The Hedstroms and the Bethel Ship Saga: Methodist Influence on Swedish Religious Life.


The Bethel ships were intended as floating chapels for seamen and also immigrants. They were evangelical, teetotal, sabbatarian, and predominantly Swedish Lutheran turned Methodists. The period was 1840s to 1860s at least, and followed a Swedish movement called theläsare, a reading fellowship of like-minded Christians. Both of the NY ships were named John Wesley, and the movement here was led by Olof Hedstrom. There is little here about the use of Bethel ships elsewhere, even at sea, but it is an interesting introduction to the phenomenon.