Methodism was started by John Wesley, an Anglican Priest, who sought to reform and revitalize the church of his day. In doing so, he and his brother, Charles, started the Methodist movement. The movement eventually turned into its own denomination. (The name “Methodist” comes from an observation by others that they were very methodical in how they lived out their faith).
United Methodist’s comprise the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States. We have more churches than there are U.S. post offices. Methodists have played a significant role in shaping our nation. Several of the first public schools, universities, hospitals, and a host of other community agencies and social ministries were started by Methodists. We count as members, both former President Bush and former President Clinton’s families. Many other state and national leaders have been and are Methodists; it is said that President Lincoln went to consult and pray with one of our Bishops before making the Emancipation Proclamation.
United Methodists hold to the historic doctrines of the Christian faith and have both evangelical and Anglican roots. We value both human reason and modern science, while at the same time looking to the Bible as the authoritative guide for faith and practice.
Methodists have a passionate faith with strong convictions, but we also recognize that the world is not always black and white. We are willing to ask questions, wrestle with difficult issues, and to do so with grace and compassion. We hold to John Wesley’s notion that in the essential teachings of the faith, we must have unity, but in the non-essentials, we may have a variety of views.
We also follow John Wesley’s teaching that the living core of the Christian faith is revealed in Scripture, illumined by tradition, made alive in personal experience, and confirmed by reason. This is known as the “Wesleyan Quadrilateral.”
We are known for our emphasis on a growing personal faith, lived out in concrete ways in the world, and for taking the Gospel message in word and deed to where the people are. We have historically valued well-informed and passionate preaching, worship that was lively, and small groups where people could grow in faith. Methodists have open hearts, open minds, and open doors. We welcome anyone interested in learning more about the Christian faith and in being a follower of Christ.
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