Martin Boehm … and the Methodists.

1-2-989-25-ExplorePAHistory-a0h9u0-a_349The life and ministry of Martin Boehm is entwined with that of the early Methodists. Here is an excellent resource:

BOEHM, MARTIN (1725-1812), American U.B. bishop, was born Nov. 30, 1725 in Lancaster Co., Pa., to Mennonite parents who had come from Germany. He married Eve Steiner in 1753 and they became parents of eight children. Youngest of these was Henry who attained much prominence as a Methodist preacher and traveling companion of Bishop FRANCIS ASBURY.

In 1756, Martin Boehm was chosen by lot to be one of the preachers of the German-speaking Mennonite Society to which he belonged. Since formalism characterized the Mennonite Church, his preaching task proved difficult. Although he attempted to preach as required, he felt unqualified to teach others the way of salvation. His own salvation seemed questionable to him. One day, probably in 1758, while plowing, he became so wrought with his lost state that he cried out to God for help. A stream of joy poured over him as he received God’s assurance. From then on he became a truly evangelical speaker. The next year he was advanced to full pastoral standing among the Mennonites with the designation of bishop…1549802_orig

A formal break between Martin Boehm and the Mennonites took place around 1777 when Boehm was censured for his doctrine, manner of preaching, and associating.with men of other denominations. Turning his farm over to his son JACOB, Martin Boehm gave himself entirely to traveling and preaching… 

Methodists formed a class at Martin Boehm’s home about 1775, and his wife was one of the first to join. In 1791, a chapel was built on land which had belonged to the Boehms. In 1802 Martin Boehm joined the M. E. Church at BOEHM’S CHAPEL, although this did not interfere with his relationship to the United Brethren. The fellowship between English-speaking Methodists and German-speaking United Brethren was very cordial and they frequently shared in one another’s services.

After fifty-five years of preaching, Martin Boehm died at his home March 23, 1812. A few days following the burial in the cemetery at Boehm’s Chapel his son Henry and Bishop Francis Asbury arrived at the home. A fitting sermon was preached the following Sunday by Asbury in tribute of his deceased friend who was “greatly beloved in life, and deeply lamented in death.” (Cyclopædia of Methodism. Embracing Sketches of its Rise, Progress, and Present Condition with Biographical Notices, Matthew Simpson, Editor, 1878, pp. 290-291.) 3659591_orig2

BOEHM’S CHAPEL still stands today and is watched over by the Boehm’s Chapel Society. During the 1970’s, a committee was created to work toward the reconstruction and maintenance of Boehm’s Chapel as an important landmark of the faith. This committee became the Boehm’s Chapel Society, which was incorporated in 1982. Archeological investigation and written accounts yielded sufficient information to reconstruct the chapel to its 1791 appearance. This work was completed in time for the Bicentennial Celebration held in 1991.

In 1984, the Chapel was designated a heritage landmark by the United Methodist Church as well as a Pennsylvania historical site by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and a State Historical Marker was placed and dedicated later that year. In 1991, the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County presented a plaque and commendation to the Boehm’s Chapel Society for the exemplary reconstruction of the Chapel.


The first quote in italics above is from  The top photo is found here.

Tourism website for Boehm’s Chapel:

The second quote in italics above is from the Boehm’s Chapel Society website: The bottom two photographs are also found here.

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