People who study and label such things often refer to the theological spectrum in terms of opposite poles. On the “religious right” are the conservative, fundamental groups who often carry denominational brand names like Baptist, Pentecostal, or “Bible-believing.”
On the “religious left” are the Unitarians, perhaps left-wing Episcopalians, or simply “liberals.” In the middle are churches often called mainstream. These are the typical Protestant churches you will find in every city or town across America. Of this broad spectrum, perhaps no church is more representative than the United Methodist Church. How it got to be this way is an interesting, very involved, story. It began with a liberal Anglican priest and evolved into an American frontier church of whose clergy it used to be said, “The weather’s so bad today there ain’t nothin’ out but crows and Methodist preachers!”
It all began because of a rainstorm.
In 1736 a group of Moravian missionaries set sail to begin work in the American colonies. The Moravians had just settled a longstanding argument with the German Lutherans and had begun to reach out to new boundaries. Traveling with them as ship’s chaplain was an Anglican priest named John Wesley (1703-1791). They were headed for Georgia, where Wesley had been invited to serve as pastor of the Anglican Church in Savannah. Wesley hoped to parlay this job into an opportunity to preach to Indians, who he was convinced were something like what Jean-Jacques Rousseau would ten years later call the “noble savage.”
The voyage went well until they experienced a severe storm that split the mainmast and left the ship helpless. For a few minutes it appeared they were going to go down. The crew, including Wesley, would have completely panicked had it not been for the calm conviction of the Moravian contingent, who quietly sang hymns throughout the ordeal. John Wesley discovered, much to his chagrin, that he was more concerned with his own safety than anything else. He realized that he had witnessed, in the Moravians’ reaction to imminent death, a religious conviction he did not have. Wesley began to doubt the sincerity of his own faith. He later wrote in great detail about the profound effect this demonstration had upon him. He had been converted and saved. He had been the leader of a group others derisively called the Holy Club, because members spent three hours every afternoon studying the Bible together. Now, at the very beginning of what was supposed to be a great career, he felt he had failed miserably.
What made things even worse was that he had expected great things of his new Savannah congregation. They, on the other hand, figured they were doing him a favor just by showing up on Sundays. The situation became too much for him. He sailed back to England, the whole experience festering in his soul.
In this frame of mind, as he later recalled, he attended a church service one night:
In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation: And an assurance was given me, that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
Wesley was changed forever. He had previously been “born again.” Now he was “filled with the spirit.”
During those days other momentous events were taking place. George Whitefield (1714-1770), another member of the Holy Club, had become a famous preacher, dividing his time between Georgia and England. He had begun to preach to his English audiences outdoors, just as he had done in Georgia. The crowds were growing. He needed help. He turned to Wesley.
Wesley didn’t like outdoor revivals. He later said that at one time he was so concerned with doing everything “decently and in order,” as the Bible dictates, that he questioned whether God could save anyone outside a church building. But he obliged, and eventually he learned to preach with such conviction and authority that people would weep, moan, and otherwise be convicted of sin. Turning their lives over to God, they would finally feel “cleansed of inequity.”
Whitefield and Wesley disagreed about one important theological point. Whitefield was a Calvinist who believed in predestination (See Calvin, John, and Jacobus Arminius). Wesley believed in free will. He was convinced people had to choose whether or not they would follow Christ. This disagreement eventually forced them to separate.
Wesley had no intention of starting a new denomination. He always thought of his outdoor preaching engagements as a means of introducing people to the Anglican Church. But “societies” formed. Religious groups met in members’ houses, patterned after the Holy Club. Pretty soon they had their own buildings to meet in. Wesley’s method of organization was so efficient that it wasn’t long before outsiders began to mock them, calling them “Methodists.” Later, his followers wore the name with pride.
To his dying day, Wesley reproved those who talked about splintering off, leaving the Anglican Church and forming a new denomination. But the group grew too large, too quickly. The break was inevitable.
While all this was taking place, however, two important things had happened. Methodism had “hopped the pond” to America where it was spreading by leaps and bounds along the borders of the new frontier. The common people had caught the revival bug. Not only did it speak to their souls, but they could be Methodists without being Anglican. The great western land rush carried the new faith far away from places where older, established churches were willing to go. Anglicanism was for downtown city streets, not the wilderness clearings served by Methodist “circuit riders.”
This caused a problem. In 1777, Wesley had sent Francis Asbury (1745-1816) to the colonies to represent him. Asbury was the driving force of frontier evangelism. When the colonies declared their independence, Wesley strongly opposed the whole thing. But American Methodists, while still admiring Wesley, were not about to let religious organization keep them from fighting for their political freedom.
So American Methodists, now calling themselves the Methodist Episcopal Church, ironically became an official denomination even before their English counterparts. The word “Episcopal” comes from the Greek episopus, referring to church governments that place authority in the hands of a bishop. The “Episcopal” part of the new denomination’s name, therefore, was derived from the fact that the American denomination appointed bishops without following strictly the Anglican rites. Wesley, still an Anglican, referred to himself as a “superintendent” rather than a “bishop” (See Anglican Church). Anglicans practiced the policy of apostolic succession. You didn’t just bandy about the distinguished title “bishop” if you lived in England. But the Americans did. Wesley was furious when he discovered Asbury had called himself a bishop and appointed others without proper “laying on of hands” in the time-honored tradition. To this day, American Methodists have bishops. Their English counterparts do not.
Finally, after the inevitable struggles all denominations go through, the Methodist Church became a separate, Protestant denomination. Although originally distinguished from Calvinist traditions such as Congregationalism, Reformed, and Presbyterian by their belief in free will instead of predestination, at a typical Methodist service today, most people in the pews aren’t even aware there is a theological distinction. The big difference between Methodists and Presbyterians, in the minds of many, is that the Methodists have a newer hymnbook. Also, their organization is different. They practice an Episcopalian form of church government. Their ministers are appointed and move more frequently than those of many other Protestant denomiations. But their choir members sing in the ecumenical chorus sponsored by the local council of churches. They have great potluck suppers, just like the Congregationalists. And their churches are apt to be federated-that is, two or three churches of different denominations have dwindled in size and found it easier to support a minister and carry on if they join together.
It was this similarity and common tradition that formed the United Methodist Church on April 23, 1968. Bishop Reuben H. Mueller, representing the Evangelical United Brethren Church (the EUB), and Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke, representing the Methodist Church, joined hands in Dallas, Texas. They prayed, “Lord of the Church, we are united in thee, in thy Church and now in the United Methodist Church.” And the new United Methodist Church was born.
You might say it was a marriage made in heaven. Philip Otterbein (1726-1813), founder of the United Brethren in Christ, the spiritual parent of the EUB Church, had assisted in the ordination of Francis Asbury, way back in colonial times. Asbury had gone on to be the first “bishop” of the American Methodists.
John Wesley would turn over in his grave to hear it, but it seemed as if the two churches were “predestined” to become one.
United Methodist Church
|United Methodist Church|
|United Methodist Church|
|Orientation||Mainline & Evangelical|
|Associations||Churches Uniting in Christ,
Christian Churches Together,
National Council of Churches,
Wesleyan Holiness Consortium
World Methodist Council
|Geographical areas||Worldwide: divided into122 Annual/Central Conferences, and 69 Episcopal Areas.|
|Merge of||The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church.|
|Members||Worldwide: 12 million (7.85 million in the United States; 3.5 million in Africa, Asia, and Europe).|
The United Methodist Church (UMC) is a MethodistChristian denomination which is both mainline Protestant and evangelical. Founded in 1968 by the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley within the Church of England. As such, the church’s theological orientation is decidedly Wesleyan. It contains both liturgical and evangelical elements.
In the United States, it ranks as the largest Mainline denomination, the second largest Protestant church after the Southern Baptist Convention, and the third largest Christian denomination. As of 2007, worldwide membership was about 12 million: 8.0 million in the United States and Canada, 3.5 million in Africa, Asia and Europe. It is a member of the World Council of Churches, the World Methodist Council, and other religious associations.
