The Methodist mission to the Pacific Northwest that began in 1834 was a defining venture for the Methodist Episcopal Church’s new mission society, which had been established in 1820. No missionary destination in the first generation of the Mission Society received more attention – in terms of both financial support and personnel – than the Oregon mission. This fact alone makes Michael McKenzie’s book a welcome addition to the historical literature concerning Christianity in the Pacific Northwest. The book’s analysis is not limited to the first generation of Methodist work in the region. McKenzie’s aims are more ambitious. He examines the challenges Methodists faced in the Pacific Northwest through almost a full century of activity in both rural and urban spaces. The book is primarily a narrative of failure and decline. Unfortunately, this reviewer found that emphasis on decline to be so dominant as to sometimes cause a few successes and experiences of growth – or at least survival – among Native American peoples and others to be downplayed or ignored.
Hartley, Benjamin L. 2022. “A Country Strange and Far: The Methodist Church in the Pacific Northwest, 1834-1918.” Methodist History 60 (2): 296–99. doi:10.5325/methodisthist.60.2.0296.
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