Canadian Methodist Women, 1766-1925: Marys, Marthas, Mothers in Israel

Article excerpt

Canadian Methodist Women, 1766-1925: Marys, Marthas, Mothers in Israel. By Marilyn Färdig Whiteley. Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 2005. Pp. xi,306. $49.95.

The 1835 report of the Hamilton Methodist Missionary Society included a remark that one woman was worth seven and a half men, alluding to a town in which females had collected seven and a half times more money for the society than the men, who had been in charge the year before. This comment illustrates a major theme of Canadian Methodist Women, While men may have held most of the positions of power and garnered most of the limelight, women seem to have been running much of the machinery of Canadian Methodism. In fact, Whiteley argues, the particular dynamics of Methodist faith and practice empowered women to take on positions of leadership, forming a tradition of religious participation by women that continued even when opportunities for women's leadership decreased.

Whiteley, an independent scholar who has worked at the archives of the United Church of Canada, organizes her work in five sections: the legacy of itinerancy, Methodist spirituality, organization-building, the missionary movement, and the social transformations of the early twentieth century. …