The movement, which would become The United Methodist Church, began in the mid-18th century as a movement within the Church of England. A small group of students, including John Wesley, Charles Wesley and George Whitefield, formed on the Oxford University campus. The group focused on Bible study, methodical study of scripture and living a holy life. Other students mocked the group by calling it the “Holy Club” and “the Methodists” for being overly methodical and exceptionally detailed with their Bible study, opinions and lifestyle. Eventually, the Methodists started individual societies or classes for members of the Church of England who wanted to live a more sacred life.
In 1735, the Wesley brothers went to America to preach the gospel to the American Indians in Georgia. Within two years, the “Holy Club” had disbanded. Wesley returned to England and met with a core group of preachers whom he held in high regard. He wrote that “they appeared to be of one heart, as well as of one judgment, resolved to be Bible-Christians at all events; and, wherever they were, to preach with all their might plain, old, Bible Christianity”. These ministers continued their affiliation with the Church of England. Meantime, they began to be convinced of what they believed were biblical truths that were not then popular among Anglicans. Some of their convictions were that “by grace we are saved through faith” and that justification by faith was the doctrine of the Church as well as of the Bible. They preached these conclusions, and salvation by faith became their standing topic. It implied to them three things which they saw as foundational to Christian faith:
- That people are all, by nature, “dead in sin,” and, consequently, “children of wrath.”
- That they are “justified by faith alone.”
- That faith produces inward and outward holiness: And these points they insisted on day and night.
In a short time, they became popular preachers with large congregations. The former name was then revived and all these gentlemen, along with their followers, became known as Methodists.
The first official organization in the United States occurred in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1784, with the formation of the Methodist Episcopal Church at the Christmas Conference with Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke as the leaders.
Though John Wesley originally wanted the Methodists to stay within the Church of England, the American Revolution decisively separated the Methodists in the American colonies from the life and sacraments of its English counterpart. In 1784, after unsuccessful attempts to have the Church of England send a bishop to start a new church in the colonies, Wesley decisively appointed fellow priest Thomas Coke as superintendent (bishop) to organize a separate Methodist Society. Together with Coke, Wesley sent a revision of the Anglican Prayerbook and the Articles of Religion which were received by the Baltimore Christmas Conference of 1784, officially establishing the Methodist Episcopal Church. The conference was held at the Lovely Lane Methodist Church, considered the Mother Church of American Methodism. John Wesley did not approve of the actions of the American Society; he would continue to be in correspondence with various people about his objections.
The new church grew rapidly in the young country as it employed circuit riders, many of whom were laymen, to travel the mostly rural nation by horseback to preach the Gospel and to establish churches until there was scarcely any village in the United States without a Methodist presence. With 4000 circuit riders by 1844, the Methodist Episcopal Church rapidly became the largest Protestant denomination in the country.
In the more than 220 years since 1784, Methodism in the United States, like many other Protestant denominations, has seen a number of divisions and mergers. In 1830, the Methodist Protestant Church split from the Methodist Episcopal Church over the issue of laity having a voice and vote in the administration of the church, insisting that clergy should not be the only ones to have any determination in how the church was to be operated. In 1844, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church split into two conferences because of tensions over slavery and the power of bishops in the denomination.
The two general conferences, Methodist Episcopal Church (the northern section) and Methodist Episcopal Church, South remained separate until 1939. That year, the northern and southern Methodist Episcopal Churches and the Methodist Protestant Church merged to create The Methodist Church. The uniting conference took place at First Methodist Church (now First United Methodist Church) of Marion, Indiana.
On April 23, 1968, the United Methodist Church was created when the Evangelical United Brethren Church (represented by Bishop Reuben H. Mueller) and The Methodist Church (represented by Bishop Lloyd Christ Wicke) joined hands at the constituting General Conference in Dallas, Texas. With the words, “Lord of the Church, we are united in Thee, in Thy Church and now in The United Methodist Church”  the new denomination was given birth by the two churches that had distinguished histories and influential ministries in various parts of the world.
Combining the personal holiness emphasis of the evangelical influence in the church with the outreach emphasis from the social gospel proponents has created a combination of practices within the United Methodist Church.
|Part of a series on
The United Methodist Church seeks to create disciples for Christ through outreach, evangelism, and through seeking holiness through the process of sanctification. With a focus on triune worship, United Methodists seek to bring honor to God by following the model of Jesus Christ, which is made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit. The flame in the church logo represents the work of the Holy Spirit in the world, which is seen in believers through spiritual gifts. The two parts of the flame represent the predecessor denominations, the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren, and are united at the base symbolizing the 1968 merger.
The United Methodist Church understands itself to be part of the holy catholic (or universal) church as it recognizes the historic ecumenical creeds, the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed; they are used frequently in services of worship. The Book of Discipline also recognizes the importance of the Chalcedonian Creed of the Council of Chalcedon. Nevertheless, it also upholds the concept of the “visible and invisible Church,” meaning that all who are truly believers in every age belong to the holy Church invisible, while the United Methodist Church is a form of the Church visible, to which all believers should belong as it is the institution where worship in the name of Jesus is conducted and the sacraments are administered; nonetheless, there may be many unworthy members in the visible church. The Methodist Church can lay a claim on apostolic succession, as understood in the traditional sense, since the Rt. Rev. John Wesley ordained and sent forth every Methodist preacher in his day, who preached and baptized and ordained, and since every Methodist preacher who has ever been ordained as a Methodist was ordained in this direct “succession” from Wesley, who was consecrated a bishop by Erasmus of Arcadia. Despite this fact, most Methodists view apostolic succession outside its high church sense, presenting the Rt. Rev. Wesley’s citing of an ancient opinion from the Church of Alexandria, which held that that bishops and presbyters constituted one order and therefore, bishops are to be elected from and by the presbyterate; as such, the United Methodist Church follows this ancient precedent today.
While many United Methodist congregations operate in the evangelical tradition, others are similar to many mainline Protestant denominations. Although United Methodist beliefs have evolved over time, these beliefs can be traced to the writings of the church’s founders, John Wesley and Charles Wesley (Anglicans), Philip William Otterbein and Martin Boehm (United Brethren), and Jacob Albright (Evangelical). With the formation of The United Methodist Church in 1968, theologian Albert C. Outler led the team which systematized denominational doctrine. Outler’s work proved pivotal in the work of union, and he is largely considered the first United Methodist theologian.
The officially established Doctrinal Standards of United Methodism are:
- The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church;
- The Confessions of Faith of the Evangelical United Brethren Church;
- The General Rules of the Methodist Societies;
- The Standard Sermons of John Wesley;
- And John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes on the New Testament.
These Doctrinal Standards are constitutionally protected and nearly impossible to change or remove. The founder of the Methodist Church, the Rt. Rev. John Wesley recognized none as Methodists who did not recognize the named Standards of Doctrine. Other doctrines of the United Methodist Church are found in the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church.
Summary of basic beliefs
The basic beliefs of The United Methodist Church include:
- Triune God. God is one God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost).
- Scripture. The writings in the Old Testament and New Testament are the inspired word of God.
- Sin. While human beings were intended to bear the image of God, all humans are sinners for whom that image is distorted. Sin estranges us from God and corrupts human nature such that we cannot heal or save ourselves.
- Salvation through Jesus Christ. God’s redeeming love is active to save sinners through Jesus’ incarnate life and teachings, through his atoning death, his resurrection, his sovereign presence through history, and his promised return.
- Sacraments. The UMC recognizes only two sacraments: Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. Other rites such as Confirmation, Ordination, Holy Matrimony, Funerals, and Anointing of the Sick are performed but are not considered sacraments. In Holy Baptism, the Church believes that “Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized; but it is also a sign of regeneration or the new birth. It believes that Baptism is a sacrament in which God initiates a covenant with individuals, people become a part of the Church, is not to be repeated, and is a means of grace. The United Methodist Church generally practices Baptism by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion and recognizes Trinitarian formula baptisms from other Christian denominations in good standing. The United Methodist Church affirms the real presence of Christ in Holy Communion, (the bread is an effectual sign of His body crucified on the cross and the cup is an effectual sign of His blood shed for humanity), believes that the celebration is an anamnesis of Jesus’ death, believes the sacrament to be a means of grace, and practices open communion.
