An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Whitefield, George

(Dec. 16, 1714-Sept. 30, 1770). Leading figure in the “Great Awakening” in eighteenth-century America. He was born in Gloucester, England. Whitefield attended Pembroke College, Oxford University, 1733 until 1736, where he came under the influence of Charles and John Wesley. He was ordained deacon in 1736. In 1738 he came with the Wesleys to Georgia. In 1739 he returned to England, was ordained priest, and began to preach outside of church buildings. In 1740 he returned to Georgia and established an orphanage at Savannah called Bethesda. In 1741 he and John Wesley split over the issue of predestination, with Whitefield supporting the Calvinist position. Whitefield was the leader of the English Calvinist Methodists from that time until his death. He made seven trips to the American colonies. He preached the evangelical message up and down the eastern seaboard. He was a leader of the Evangelical Revival in England and of the Great Awakening in the American colonies. Whitefield is recognized as one of the great preachers in the history of the church. He died in Newburyport, Massachusetts. See Great Awakening.

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.