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George Whitefield

(Decenber 16, 1714 - September 30, 1770)

George Whitefield (pronounced “whit-field) was a preacher in the Church of England and one of the leaders of the Methodist movement. He was born at the Bell Inn, Southgate Street, Gloucester, England.
In contemporary accounts, he, not John Wesley, is spoken of as the primary figure and even the founder of Methodism. He was famous for his preaching in America during the “The Great Awakening”, the 18th century movement of Christian revivals. He often preached in the open air, which he resorted to when ministers restricted him from using their pulpits. In these “open-air” meetings, Whitefield attracted crowds as large as 30,000 people. Few evangelists have touched the masses in the way that George Whitefield did. Benjamin Franklin recalled his unparalleled impact on Philadelphia: "It was wonderful to see the Change soon made in the Manners of our Inhabitants. It seem'd as if all the World were growing Religious; so that One could not walk through the Town in an Evening without Hearing Psalms sung in different Families of every Street."
Like his contemporary and acquaintance, Jonathan Edwards, Whitefield preached with a firmly Calvinist theology. He acted as a chaplain to Selina, where the Countess of Huntingdon and some of his followers joined the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion, whose chapels were paid for at her expense and where Calvinistic Methodism could be spread. In addition to his work in America and England, Whitefield made 15 journeys to Scotland, two to Ireland, and one each to Bermuda, Gibraltar, and the Netherlands.

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