- Free will. The UMC believes that people, while corrupted by sin, are free to make their own choices because of God’s divine grace.
- Grace. The UMC believes that God gives unmerited favor freely to all people, though it may be resisted.
Distinctive Wesleyan emphases
The key emphasis of Wesley’s theology relates to how Divine grace operates within the individual. Wesley defined the Way of Salvation as the operation of grace in at least three parts: Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace, and Sanctifying Grace.
Prevenient grace, or the grace that “goes before” us, is given to all people. It is that power which enables us to love and motivates us to seek a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This grace is the present work of God to turn us from our sin-corrupted human will to the loving will of the Father. In this work, God desires that we might sense both our sinfulness before God and God’s offer of salvation. Prevenient grace allows those tainted by sin to nevertheless make a truly free choice to accept or reject God’s salvation in Christ.
Justifying Grace or Accepting Grace is that grace, offered by God to all people, that we receive by faith and trust in Christ, through which God pardons the believer of sin. It is in justifying grace we are received by God, in spite of our sin. In this reception, we are forgiven through the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross. The justifying grace cancels our guilt and empowers us to resist the power of sin and to fully love God and neighbor. Today, justifying grace is also known as conversion, “accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior,” or being “born again“. John Wesley originally called this experience the New Birth. This experience can occur in different ways; it can be one transforming moment, such as an altar call experience, or it may involve a series of decisions across a period of time.
Sanctifying Grace is that grace of God which sustains the believers in the journey toward Christian Perfection: a genuine love of God with heart, soul, mind, and strength, and a genuine love of our neighbors as ourselves. Sanctifying grace enables us to respond to God by leading a Spirit-filled and Christ-like life aimed toward love. In Methodism, a man who has experienced entire sanctification can be absolutely sure he will reach heaven. Such a man can lose all inclination to evil and can gain perfection in this life. Wesley never claimed this state of perfection for himself but instead insisted the attainment of perfection was possible for all Christians.
Wesleyan theology maintains that salvation is the act of God’s grace entirely, from invitation, to pardon, to growth in holiness. Furthermore, God’s prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying grace interact dynamically in the lives of Christians from birth to death.
For Wesley, good works were the fruit of one’s salvation, not the way in which that salvation was earned. Faith and good works go hand in hand in Methodist theology: a living tree naturally and inevitably bears fruit. Wesleyan theology rejects the doctrine of eternal security, believing that salvation can be rejected. Wesley emphasized that believers must continue to grow in their relationship with Christ, through the process of Sanctification.
A key outgrowth of this theology is the United Methodist dedication not only to the Evangelical Gospel of repentance and a personal relationship with God, but also to the Social Gospel and a commitment to social justice issues that have included abolition, women’s suffrage, labor rights, civil rights, and ministry to the poor. Thus, Wesleyan theology is sometimes characterized as “progressive evangelical.”
Characterization of Wesleyan theology
Wesleyan theology stands at a unique cross-roads between evangelical and sacramental, between liturgical and charismatic, and between Anglo-Catholic and Reformed theology and practice. It has been characterized by Arminian theology with an emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit to bring holiness into the life of the participating believer. The United Methodist Church believes in prima scriptura, seeing the Holy Bible as the primary authority in the Church and using sacred tradition, reason, and experience to interpret it, with the aid of the Holy Spirit (see Wesleyan Quadrilateral). Therefore, according to The Book of Discipline, United Methodist theology is at once “catholic, evangelical, and reformed.” Today, the UMC is generally considered one of the more moderate and tolerant denominations with respect to race, gender, and ideology, though the denomination itself actually includes a very wide spectrum of attitudes. Comparatively, the UMC stands to the right of liberal and progressive Protestant groups such as the United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church on certain lifestyle issues (especially regarding sexuality), but to the left of historically conservative evangelical traditions such as the Southern Baptists and Pentecostalism, in regard to theological matters such as social justice and Biblical interpretation.
Diversity within beliefs
In making an appeal to a toleration of diversity of theological opinion, John Wesley said, “Though we may not think alike, may we not all love alike?” The phrase “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity” has also become a maxim among Methodists, who have always maintained a great diversity of opinion on many matters within the Church.
The United Methodist Church allows for a wide range of theological and political beliefs. For example, Republican former PresidentGeorge W. Bush is United Methodist and Republican former Vice President Dick Cheney attends a United Methodist Church, although he is not a member. The junior U.S. Senator from Ohio, Rob Portman, attends Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church in Cincinnati. In addition, DemocraticSecretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Senator Max Cleland are also United Methodists. Many practicing United Methodists believe this flexibility is one of the UMC’s strongest qualities.
The United Methodist Church upholds the sanctity of unborn human life and is reluctant to affirm abortion as an acceptable practice. Further, the Church strongly condemns the use of late-term or partial birth abortion, “except when the physical life of the mother is in danger and no other medical procedure is available, or in the case of severe fetal anomalies incompatible with life.” The Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality (TUMAS) was formed in 1987 to further the pro-life ministry in the United Methodist Church. In addition, the denomination as a whole is committed to “assist the ministry of crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers that compassionately help women find feasible alternatives to abortion;” however, the Church emphasizes the need to be in supportive ministry with all women, regardless of their choice. As such, The United Methodist Church encourages society to support and facilitate the option of adoption and also provide nurturing ministries to those who have terminated a pregnancy.
Historically, the Methodist Church has supported the temperance movement.John Wesley warned against the dangers of drinking in his famous sermon, “The Use of Money,” and in his letter to an alcoholic. At one time, Methodist ministers had to take a pledge not to drink and encouraged their congregations to do the same. Today the United Methodist Church states that it “affirms our long-standing support of abstinence from alcohol as a faithful witness to God’s liberating and redeeming love for persons.” In fact, the United Methodist Church uses unfermented grape juice in the sacrament of Holy Communion, thus “expressing pastoral concern for recovering alcoholics, enabling the participation of children and youth, and supporting the church’s witness of abstinence.” Moreover, in 2011 and 2012, The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Church and Society called on all United Methodists to abstain from alcohol for Lent.
The United Methodist Church, along with other Methodist churches, condemns capital punishment, saying that it cannot accept retribution or social vengeance as a reason for taking human life. The Church also holds that the death penalty falls unfairly and unequally upon marginalized persons including the poor, the uneducated, ethnic and religious minorities, and persons with mental and emotional illnesses. The United Methodist Church also believes that Jesus explicitly repudiated the lex talionis in Matthew 5:38-39 and abolished the death penalty in John 8:7. The General Conference of the United Methodist Church calls for its bishops to uphold opposition to capital punishment and for governments to enact an immediate moratorium on carrying out the death penalty sentence.
The United Methodist Church opposes gambling, believing that it is a sin which feeds on human greed and which invites people to place their trust in possessions, rather than in God, whom Christians should “love … with all your heart.”[Mark 12:29-30]  It quotes the Apostle Paul who states:
But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
— 1 Tim. 6:9-10a
The United Methodist Church therefore holds that:
- Gambling is a menace to society, deadly to the best interests of moral, social, economic, and spiritual life, and destructive of good government. As an act of faith and concern, Christians should abstain from gambling and should strive to minister to those victimized by the practice.
- Where gambling has become addictive, the Church will encourage such individuals to receive therapeutic assistance so that the individual’s energies may be redirected into positive and constructive ends.
- The Church should promote standards and personal lifestyles that would make unnecessary and undesirable the resort to commercial gambling—including public lotteries—as a recreation, as an escape, or as a means of producing public revenue or funds for support of charities or government.
The United Methodist Church “affirm[s] that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God” and encourages United Methodists to be in ministry with and for all people.
