1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Evangelical Association

EVANGELICAL ASSOCIATION of North America, a religious denomination, founded about the beginning of the 19th century by Jacob Albright (1759–1808), a German Lutheran of Pennsylvania. About 1790 he began an itinerant mission among his fellow-countrymen, chiefly in Pennsylvania; and meeting with considerable success, he was, at an assembly composed of adherents from the different places he had visited, elected in 1800 presiding elder or chief pastor, and shortly afterwards rules of government were adopted somewhat similar to those of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The theological standards of the two bodies are also in close agreement. In 1807 Albright was appointed bishop of the community, which adopted its present name in 1818. In 1816 the first annual conference was held, and in 1843 there was instituted a general conference, composed of delegates chosen by the annual conferences and constituting the highest legislative and judicial authority in the church. The members of the general conference hold office for four years. In 1891 a long internal controversy resulted in a division. A law-suit awarded the property to the branch making its headquarters at Indianapolis, whereon the other party, numbering 40,000, that met at Philadelphia, constituted themselves the United Evangelical Church. The Association in 1906 had about 105,000 members, besides some 10,000 in Germany and Switzerland, and has nearly 2000 churches and 1200 itinerant and other preachers. There are four bishops. It distributes much evangelical literature, and supports a mission in Japan.