History Is What Happens While People Dwell on the Past or Dream about the Future

Work in Progress

We Are Yet Alive:  United Methodists in the History of North Dakota and South Dakota

Chapter One, “Back East”

Told in six stories, this opening chapter shows how The United Methodist Church came to be, how North Dakota and South Dakota came to be, and how The United Methodist Church came to be in North Dakota and South Dakota.

Chapter Two, “The Organized Frontier, 1860-1890”

Methodist and Evangelical visions of holiness, the family as the foundation of a free society, and individualism met up with large-scale financial organization and small-scale Native American  societies on the Great Plains.  What happened?

Chapter Three, “West River and the Second Frontier, 1890-1920”

The early 20th century outlined the early 21st century:  the emergence of women into church leadership, a declining birth rate that now prevents The United Methodist Church from reproducing itself from within its current membership, and theological controversy that raised the question of whether holiness demanded separation or whether separation would destroy holiness.

Chapter Four, “The Great War and the Great Depression, 1920-1939”

This chapter opens with war and global pandemic—the Great or First World War and the Spanish influenza. It shows the many unintended consequences of war like a new and larger scale of production for agriculture. As a result, “peace” brought recession to farm country, disruption to the global financial system, and the Great Depression to everyone including North Dakota and South Dakota. By the end of two decades, on the eve of the Second World War, events had severely weakened the Church in all material respects. When people endured suffering together and helped each other, however, they cherished the memories of these years as a time of spiritual growth.

More chapters are in progress.

•The MAPS section of this website proposes several ideas on spatial thinking and decentralization in the history of the United States.