In accordance with its view of Scripture, the Church officially considers, “the practice of homosexuality (to be) incompatible with Christian teaching.” It states that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” cannot be ordained as ministers, and supports “…laws in civil society that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
In addition, the United Methodist Church prohibits the celebration of same-sex unions. Rev. Jimmy Creech was defrocked after a highly publicized church trial in 1999 in response to his participation in same-sex union ceremonies. It forbids any United Methodist board, agency, committee, commission, or council to give United Methodist funds to any gay organization or group, or otherwise use such funds to promote the acceptance of homosexuality.
Nevertheless, The United Methodist Church “implore[s] families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends” and commits itself to be in ministry with all persons, affirming that God’s grace, love, and forgiveness is available to all.
In 1987, a United Methodist church court in New Hampshire defrocked Methodist minister Rose Mary Denman for being openly gay. In 2005, clergy credentials were removed from Irene Elizabeth Stroud after she was convicted in a church trial of violating church law by engaging in a lesbian relationship; this conviction was later upheld by the Judicial Council, the highest court in the denomination. The Judicial Council also affirmed that a Virginia pastor had the right to deny local church membership to an openly gay man. This affirmation, however, was based upon a senior pastor’s right to judge the readiness of a congregant to join as a full member of the church.
According to The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church,
PornographyThe United Methodist Church opposes conscription as incompatible with the teaching of Scripture. Therefore, the Church supports and extends its ministry to those persons who conscientiously oppose all war, or any particular war, and who therefore refuse to serve in the armed forces or to cooperate with systems of military conscription. However, the United Methodist Church also supports and extends its ministry to those persons who conscientiously choose to serve in the armed forces or to accept alternative service. The church also states that “as Christians they are aware that neither the way of military action, nor the way of inaction is always righteous before God.”
The United Methodist Church teaches that pornography is “about violence, degradation, exploitation, and coercion” and “deplore[s] all forms of commercialization, abuse, and exploitation of sex.” The Sexual Ethics Task Force of The United Methodist Church states that “Research shows it [pornography] is not an ‘innocent activity.’ It is harmful and is generally addictive. Persons who are addicted to pornography are physiologically altered, as is their perspective, relationships with parishioners and family, and their perceptions of girls and women.”
Stem cell research
The UMC supports federal funding for research on embryos created for IVF that remain after the procreative efforts have ceased, if the embryos were provided for research instead of being destroyed, were not obtained by sale, and those donating had given prior informed consent for the research purposes. The UMC stands in “opposition to the creation of embryos for the sake of research” as “a human embryo, even at its earliest stages, commands our reverence.” It supports research on stem cells retrieved from umbilical cords and adult stem cells, stating that there are “few moral questions” raised by this issue.
The United Methodist Church maintains that war is incompatible with Christ‘s message and teachings. Therefore, the Church rejects war as an instrument of national foreign policy, to be employed only as a last resort in the prevention of such evils as genocide, brutal suppression of human rights, and unprovoked international aggression. It insists that the first moral duty of all nations is to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises between or among them; that human values must outweigh military claims as governments determine their priorities; that the militarization of society must be challenged and stopped; that the manufacture, sale, and deployment of armaments must be reduced and controlled; and that the production, possession, or use of nuclear weapons be condemned. Consequently, the United Methodist Church endorses general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.
Worship and liturgy
The United Methodist Church includes a variety of approaches to public worship. While each congregation may follow a familiar pattern, how each congregation does so varies.
The common pattern comes from John Wesley who wrote that
Most worship experiences will include:When the Methodists in America were separated from the Church of England, John Wesley himself provided a revised version of The Book of Common Prayer called the Sunday Service of the Methodists in North America. Wesley’s Sunday Service has shaped the official liturgies of the Methodists ever since.
- Singing. Since the days of Charles Wesley, the hymn-writer and early Methodist leader, lively singing has been, and remains, an important aspect of United Methodist worship.
- A Biblical Message. Listening to the reading of Scripture and a sermon based upon the Biblical text is virtually always included in United Methodist worship. Many United Methodist churches follow the Revised Common Lectionary for their Sunday Bible readings.
- Prayer. Many churches include a time of response or a prayer time in which people may share concerns or pray with ministers. This time of response may include celebrations of baptism, confirmation, or profession of faith.
- Holy Communion. Some congregations celebrate communion on the first Sunday of the month or even quarterly. Many congregations also celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion on a weekly basis, as John Wesley himself encouraged his followers to practice. In adopting the statement on Holy Communion entitled This Holy Mystery in 2004, the General Conference of the Church urged congregations to move toward weekly celebration of communion and to use the official liturgies of the church when doing so.
- Giving. Almost every service has an opportunity for those gathered to give of their “tithes and offerings” to support the ministry of that particular congregation. Through apportionments, a portion of those gifts go to Christian ministries that have a national and/or global impact.
In larger churches, both traditional and contemporary worship models are presented in multiple services. The United Methodist Church allows flexibility in the use of the official services. Many churches use only portions in their regular worship activities. Many United Methodist congregations have incorporated more contemporary styles of music and audio-visual technology into their worship services, though most of these churches also offer traditional services.
The United Methodist Church has official liturgies for services of Holy Communion, baptism, weddings, funerals, ordination, anointing of the sick, and daily office prayer services, as well as special services for holy days such as All Saints Day, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil. These services are contained in The United Methodist Hymnal and The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992). Some of these liturgies are derived from the Anglican tradition’s Book of Common Prayer. In some cases, congregations also use other elements associated with liturgical worship; examples include candles, vestments, paraments, banners, and liturgical art.
Other practices, such as healing services and exorcisms are also performed, the latter requiring the pastor’s consultation with his district superintendent. These services involve the laying on of hands and anointing with oil.
The chancel of United Methodist churches usually features a lectern and baptismal font on one side of the altar table and a pulpit on the other side. The chancel also features the Christian Flag and sometimes, a processional cross.
Saints in the United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church’s understanding of “saint” is not unique among Protestants. They consider all faithful Christians to be saints, as the word is used throughout the New Testament epistles. Examples may be found in Acts 9:13 (“saints in Jerusalem”), Acts 9:32) (“saints who lived at Lyyda”), Acts 26:10 (“I lock(ed) up many of the saints in prisons”), Philippians 4:21 (“Greet every saint in Christ Jesus…”) Christians are saints by virtue of their connection with Jesus Christ—no implication of “saintliness” is implied or intended.
Methodists also honor heroes and heroines of the Christian faith whose lives are an example for the living (see 1 Corinthians 11:1). This might include martyrs, confessors of the Faith, evangelists, or important biblical figures such as Saint Matthew, the Lutheran theologian and martyr to the Nazis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Salvation Army Founder William Booth, African missionary David Livingstone and Methodism’s revered founder John Wesley are among many cited as Protestant saints.
Methodists do not have a process for canonizing Saints and do not practice the veneration or patronage of Saints, though Methodist institutions may be named after a biblical figure (e.g., “St. James UMC”). Article XIV of The United Methodist Articles of Religion yields further insight on the denominational stance of Saints:
The church is decentralized with the General Conference being the official governing body. However, administratively the church has a governing structure that is similar to that of the United States government:
- General Conference—The legislative branch that makes all decisions as to doctrine and polity.
- Council of Bishops—When taken into consideration along with the various general agencies of the church, takes on a role similar to an executive branch. The Council of Bishops consists of all active and retired bishops and meets twice a year. According to the Book of Discipline 2000, “The Church expects the Council of Bishops to speak to the Church and from the Church to the world, and to give leadership in the quest for Christian unity and interreligious relationships.” The council is presided over by a President who serves a two-year term. The President has no official authority beyond presiding. Administrative work is handled by the secretary of the council.
- Judicial Council—The judicial branch consisting of nine persons elected by the General Conference to rule on questions of constitutionality in church law and practice.
