Skip to main content

Louisiana Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South records

Identifier: LACUMC-Louisiana Annual Conference MECS

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the administrative activities handled at the annual meeting of the Louisiana Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South (MECS). It consists of the following – Series 1: Meeting minutes and statistical reports (1847-1913), Series 2: Administrative and committee records (1843-1919), Series 3: Examination of character records (1847-1922).

“Series 1: Meeting minutes and statistical reports” consists of manuscript volumes, which commonly include the following information: Louisiana Conference MECS detailed answers to a series of administrative questions appearing in the denomination’s Doctrines and Discipline, appointments for each pastoral charge (one or more churches assigned to a preacher), committee rosters and reports, and resolutions. The statistical reports often provide numerical details about each pastoral charge’s membership, baptisms, church property, finances, youth work, and Sunday Schools.

“Series 2: Administrative and committee records” includes material related to the conference’s preachers, such as: recommendations for clergy, requests for transfers, and surrendered credentials. It also includes reports from conference committees on topics such as: Bible Cause, Education (reviewing the conference’s colleges), Memoirs (drafting biographical summaries of deceased preachers), Periodicals (primarily regarding the conference’s weekly newspaper, The New Orleans Christian Advocate), Sunday Schools, and Temperance. This series also contains some correspondence and financial records.

“Series 3: Examination of character records” relates to charges brought against preachers. Most charges relate to immorality or breaking Methodist doctrine. These records document the conference’s internal proceedings and include testimony from witnesses.

Note: Series 1 and 2 contain information often appearing within the Louisiana Conference MECS annual conference journals in published or typescript form; however, some discrepancies exist (for example: the typescript statistical table for 1847 contains multiple transcription errors when compared to the original handwritten statistical table). Although much of the information in Series 1 and 2 appears in the published conference journals, it does include some unpublished material. Series 3 contains detailed information usually not published in the conference journals.


  • 1843 - 1922


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Physical rights are retained by the Centenary College of Louisiana Archives and Special Collections. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.

Biographical / Historical

The Louisiana Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South (MECS) existed from 1847 to 1939. This organizational body included all MECS congregations within the state of Louisiana, although MECS congregations within Louisiana’s Florida Parishes were part of the Mississippi Annual Conference MECS until 1893. Prior to the Louisiana Conference MECS formation in 1847, congregations within Louisiana were part of the Mississippi Conference MECS. Note: the MECS denomination formed in 1844 as a result of pro-slavery supporters splitting from the Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC).

In 1847, at the first meeting of the Louisiana Conference MECS, the organization reported 8,101 members (4,715 white, 3,329 colored, 57 local preachers). The conference consisted of 44 pastoral charges; this included eight colored missions, two German missions, and one French mission.

The Louisiana Conference MECS handled administrative matters concerning its preachers and churches as well as coordinated other interests. The Education Committee reported on the conference’s colleges – Centenary College of Louisiana (moved 1845 to Jackson, La., from Mississippi), Mansfield Female College (founded 1854 in Mansfield, La.), Homer College (founded circa 1855 in Homer, La.), and Pierce and Paine College (founded 1860 in Pleasant Hill, La.). The Louisiana Conference MECS also operated a Methodist Book Depository (founded circa 1855 in New Orleans, La.) and partnered with other nearby conferences to publish a weekly newspaper, The New Orleans Christian Advocate (founded 1850).

During the American Civil War (1861-1865), the Louisiana Conference MECS activities were drastically affected. While federal troops occupied areas within the state, the conference’s annual meeting shifted to Confederate-held areas within North Louisiana. During this time, some Louisiana Conference MECS preachers within federally occupied areas were removed from their churches and temporarily replaced with pro-Union MEC preachers; this occurred in cities such as Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Following the abolition of slavery and the conclusion of the Civil War, many African American members left the Louisiana Conference MECS. Some members left to form the Mississippi Mission Conference MEC in 1865, which led to the creation of the Louisiana Conference MEC in 1869. Other members left in 1872 with the formation of the Louisiana Conference of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (CME). In 1874, the Louisiana Conference MECS reported 12,714 members (12,535 white, 179 colored) and 92 local preachers (91 white, 1 colored).

During the late 19th century and early 20th century, the Louisiana Conference MECS increased its support for women and youth. The conference’s Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society formed in 1879. The Epworth League, a young adult association, formed in 1893. The Louisiana Methodist Orphanage (Bunkie, La.) opened in 1906. The Women’s Memorial Home (New Orleans, La.), a temporary home for unwed mothers and their children, was transferred to the conference in 1918.

In 1939, the Louisiana Conference MECS was dissolved through a multi-denominational Methodist merger. The final statistics for the Louisiana Conference MECS indicate total membership including local preachers was 70,787 (71 were local preachers), 171 pastoral charges, and 383 congregations. The Louisiana Conference MECS unified with two other groups – Louisiana churches within the Southern Conference MEC, and the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church (MPC). This resulted in the formation of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, South Central Jurisdiction. At the same time, a racially segregated organizational body was formed for black Methodists in Louisiana who belonged to the former Louisiana Conference MEC; this resulted in the formation of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Central Jurisdiction.


4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Arranged in three series: 1. Meeting minutes and statistical reports (1847-1913), 2. Administrative and committee records (1843-1919), 3. Examination of character records (1847-1922).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection consists of at least two accessions. Each transfer was coordinated by the Commission on Archives and History of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, South Central Jurisdiction. The first transfer of material occurred circa 1964 with material previously stored by the Louisiana Conference in the Whitney National Bank (New Orleans, La.). Another tranfer of material occurred circa 1969.

Finding Aid to the Louisiana Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South records
Chris Brown
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Centenary College of Louisiana Archives and Special Collections Repository

2911 Centenary Blvd.
Shreveport LA 71104 US
(318) 869-5462