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April 27, 2017
April 30, 2017
9:30 AM Sunday School
10:00 AM Kids Zone
10:45 AM Kids Worship
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The Thoburn Legacy
Thoburn United Methodist Church is dedicated to the memory of James and Isabella Thoburn, a brother and sister whose rich legacy is deeply rooted in Belmont County. While it is not unusual for such distinctions to be made by churches and congregations, the Thoburns' contributions were extraordinary.
James and his sister were born in 1836 and 1840 respectively on a farm east of St. Clairsville. These two remarkable people had equally remarkable parents who instilled in them a strong character, dedication to and responsibility for, their fellow man. From her mother, Isabella learned what she would later call "the law of service" which, simply stated, was that we are all on earth to serve, not to be served. Isabella walked that path all her life.
James Thoburn was a man of incredible abilities and strong contrasts. An evangelist, his entire life was dedicated to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. After graduating from college, he left for India in 1859 where he would serve nearly 50 years, as missionary and bishop of India and Malaysia, the first chosen for that sub-continent, in 1888. A man of great vision, James had the rare gift of inspiring others to follow his leadership.
It was James who first opened the possibility of Isabella coming to India. He envisioned a promising future for India which included educating women and girls, but finances did not exist for a school in every village where there were Christians. Without much thought, he one day penned a letter to Isabella, asking if she would like to teach in India. Drawn by the "law of service" from her youth, Isabella accepted without hesitation. She was the first Methodist woman missionary to be sent on her own to the mission field, sponsored by the Women's Foreign Missionary Society which would later become the United Methodist Women.
Isabella's work grew rapidly from a one room school in 1870 to the stately and respected Isabella Thoburn College 20 years later that carries on her work to this day.
Thoburn United Methodist Church stands in tribute to James and Isabella Thoburn; its congregation linked inseparably with the early history of Methodism in the mission field.
Isabella Thoburn College
“The purpose of Isabella Thoburn College is to provide higher education,
primarily to Christian women, which will include the imparting of sound learning, the building of character and the knowledge of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, to present to these young women the message of Jesus Christ through regular Bible study, Christian testimony and example, witness and worship in accordance with Christian belief and doctrines and to extend the facilities and opportunities to young women of other faiths and communities who voluntarily wish to receive education in Christian environment”
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