mission to preach the gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ to people everywhere. 

Because he often confronted the religious establishment, church doors began to close to him and the Church of England denied him a pulpit. He took to preaching outdoors in parks and fields to people who normally did not attend church. He preached multiple times a day, and soon crowds of thousands were hanging on his every word wherever he spoke. With his flair for dramatic expression, his sermons were exceptional, bringing the characters of the Bible to life like never seen before. Not only were his audiences unprecedented in size, but his listeners found themselves spellbound. Mobs of enthusiastic people practically trampled one another to hear the celebrated preacher. Whitefield had charisma, and his loud voice, his small stature, and even his cross-eyed appearance served to help make him one of the first celebrities in the American colonies. 

Whitefield’s preaching ministry spanned 33 years, during which he traveled seven times to America, 15 times to Scotland, and exhaustively throughout England and Wales. His most significant impact was felt in America and Scotland, where the winds of revival had already begun to blow through the ministry of local pastors and evangelists. Passion was the key to Whitefield’s fruitful preaching ministry, and he never lost his zeal for speaking of Christ. Driven to evangelize, he said, “God forbid that I should travel with anybody a quarter of an hour without speaking of Christ to them.” Even when his health started to decline, and he was warned to slow down, he insisted, “I would rather wear out than rust out.”

Whitefield established no churches, movements, or denominations in his lifetime, but he took the Great Commission seriously. He was the first person in America to skyrocket to celebrity status, but remain a man of high integrity. He was considered the Billy Graham of his day. He was a preacher who commanded audiences of thousands with only the use of his unamplified voice and charismatic personality. Benjamin Franklin conducted an experiment where he measured that Whitefield could be heard over 500 feet away, which allowed a semicircle of up to 30,000 people to hear him. He did not seek to build a name for himself or a legacy on Earth. Instead, he spent his strength pointing people to Jesus Christ so they could know his savior and experience his life-changing new birth. 

In 1770, the 55-year-old Whitefield continued preaching in spite of poor health. His last sermon was preached in a field on top of a large barrel. The next morning, he died in the parsonage of Old South Presbyterian Church in Newburyport, Massachusetts, on September 30, 1770, and was buried in a crypt under the pulpit of this church. Had it not been for the sermons of Whitefield on unifying together as a nation, America would have been lost.  

The next meeting will be on September 28 at the home of Mrs. Dennis Steed. Mrs. Steed will continue “The Great Awakening” program with the Irish-born American Presbyterian Clergyman, Gilbert Tennent.

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