The United Methodist Church is organized into conferences. The highest level is called the General Conference and is the only organization which may speak officially for the church. The General Conference meets every four years (quadrennium). Legislative changes are recorded in The Book of Discipline which is revised after each General Conference. Non-legislative resolutions are recorded in the Book of Resolutions, which is published after each General Conference, and expire after eight years unless passed again by a subsequent session of General Conference. The last General Conference was held in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2008. The next General Conference will be April 25-May 4, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The event is currently rotated between the U.S. jurisdictions of the church. If the system is not changed beforehand, the 2016 General Conference would be in the West, which has not hosted since Denver, Colorado in 1996. Bishops, Councils, Committees, Boards, Elders, etc., are not permitted to speak on behalf of The United Methodist Church as this authority is reserved solely for the General Conference in accordance with the Book of Discipline.
The plenary session is presided over by an active bishop who has been selected by committee of delegates to the Conference. It is not uncommon for different bishops to preside on different days. The presiding officer usually is accompanied by parliamentarians.
Jurisdictional and Central Conferences
Subordinate to the General Conference are Jurisdictional and Central Conferences which also meet every four years. The United States is divided into five jurisdictions: Northeastern, Southeastern, North Central, South Central and Western. Outside the United States the church is divided into seven central conferences: Africa, Congo, West Africa, Central & Southern Europe, Germany, Northern Europe and the Philippines. The main purpose of the jurisdictions and central conferences is to elect and appoint bishops, the chief administrators of the church. Bishops thus elected serve Episcopal Areas, which consist of one or more Annual Conferences.
Decisions in between the four-year meetings are made by the Mission Council (usually consisting of church bishops). One of the most high profile decisions in recent years by one of the Councils was a decision by the Mission Council of the South Central Jurisdiction which in March 2007 approved a 99-year lease of 36 acres (150,000 m2) at Southern Methodist University for the George W. Bush Presidential Library. The decision generated controversy in light of the Bush’s support of the Iraq War which the church bishops have criticized. A debate over whether the decision should or could be submitted for approval by the Southern Jurisdictional Conference at its July 2008 meeting in Dallas, Texas remains unresolved.
The Judicial Council is the highest court in the denomination. It consists of nine members, both laity and clergy, elected by the General Conference for an eight year term. The ratio of laity to clergy alternates every eight years. The Judicial Council interprets the Book of Discipline between sessions of General Conference, and during General Conference, the Judicial Council rules on the constitutionality of laws passed by General Conference. The Council also determines whether actions of local churches, annual conferences, church agencies, and bishops are in accordance with church law. The Council reviews all decisions of law made by bishops The Judicial Council cannot create any legislation; it can only interpret existing legislation. The Council meets twice a year at various locations throughout the world. The Judicial Council also hears appeals from those who have been accused of chargeable offenses that can result in defrocking or revocation of membership.
The Annual Conference, roughly the equivalent of a diocese in the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church or a synod in some Lutheran denominations such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is the basic unit of organization within the UMC. The term Annual Conference is often used to refer to the geographical area it covers as well as the frequency of meeting. Clergy are members of their Annual Conference rather than of any local congregation, and are appointed to a local church or other charge annually by the conference’s Resident Bishop at the meeting of the Annual Conference. In many ways, the United Methodist Church operates in a connectional organization of the Annual Conferences, and actions taken by one conference are not binding upon another.
Annual conferences are further divided into Districts, each served by a District Superintendent. The district superintendents are also appointed annually from the ordained elders of the Annual Conference by the bishop. District superintendents, upon completion of their service as superintendent, routinely return to serving local congregations. The Annual Conference cabinet is composed of the resident bishop and the district superintendents.
The Book of Discipline is the guidebook for local churches and pastors, it describes in considerable detail the organizational structure of local United Methodist Churches. All UM churches must have a Board of Trustees with nine members and at least three must be women. All churches must also have a nominations committee, a finance committee and a church council or administrative council. Other committees are suggested but not required such as a missions committee, or evangelism or worship committee. Term limits are set for some committees but not for all. The Church Conference is an annual meeting of all the officers of the church and any interested members. This committee has the exclusive power to set the pastor’s salaries (call them compensation packages for tax purposes) and to elect officers to the committees.
There is no official headquarters of church although many of its biggest administrative offices are in Nashville, Tennessee and are physically located near Vanderbilt University (which has historic Methodist ties but is no longer associated with the church).
While the General Conference is the only organization that can officially speak for The United Methodist Church as a whole, there are 13 agencies, boards and commissions of the general church. These organizations address specific topic areas of denomination-wide concern with administrative offices throughout the United States.
- General Council on Finance and Administration (Nashville) (GCFA)
- General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (Glenview, Illinois) (GBOPHB)
- General Board of Church and Society (Washington, DC) (GBCS)
- General Board of Discipleship (Nashville) (GBOD)
- General Board of Global Ministries (New York City) (GBGM)
- General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (Nashville) (GBHEM)
- General Commission on Archives and History (Madison, New Jersey) (GCAH)
- General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns (New York City) (GCCUIC)
- General Commission on Religion and Race (Washington, DC) (GCORR)
- General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (Chicago) (GCSRW)
- General Commission on United Methodist Men (Nashville) (GCUMM)
- United Methodist Communications (Nashville) (UMCom)
- United Methodist Publishing House (Nashville) (UMPH)
Moreover, the United Methodist Church is affiliated with around one hundred colleges and universities in the United States, including Syracuse, Boston, Emory, Duke, Drew, Denver, and Southern Methodist University. It also operates three hundred sixty schools and institutions overseas. In America, the United Methodist Church runs seventy-two hospitals.
All active UM pastors are “in connection” to, or members of, an annual conference and they are appointed to whatever church or ministry they serve by the Bishop of that annual conference. There are several types of Methodist clergy that may serve a local church. There are ordained Elders, Deacon, and licenced local pastors (more info below). Certified Lay Ministers (lay people who have undergone extensive training through the Board of Discipleship) may also be appointed to serve a church but under the supervision and direction of an Elders. Certified Lay Ministers do not admnisister sacraments but may be authorized to preach.
The first Methodist clergy were ordained by John Wesley, a minister in the Church of England, because of the crisis caused by the American Revolution which isolated the Methodists in the States from the Church of England and its sacraments. Today, the clergy includes men and women who are ordained by Bishops as Elders and Deacons and are appointed to various ministries. Elders in the United Methodist Church (UMC) are part of what is called the itinerating ministry and are subject to the authority and appointment of their bishops. They generally serve as pastors at local congregations. Deacons make up a serving ministry and may serve as musicians, liturgists, educators, business administrators, and a number of other ministries. Elders and deacons are required to obtain master’s degrees (generally an M.Div.), or other equivalent degrees, before commissioning and then ultimately ordination. Elders in full connection are each a member of their Annual Conference Order of Elders. Likewise each Deacon in full connection is a member of their Annual Conference Order of Deacons.
Elders and Deacons
The main difference between elders and deacons is that elders, in a priestly function, connect the people to God, while deacons, in a servant leadership function, connect the people of God to service in the world. In the priestly function, the elder has the authority to preside over the two sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, while deacons are to assist in the leadership of these sacraments. Elders are itinerant; they are appointed to a place of leadership at the decision of their bishop. Deacons are also appointed to a place of service by the bishop, but they are not itinerant. Deacons choose a place of service and request appointment from the bishop. Deacons whose primary appointment is beyond the local church also have a secondary appointment to a worshiping congregation. (The United Methodist Book of Discipline spells out these distinctions.)
Ordination of women
The Methodist Church has allowed ordination of women with full rights of clergy since 1956, based on biblical principle.[Gal. 3:28]  “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” The United Methodist Church, along with some other Protestant churches, holds that when the historical contexts involved are understood, a coherent Biblical argument can be made in favor of women’s ordination.
