The UMChurch began in 1729 in England, and was led by John and Charles Wesley. The modern UMChurch is the result of the 1939 merger of three Methodist bodies ( Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal South, and Methodist Protestant churches) and a 1968 reunion of the Evangelical United Bretheren and The Methodist Churches. The UMChurch has over 10 million members worldwide as of 2000.
We continue our devotion to creating disciples for Jesus Christ and making the Good News available to anyone who desires to hear it. All preaching and teaching is grounded in Scripture, informed by Christian tradition, enlivened by personal experience, and tested by reason. Along with other Christian denominations, we believe in God -- expressed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The UMChurch is part of the church universal. All persons, regardless of race, color, national origin, status, or economic condition, are welcome to attend our churches, receive Holy Communion, and be baptized and admitted into membership.
Sometimes people call the UMChurch "the church of the warm heart" because we have a history of caring about and working to create justice for all people. It all started with founder John Wesley, who felt his own heart strangley warmed nearly three centuries ago. Along with his brother Charles, they launched a movement that spread to the American colonies and took hold with a fervor that still exists.
Methodists were among the first to create institutions of learning for settlers, women, and newly freed slaves. There are now 120 United Methodist institutions, including schools outside the U.S., most notably Africa University in Simbabwe.
United Methodists comprise the second largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.
The United Methodist Publishing House, copyright 2001
Other 18th Century Church leaders (and/or founders) were Jacob Albright, Philip Otterbein, Martin Boehm, and Francis Asbury. UM's are mission oriented and socially concious. We are aware of world events and strive to help those in need.
The highest legislative body -- the only organization that can speak for the church -- is the General Conference. An assembly of up to 1,000 delegates, it is composed of equal numbers of laity and clergy and meets once every four years. Delegates are chosen by regional units (annual conferences) throughout the U.S. and in 15 other nations. Non-voting representatives come from affiliated churches in 25 other countries.
United Methodists are . . .
. . .People who try to be accepting, caring, hospitable, inclusive, family-oriented, and community aware.
. . . People who are concerned about those beyond their communites around the world. Active in mission, and responsive.
. . . People who love music, church suppers, and a sense of community. Initiators, with a history of creating ministries related to education, employment, health, and other issues.
. . . People who like to tell the story of God's redeeming grace.
"Do all the good you can.
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can."
This is known as John Wesley's creed, although there is no real evidence that he actually authored it or said it. Regardless, it captures the essence of Wesley's activist theology. Wesley preached that there is no religion but social religion, meaning that faith without practice is dead.