Did you know that the first Methodist congregation in Reading, PA was established following a fear that had fallen upon the people? It was reported that someone actually died while making fun of the preachers who came into town. Allow me to share an excerpt from the book Reminiscences of Rev. Henry Boehm, p. 109:
“When I passed through Reading in 1810 with Bishop Asbury the boys laughed at us and said, ‘There go the Methodist preachers.’.. In 1822, when on Lancaster Circuit, I succeeded in planting Methodism in Reading, and formed the first class there, where I had been shut out a score of years before. . . There was a shop in the neighborhood of the school-house where some men used to meet together. One of the company, a young man, undertook to mimic the Methodists. He went on to show how they acted in their meetings. He shouted, clapped his hands, and then said he would show how they fell down. (The Methodists in that day would sometimes fall and lose their strength). He then threw himself down on the floor, and lay there as if asleep. His companions enjoyed the sport; but after he had lain for some time they wondered why he did not get up. They shook him in order to awake him. When they saw he did not breathe they turned pale, and sent for a physician, who examined the man and pronounced him dead.
Little do the present Methodists of Reading know of our early struggles and difficulties.”
The classes were begun in the home of Emmor Kimber. That was the beginning of their ministry in Reading. The ridicule stopped and they gained favor among the people.