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Henry Ryan (1775-1833)

Henry Ryan was born in British North America. He was converted at the age of sixteen and acted as a local preacher in Dutchess County, New York. He entered the Methodist ministry in 1800 and served circuits in Vermont for three years. Ryan was ordained Elder in 1804 and the following year volunteered to serve in Upper Canada.

Ryan quickly established himself as one of the leaders of Canadian Methodism. He initiated the Camp Meeting movement and served with great energy in several circuits.

Despite his American birth, Ryan remained loyal to Canada and Britain during the War of 1812, doing much to hold the Church together. After peace was restored, Ryan was involved in a bitter dispute between the Wesleyan and American Methodist Churches over jurisdiction in Canada. This was resolved in 1820 when a compromise was reached.

Ryan was increasingly out of favour after 1823, partly over the issue of the separation of the Canadians from the American parent body. Ryan was in favour of this but his opinions were regarded as too strong.

In 1827 Ryan was accused of circulating scurrilous printed material and with disturbing the peace and unity of the Church. He was found guilty and in 1828 founded an independent Canadian Wesleyan Methodist Church, which reunited with the main body after Ryan's death.

Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)

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