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The Epworth League is a Methodist young adult association for individuals ages 18–35. It traces back to the founding of the organization by the United Methodist Church's predecessor denomination, the Methodist Episcopal church, formed in 1889 at Cleveland, Ohio, by the combination of five young people's organizations then existing. At its conception, the purpose of the league the promotion of intelligent and vital piety among the young people of the Church:
To encourage and cultivate Christ-centered character in young adults around the world through community building, missions, and spiritual growth.
— Epworth League Mission Statement, 2011
Members of the Epworth League are known as Epworthians.
The League existed in both the Northern and Southern branches of the Methodist Episcopal denomination and also in the Methodist church of Canada.
The membership of the Senior branch in the Methodist Episcopal church North in 1913 was 593,465, and of the junior branch 218,509. In the Methodist Episcopal church South there were, in 1913, 3846 chapters of the league, with 133,797 members. The headquarters of the Northern League was in Chicago and its organ was the Epworth Herald. The organ of the Southern branch was the Epworth Era, published monthly at Nashville, Tenn.
Today, the Epworth League is a global organization that has local church based chapters.
- Bacon and Northrup, Young People's Societies (New York, 1900)
- The Methodist Year Book
- Dan B. Brummett, Epworth League Methods (New York, 1906)
In popular culture
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- In The Music Man, set in 1912 Iowa, teenager Zaneeta Shinn declines a date because "it's Epworth League night".
- In All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren, the protagonist describes the blandness of the column he is hired to write by reference to the Epworth League.
- In Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon, a saucy secretary tells St. Cosmo, who has entered the office after-hours, that "'this [place] ain't the Epworth League.'"
- In Sherwood Anderson's short story/Winesburg, Ohio piece titled "Adventure," the self-stifled heroine Alice, "who could not have understood the growing modern idea of a woman's owning herself and giving and taking for her own ends in life," joins the Winesburg Methodist Church and every "Sunday evening attended a meeting of an organization called The Epworth League."
- In Dawn Powell's 1944 novel, My Home is Far Away, Epworth League meetings are one of the few social gatherings deemed acceptable for the main character, an adolescent girl, and her two sisters.
- In the 1934 W. C. Fields movie It's a Gift, when Amelia Bissonette tells her husband Harold that his Uncle Bean has died, she says, "It seemed he was getting better, but he attended the Epworth League picnic, and he choked to death eating an orange."
- In Across the River and into the Trees, by Ernest Hemingway, the colonel describes General Eisenhauer as "strictly the Epworth League."
- Epworth-Euclid United Methodist Church, Cleveland, Ohio
- Waukee United Methodist Church
- Hamilton v. Regents of the University of California
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Gilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Moore, F., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
- Epworth League: A United Methodist Association for Young Adults
- Epworth League Institute: 2011 Global Conference for the Epworth League
- Epworth League Handbook (2011)
- The Epworth League: its place in Methodism – a manual by Rev. J.B. Robinson, D.D., PhD
- The Efficient Epworthian by Dan B. Brummitt