At the 1996 General Conference the ordination order of transitional deacon was abolished. This created new orders known as the “provisional elder” or “provisional deacon” for those who seek to be ordained in the respective orders. The provisional elder/deacon is a recent seminary graduate who serves two years in a full-time appointment after being commissioned. During this two or three year period, the provisional elder is granted sacramental ministry in their local appointment. This was a change in its theology of ministry for the United Methodist Church in the ordering of its ministry. For the first time in its history non-ordained pastors became a normal expectation, rather than an extraordinary provision for ministry. The United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry has proposed to the 2012 General Conference(April 24-May 4 in Tampa, Fla) that the practice of commissioning be discontinued effective January 1, 2013.
When elders are not available to be appointed to a local church, either through shortage of personnel; financial hardship of a pastoral charge; or possess particular skills or gifts the Bishop may appoint a “Local Pastor” to serve the pastoral appointment. Full-time and part-time licensed local pastors under appointment are clergy members of the annual conference in which they are appointed. Those who are licensed for pastoral ministry and appointed to the local church shall preach, conduct divine worship and perform the duties of a pastor. The licensed local pastor has the authority of a pastor only within the setting and during the time of the appointment and shall not extend beyond it. Local pastors are not required to have advanced degrees but are required to pass an approved five year Course of Study at an approved United Methodist seminary or Course of Study School; successfully complete written and oral examinations and appear before the District Committee on Ministry and the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry. They may become an ordained Elder if they complete their bachelors degree; requirements of their particular Conference Board of Ordained Ministry; as well as prescribed seminary courses at an approved United Methodist Seminary. Upon retirement, Local Pastors return to their Charge Conference as Lay Members.
All clergy appointments are made and fixed annually by the Resident Bishop on the advice of the Annual Conference Cabinet, which is composed of the Area Provost/Dean (if one is appointed) and the several District Superintendents of the Districts of the Annual Conference. Until the Bishop has read the appointments at the session of the Annual Conference, no appointments are officially fixed. Many Annual Conferences try to avoid making appointment changes between sessions of Annual Conference. While an appointment is made one year at a time, it is most common for an appointment to be continued for multiple years. One recent survey concluded that small church appointments currently average three to four years, while large church appointments average seven to nine years. Appointment tenures in extension ministries, such as Military Chaplaincy, Campus Ministry, Missions, Higher Education and other ministries beyond the local church are often even longer. Across the denomination, longer tenures are becoming more common.
Another position in the United Methodist Church is that of the lay speaker. Although not considered clergy, lay speakers often preach during services of worship when an ordained elder or deacon is unavailable. There are two categories of lay speakers: local church lay speakers, who serve in and through their local churches, and certified lay speakers, who serve in their own churches, in other churches, and through district or conference projects and programs. To be recognized as local church lay speakers, they must be recommended by their pastor and Church Council or Charge Conference, and complete the basic course for lay speaking. Each year they must reapply, reporting how they have served and continued to learn during that year. To be recognized as certified lay speakers, they must be recommended by their pastor and Church Council or Charge Conference, complete the basic course and one advanced lay speaking course, and be interviewed by the District or Conference Committee on Lay Speaking. They must report and reapply annually; and they must complete at least one advanced course every three years.
Certified Lay Minister
The 2004 General Conference created another class of ministry, the Certified Lay Minister (CLM). CLMs are not considered clergy but instead remain lay members of the United Methodist Church. They must complete coursework beyond that of Certified Lay Speaker and then can be assigned to provide pastoral leadership to a church by the District Superintendent. They do not have sacramental authority; Certified Lay Ministers serve under the supervision of an ordained clergy person who is expected to provide the sacraments to those churches.
There are two classes of lay membership in the UMC: Baptized Members and Professing Members.
The United Methodist Church (UMC) practices infant and adult baptism. Baptized Members are those who have been baptized as an infant or child, but who have not subsequently professed their own faith. These Baptized Members become Professing Members through confirmation and sometimes the profession of faith. Individuals who were not previously baptized are baptized as part of their profession of faith and thus become Professing Members in this manner. Individuals may also become a Professing Member through transfer from another Christian denomination.
Baptism is a sacrament in the UMC, while confirmation and profession of faith are not. The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church directs the local church to offer membership preparation or confirmation classes to all people, including adults. The term confirmation is generally reserved for youth, while some variation on membership class is generally used for adults wishing to join the church. The Book of Discipline normally allows any youth at least completing sixth grade to participate, although the pastor has discretionary authority to allow a younger person to participate. In confirmation and membership preparation classes, students learn about Church and the Methodist-Christian theological tradition in order to profess their ultimate faith in Christ.
The lay members of the church are extremely important in the UMC. The Professing Members are part of all major decisions in the church. General, Jurisdictional, Central, and Annual Conferences are all required to have an equal number of laity and clergy.
In a local church, many decisions are made by an administrative board or council. This council is made up of laity representing various other organizations within the local church. The elder or local pastor sits on the council as a voting member.
The United Methodist Church is one tradition within the Christian Church. The United Methodist Church is active in ecumenical relations with other Christian groups and denominations. It is a member of the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, Churches Uniting in Christ, and Christian Churches Together. In addition, it voted to seek observer status in the National Association of Evangelicals and in the World Evangelical Fellowship.
In April 2005, the United Methodist Council of Bishops approved “A Proposal for Interim Eucharistic Sharing.” This document was the first step toward full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The ELCA approved this same document in August 2005. At the 2008 General Conference, the United Methodist Church approved full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA approved this document on August 20, 2009 at its annual churchwide assembly.
The Church is also in dialogue with the Episcopal Church for full communion by 2012. The two denominations are working on a document called “Confessing Our Faith Together.”
The United Methodist Church has since 1985 been exploring a possible merger with three historically African-American Methodist denominations: the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. A Commission on Pan Methodist Cooperation and Union formed in 2000 to carry out work on such a merger.
There are also a number of churches such as the Methodist Church in India (MCI), that are “autonomous affiliated” churches in relation to the United Methodist Church.
The United Methodist Church (UMC) is also a member of the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium, which seeks to reconceive and promote Biblical holiness in today’s Church. It is also active in the World Methodist Council, an interdenominational group composed of various churches in the tradition of John Wesley to promote the Gospel throughout the world. On July 18, 2006, delegates to the World Methodist Council voted unanimously to adopt the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification“, which was approved in 1999 by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation.
Like many other mainline Protestant denominations in the United States, the United Methodist Church has experienced significant membership losses in recent decades. At the time of its formation, the UMC had about 11 million members in nearly 42,000 congregations. In 1975, membership dropped below 10 million for the first time. In 2005, there were about 8 million members in over 34,000 congregations. Membership is concentrated primarily in the Midwest and in the South. Texas has the largest number of members, with about 1 million. The states with the highest membership rates are Oklahoma, Iowa, Mississippi, West Virginia, and North Carolina.
By the opening of the 2008 General Conference, total UMC membership was estimated at 11.4 million, with about 7.9 million in the U.S. and 3.5 million overseas. Significantly, about 20% of the conference delegates were from Africa, with Filipinos and Europeans making up another 10%. During the conference, the delegates voted to finalize the induction of the Methodist Church of the Ivory Coast and its 700,000 members into the denomination. Given current trends in the UMC—with overseas churches growing, especially in Africa, and U.S. churches collectively losing about 1,000 members a week—it has been estimated that Africans will make up at least 30% of the delegates at the 2012 General Conference, and it is also possible that 40% of the delegates will be from outside the U.S. One Congolese bishop has estimated that typical Sunday attendance of the UMC is higher in his country than in the entire United States.
- ^ “Mainline Denominations”. The Association of Religion Data Archives. http://www.thearda.com/mapsReports/reports/mainline.asp. Retrieved 2007–08–01.
- ^ “Is the concept “saved, born-again” unique to evangelicals?”. The United Methodist Church. http://www.umc.org/site/apps/ka/ct/contactcustom.asp?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=2068577#. Retrieved 2007–03–25.
- ^ United Methodists are…. United Methodist Communications. “The United Methodist Church continues its strong evangelical heritage. Within each congregation is a vital center of biblical study and evangelism—a blending of personal piety and discipleship.”
