circuit rider

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circuit rider,

itinerant preacher of the Methodist denomination who served a "circuit" consisting usually of 20 to 40 "appointments." The circuit system, devised by John Wesley for his English societies in their formative period and developed in America by Francis Asbury, proved especially adapted to the conditions of the American frontier and came into its own in the trans-Allegheny region. Its success was a factor in establishing Methodism in America. The circuit rider, traveling usually on horseback because it was economical and suited to the forest pathways, preached nearly every day and twice on Sundays, thus covering his circuit every four or five weeks. His appointments were usually in pioneer cabins, schoolhouses, or tavern barrooms. The circuit rider often had a limited education, but he was usually an effective preacher and lived a very self-sacrificing life.


See E. K. Nottingham, Methodism and the Frontier (1941, repr. 1966); W. W. Sweet, The Methodists, 1783–1840 (1946, repr. 1964).

circuit rider

frontier Methodist preacher who served “appointments” (services) in cabins, schoolhouses, and even taverns. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 561]
References in periodicals archive ?
The Circuit Riders program concentrates on showing librarians the resources on the law that they can tell patrons about and teaching them how to use those resources.
Similarly, a circuit rider in Livingston Parish, Louisiana, procured a flatbed tow truck and 20 water storage tanks from a colleague to dispense potable water in an area which otherwise might have had to wait days for water restoration (Hurricane Katrina: Assessing the Present Environmental Status, 2005).
The cream of Britain's short circuit riders are in action in Warwick tonight in the seventh round of the National Elite Circuit Race Series.
Others will remember the classic duels between the late Steve Hislop and Carl Fogarty, the two top running short circuit riders at the time, slugging it out for TT glory in the early '90s.
Page 21: HC-2 was initially the Circuit Riders not Raiders.
Nor are circuit riders, though they will have to do for now.
Church of God, Seventh Day - Saturday Nights in Harrisburg presents an evening of gospel music featuring the Circuit Riders, the A Cappella Harmony Quartet and the Garden of Grace at 7 tonight at the church, 820 Diamond Hill Road, Harrisburg.
Adapting to frontier conditions, the Methodists preached out-of-doors, sent out itinerant circuit riders to minister to the common people, and fully embraced the raucous spiritual individualism of the camp revival, all in the face of considerable criticism from the religious and political establishment.
In contemporary times, this scenario has evolved to include toll-free phone numbers, fax services, electronic mail, and electronic document delivery, but in the early days of the medical circuit riders, these "fast" communication methods did not exist.
The controversies that keep Catholics from the opposite corners of the ring bobbing and weaving are fed by what Appleby called "circuit riders"--theologians, experts, and intellectuals who make a living going from diocese to diocese for speaking engagements.
After 1817 the society supplied much religious literature, which was distributed widely by circuit riders. In many homes these were the only books, and from them children learned to read and spell.
A business assistance program, for example, brought in consultants called "circuit riders"--to work one-on-one with grantees, providing technical assistance and business expertise.

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