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Kilham, Alexander

KILHAM, ALEXANDER (1762-1798), English Methodist, was born at Epworth, Lincolnshire, on the loth of July 1762. He was admitted by John Wesley in 1785 into the regular itinerant ministry. He became the leader and spokesman of the democratic party in the Connexion which claimed for the laity the free election of class-leaders and stewards, and equal representation with ministers at Conference. They also contended that the ministry should possess no official authority or pastoral prerogative, but should merely carry into effect the decisions of majorities in the different meetings. Kilham further advocated the complete separation of the Methodists from the Anglican Church. In the violent controversy that ensued he wrote many pamphlets, often anonymous, and frequently not in the best of taste. For this he was arraigned before the Conference of 1796 and expelled, and he then founded the Methodist New Connexion (i 798, merged since 1906 in the United Methodist Church). He died in 1798, and the success of the church he founded is a tribute to his personality and to the principles for which he strove. Kilham's wife (Hannah Spurr, 1774-1832), whom he married only a few months before his death, became a Quaker, and worked as a missionary in the Gambia and at Sierra Leone; she reduced to writing several West African vernaculars.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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