United Methodist Church was founded in 1968 in Dallas, Texas. It’s one of the largest denominations in USA and has member churches in Asia, Africa, and Europe. The church traces its roots to the revival movement of Charles Wesley in England. Because the church’s theological orientation is Wesleyan, it embraces both evangelical and liturgical elements. It’s worth mentioning that the UMC is a member of the world council of churches.
The church started as a movement that involved a small group of students including Charles Wesley, John Wesley, and George Whitefield who met at Oxford Campus. They focused on living a holy life through bible studies despite being mocked by other students. In 1735, Charles and Wesley moved to America to teach the gospel. Unfortunately, the congregation rejected them. Two years later, they returned to England and spent a lot of time with Peter Böhler (a German Moravia). Peter believed in salvation and had a lengthy conversation with John.
In 1738, John listened to a reading by Martin Luther to Romans where he realized that his good works could not save him. He later met with a group of clergy and received a complete assurance of salvation. The clergy became popular and attracted large congregation. After unsuccessful attempts to start a church in new colonies, John appointed Thomas coke (fellow priest) as a bishop.
The church started growing rapidly and employed more circuit riders to preach the gospel. In 1968, United Methodist Church was created after merging with The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren church.
The church strives to create Disciples of Christ through evangelism, outreach and seeking holiness. It recognizes Nicene Creed, Apostles Creed, and historical ecumenical creeds. Even if the official creed holds differing political and social views, it still reflects a diversified society.
Apart from that, UMC holds the concept of `Church Visible’ where the world of God is preached and sacraments are administered. It strongly believes in Triune God (God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
Worship and liturgy
The church includes a variety of approaches to public worship. Just like other historical churches, UMC has other liturgies for services of wedding, baptism, Holy Communion, funerals, ordination, and anointing of the sick.
Typical worship services include singing from hymns to contemporary music. Secondly, there’s a biblical message which involves
reading and listening to scripture. After the reading, a player follows where people share their concerns or pray with ministers. This may also include celebrations like confirmations, baptism, or profession of faith.
The Holy Communion is celebrated the first Sunday of the month or quarterly. It’s accompanied by sharing testimonies, hymn singing and partaking of bread and water. Lastly, the congregation gives tithes and offerings. UMC also incorporates contemporary styles of music.
The church is organized into conferences which speak officially for the church. Normally, the general conference meets every four years – though it’s revised after every conference. Secondly, non-legislative solutions are published after each general conference. This event is rotated between different US jurisdictions of the church. The session is presided over by an active bishop who is selected by a committee of delegates. Besides that, an annual conference (similar to that of the Roman Catholic Church) is held annually.
The contributions to the church not only benefit the local congregation but also have a national and regional impact. It’s through collective giving that the church encourages cooperation with other faith communions.
From the above videos, the church empathizes on preventing world hunger, peace with justice, and family evangelism.