- ^Faith and form: a unity of theology & polity in the United Methodist tradition. Zondervan. http://books.google.com/books?id=hiiMZKHiSocC&q=polity+united+methodist+church&dq=polity+united+methodist+church&cd=9. Retrieved 2010-03-27. “Thus the superintendency has been a key part of the Methodist connectional system.”
- ^ a bc de f“Quick Facts”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=6&mid=2119. Retrieved 2007–08–01.
- ^ “What We Believe—Founder of the United Methodist Church”. United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay. http://www.umcwfb.org/_ABOUTUS/about_us_ourstory.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
- ^“About The Methodist Church”. Methodist Central Hall Westminster. Archived from the original on January 21, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070121041402/http://www.methodist-central-hall.org.uk/history/WhatisMethodism.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-31.
- ^“Wesleyanism”. Longhenry. http://www.deusvitae.com/faith/denominations/wesleyanism.html. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
- ^ “Is the concept “saved, born-again” unique to evangelicals?”. The United Methodist Church. http://www.umc.org/site/apps/ka/ct/contactcustom.asp?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=2068577#. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
- ^ “Understanding American Evangelicals”. Ethics and Public Policy Center. http://www.eppc.org/publications/pubID.1943/pub_detail.asp. Retrieved 2007-08-02.
- ^“2007 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches”. The National Council of Churches. http://www.ncccusa.org/news/070305yearbook2007.html. Retrieved 2007-08-07.
- ^“Boom in Christianity Reshapes United Methodists”. The Christian Post. http://www.christianpost.com/article/20070424/27070_Boom_in_Christianity_Reshapes_United_Methodists.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-08.
- ^ Wesley, John. A Short History of Methodism. Online: http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/Wesley/shorthistory.stm. Accessed 1 May 2009.
- ^“Methodists”. The American Religious Experience (West Virginia University). http://are.as.wvu.edu/christv.htm. Retrieved 2007–12–24.
- ^“Origins: Christmas Conference”. Greensboro College. http://www.gborocollege.edu/prescorner/christmas.html. Retrieved 2007–12–24.
- ^ “Maryland Historical Trust”. Lovely Lane Methodist Church, Baltimore City. Maryland Historical Trust. 2008-11-21. http://mht.maryland.gov/nr/NRDetail.aspx?HDID=171&COUNTY=Baltimore%20City&FROM=NRCountyList.aspx?COUNTY=Baltimore%20City.
- ^ 1968 General Conference Daily Christian Advocate
- ^“Our Common Heritage as Christians”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1806. Retrieved 2007–06–24.
- ^“The Apostles’ Creed”. The United Methodist Church GBGM. http://gbgm-umc.org/UMW/bible/apcreed.html. Retrieved 2007–06–24.
- ^“The Nicene Creed”. The United Methodist Church GBGM. http://gbgm-umc.org/UMW/BIBLE/ncreed.html. Retrieved 2007–06–24.
- ^“Is the United Methodist Church a Creedal Church? by G. Richard Jansen”. Colorado State University. http://lamar.colostate.edu/~grjan/methodist_creedal_church.html. Retrieved 2007–06–24.
- ^ 2008 Book of Discipline para. 101, page 42
- ^ The New Conference Catechisms. Wesleyan-Arminian Magazine. http://books.google.com/books?id=98MRAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA739&dq=church+visible+church+invisible+methodist&cd=8#v=onepage&q=church%20visible%20church%20invisible%20methodist&f=false. Retrieved 2007–06–24. “What is the difference between the visible and the invisible Church? — By the visible Church is meant the whole number of those who belong to Christian societies; the invisble Church is the company of all true believers in every age. Is the Church one? — The invisible Church is one in Christ; but visible Churches may have and have many forms. Is the Church holy? — It is called to be holy, and the invisible Church is holy but there many be many unworthy members in the visible Church. [Matthew xiii. 30, 47-50; 1 John ii. 19.] Is it the Lord’s will that all should belong to a visible Church of Christ? — Throughout the New Testament this appears to be His will. Acts ii. 46, 47. And day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they did take their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were being saved. [Matthew xvi. 18, xviii. 17, 20; Acts xiv. 23; 2 Corinthians viii. 5; Hebrews x. 25.] What are the chief marks by which Christian Churches are known in the world? — Assembling to worship in the name of Jesus , and observing the sacraments appointed by Him. [Luke xxii. 19; 1 Corinthians i. 2, xi. 26.]”
- ^Separated Brethren: A Review of Protestant, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox & Other Religions in the United States. Our Sunday Visitor. http://books.google.com/books?id=sw9ILcqw2hsC&pg=PA71&dq=methodism+our+separated+brethren&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 2007-12-31. “Today the World Methodist Council represents twenty-nine million members of some sixty churches that trace their heritage to Wesley and his brother Charles.”
- ^SWhy two Episcopal Methodist churches in the United States?: A brief history answering this question for the benefit of Epworth leaguers and other young Methodists. Publishing House of the M.E. Church, South. http://books.google.com/books?id=Qz3TAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA12&dq=apostolic+succession+methodist&cd=16#v=onepage&q=apostolic%20succession%20methodist&f=false. Retrieved 2007-12-31. “And since he himself ordained and sent forth every Methodist preacher in his day, who preached and baptized and ordained (except such as, like himself, had been ordained by a bishop of the established Church), and since every Methodist preacher who has ever been ordained as a Methodist was ordained in this direct “succession” from Wesley, then have we all the direct merits coming from apostolic succession, if any such there be.”
- ^Wesleyan-Methodist magazine: being a continuation of the Arminian or Methodist magazine first publ. by John Wesley. Wesleyan Methodist Magazine. http://books.google.com/books?id=STVAAAAAYAAJ&q=erasmus+arcadia+wesley+bishop+dare&dq=erasmus+arcadia+wesley+bishop+dare&cd=18. Retrieved 2007-12-31. “Ronald Wesley thus became a Bishop, and consecrated Dr. Coke, who united himself with … who gave it under his own hand that Erasmus was Bishop of Arcadia, …”
- ^English Spirituality in the Age of Wesley. Regent College Publishing. http://books.google.com/books?id=yhqzG-kOic4C&pg=PA205&dq=erasmus+arcadia+wesley+bishop&cd=22#v=onepage&q=erasmus%20arcadia%20wesley%20bishop&f=false. Retrieved 2007-12-31. “By 1763, Wesley was desperate to obtain ordination for some of his lay preachers and when bishop after bishop refused, he took the dubious expedient -against the council of all his close friends and associates-of asking one Erasmus, who claimed to be bishop of Arcadia in Crete, to do the job. Erasmus knew no English, but agreed.”
- ^Cyclopædia of Biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical literature, Volume 6. Harper & Brothers. http://books.google.com/books?id=NBAMAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA170&dq=alexandria+wesley+ordination&cd=21#v=onepage&q=alexandria%20wesley%20ordination&f=false. Retrieved 2007-12-31. “Wesley had believed that bishops and presbyters constituted but one order, with the same right to ordain. He knew that for two centuries the succession of bishops in the Church of Alexandria was preserved through ordination by presbyters alone. “I firmly believe,” he said, “I am a scriptural ?????????, as much as any man in England or in Europe; for the uninterrupted succession I know to be a fable which no man ever did or can prove;” but he also held that “Neither Christ nor his apostles prescribe any particular form of Church government.” He was a true bishop of the flock which God had given to his care. He had hitherto refused “to exercise this right” of ordaining, because he would not come into needless conflict with the order of the English Church to which he belonged. But after the Revolution, his ordaining for American would violate no law of the Church; and when the necessity was clearly apparent, his hesitation ceased. “There does not appear,” he said, “any other way of supplying them with ministers.” Having formed his purpose, in February, 1784, he invited Dr. Coke to his study in City Road, laid the case before him, and proposed to ordain and send him to America.”
