An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

McClenachan, William

(c. 1710-1766). Church of England leader in the American Great Awakening. McClenachan (sometimes spelled Mcclenachan or Macclenaghan) was born in Armagh, Ireland. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church. He settled in Georgetown, Maine, in 1734, and officiated there until 1744, when he moved to Chelsea, Massachusetts. While in Boston, he was attracted to the Church of England. McClenachan went to England where he was ordained deacon and priest by the Bishop of London in 1755. On Mar. 31, 1755, the Bishop of London appointed him a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), and he returned to Georgetown, Maine. After a trip to Virginia on his way back to Maine, McClenachan stopped in Philadelphia. He preached at Christ Church at the invitation of the rector, Robert Jenney. He made such an impression in the pulpit that he was asked to remain as the third assistant at Christ Church. In his preaching he stressed conversion. It seems that “his Railings and Revilings in the Pulpit” and “his extemporaneous Prayers and Preachings” offended the rector. McClenachan's preaching reflected his Presbyterian upbringing. On June 18, 1760, McClenachan was denied further use of the pulpit of Christ Church. Four days later, those members of Christ Church who supported McClenachan withdrew from Christ Church and established St. Paul's Church, which became a center of the evangelical movement. McClenachan was rector of St. Paul's until 1765. He went to Maryland in 1765 and died the next year.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.