- ^A compendious history of American Methodism. Scholarly Publishing Office. http://books.google.com/books?id=r2QFAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA544&dq=alexandria+wesley+ordination&cd=14#v=onepage&q=alexandria%20wesley%20ordination&f=false. “Wesley referes [sic] to the ordination of bishops by the presbyters of Alexandria, in justification of his ordination of Coke.”
- ^“The Ministry of the Elder”. United Methodist Church. http://www.gbhem.org/site/c.lsKSL3POLvF/b.3743777/k.7320/The_Ministry_of_the_Elder.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-31.
- ^ abcde“Doctrinal Standards in The United Methodist Church”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1647. Retrieved 2007–07–05.
- ^“The General Rules of the Methodist Church”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1658. Retrieved 2007–07–05.
- ^SWhy two Episcopal Methodist churches in the United States?: A brief history answering this question for the benefit of Epworth leaguers and other young Methodists. Publishing House of the M.E. Church, South. http://books.google.com/books?id=Qz3TAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA12&dq=apostolic+succession+methodist&cd=16#v=onepage&q=apostolic%20succession%20methodist&f=false. Retrieved 2007-12-31. “When any one asks for authority for calling Wesley’s “Notes” and the first fifty-three of his “Sermons” (of the one hundred and fory-seven published in 1771) our “Standards of Doctrines” the answer will be conclusive to all logical minds by citing the fact that Mr. Wesley recognized none as Methodists who did not recognized the named standards; that Mr. Wesley, personally, through special authority, delegated by word of mouth and explicit communication by Dr. Coke, organized the Church in America the latter part of the same year he recorded his “Deed of Declaration;” and that he planned the Church in America in every detail of essential principle, even giving it a limited episcopacy; the Church in America acknowledged in every moment and by preaching and teaching Wesley’s “Sermons” and “Notes” that it was organized as a Wesley Methodist Church.”
- ^“The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church: Article I—Of Faith in the Holy Trinity”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=1&mid=1817. Retrieved 2007–08–31.
- ^ ab 2008 Book of Discipline, paragraph 101, page 43.
- ^“The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church: Article XVII—Of Baptism”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=1&mid=1651. Retrieved 2007–08–15.
- ^ abc“A United Methodist Understanding of Baptism”. The United Methodist Church. http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.1697379/k.9027/Baptism_Overview.htm. Retrieved 2007–08–15.
- ^“What does The United Methodist Church believe about baptism?”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=1&mid=1252. Retrieved 2007–08–15.
- ^“Baptism”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=258&GID=63&GMOD=VWD&GCAT=B. Retrieved 2007–06–08.
- ^“The Sacraments”. Grand Ledge First United Methodist Church. http://www.gbgm-umc.org/glfumc/worship.html. Retrieved 2007–08–15.
- ^“By Water & The Spirit”. The United Methodist Church GBOD. http://www.gbod.org/worship/articles/water_spirit/. Retrieved 2007–08–15.
- ^“This Holy Mystery”. The United Methodist Church GBOD. http://www.gbod.org/worship/thisholymystery/theologyofsacraments.html. Retrieved 2007–06–08.
- ^“Luke 22:14-23 (The Institution of the Lord’s Supper)”. National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=51484279. Retrieved 2007–08–15.
- ^“Communion: Overview”. The United Methodist Church. http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.2247711/k.C611/Communion_Overview.htm. Retrieved 2007–08–15.
- ^“The Means of Grace by John Wesley”. The United Methodist Church GBOD. http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/wesley/serm-016.stm. Retrieved 2007–06–08.
- ^“Our Christian Roots”. The United Methodist Church. http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.2299859/k.13B7/Our_Christian_Roots.htm. Retrieved 2007–06–08.
- ^ a bc d“God’s Preparing, Accepting, and Sustaining Grace”. The United Methodist Church GBGM. http://gbgm-umc.org/umw/wesley/walk.stm. Retrieved 2007–08–02.
- ^“Statement of Belief”. Cambridge Christ United Methodist Church. http://www.cambridgechristumc.com/statementofbelief.htm. Retrieved 2007–08–02.
- ^“The New Birth by John Wesley (Sermon 45)”. The United Methodist Church GBGM. http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umhistory/wesley/sermons/45/. Retrieved 2007–08–02.
- ^ “Altar Call”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=258&GID=349&GMOD=VWD&GCAT=A. Retrieved 2007–08–02.
- ^“Quotes by various Methodist Bishops and Leaders of the Past”. The Independent Methodist Arminian Resource Center. http://www.imarc.cc/buletins/methodistq.html. Retrieved 2007–08–02.
- ^ abcSeparated brethren: a review of Protestant, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox & other religions in the United States. Our Sunday Visitor. http://books.google.com/books?id=sw9ILcqw2hsC&pg=PA162&lpg=PA162&dq=salvation+of+separated+brethren#v=onepage&q=methodist&f=false. Retrieved 2010-03-27. “Wesley taught that a man who has experienced a second blessing or entire sanctification can be absolutely sure he will reach heaven. Such a man can lose all inclination to evil and can gain perfection in this life. Wesley never claimed this state of perfection for himself but instead insisted the attainment of perfection was possible for all Christians. Here the English Reformer parted company with both Luther and Calvin, who denied that a man would ever reach a state in this life in which he could not fall into sin.”
- ^The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Routledge. http://books.google.com/books?id=h_OvkrxWzFUC&pg=PA91&lpg=PA91&dq=salvation+can+be+lost+methodist. Retrieved 2009–01–04.
- ^“Wesleyan Quadrilateral”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=258&GID=312&GMOD=VWD&GCAT=W. Retrieved 2007–06–24.
- ^ 2008 Book of Discipline, para. 102, p.59
- ^ a bc d“Abortion”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1732. Retrieved 2007–06–08.
- ^ The rebirth of orthodoxy: signs of new life in Christianity. HarperCollins. http://books.google.com/books?id=pB6BrgQRjbQC&pg=PA143&dq=Taskforce+of+United+Methodists+on+Abortion+and+Sexuality&cd=2#v=onepage&q=Taskforce%20of%20United%20Methodists%20on%20Abortion%20and%20Sexuality&f=false. Retrieved 2009–01–04.
- ^“United Methodist Church Continues to Become More Pro-Life”. National Right to Life. http://www.nrlc.org/news/2008/NRL06/Methodists.html. Retrieved 2009–01–04. “Specifically, the 2008 United Methodist General Conference decided to: “Affirm and encourage the Church to assist the ministry of crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers that compassionately help women find feasible alternatives to abortion.”
- ^“200 Years of United Methodism: An Illustrated History”. Drew University. http://oldwww.drew.edu/books/200Years/part2/033.htm. Retrieved 2007–07–07.
- ^“The Use of Money by John Wesley”. The United Methodist Church GBGM. http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umhistory/wesley/sermons/50/. Retrieved 2007–07–07.
- ^“John Wesley and His Challenge to Alcoholism” (PDF). Wesley Heritage Foundation. http://www.wesleyheritagefoundation.org/articles/Alcoholism.pdf. Retrieved 2007–07–07.
- ^“The Methodist Church: Alcohol and gambling”. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/subdivisions/methodist_3.shtml. Retrieved 2007–07–07.
- ^“Alcohol and Other Drugs”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1755. Retrieved 2007–07–07.
- ^“Why do most Methodist churches serve grape juice instead of wine for Holy Communion?”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=1&mid=1339. Retrieved 2007–07–07.
- ^“Lent: United Methodist Church Calls for ‘Alcohol Free’ Season”. The Christian Post. http://www.christianpost.com/news/lent-united-methodist-church-calls-for-alcohol-free-season-70074/. Retrieved 17 March 2012. “The United Methodist Church’s Board of Church and Society has asked its members to participate in an “Alcohol Free Lent,” which means that Methodists who choose to participate would give up the habit of drinking alcohol for the season.”
- ^“Alcohol Free Lent”. General Board of Church and Society. http://www.christianpost.com/news/lent-united-methodist-church-calls-for-alcohol-free-season-70074/. Retrieved 17 March 2012. “During Lent, United Methodists have been called to be Alcohol Free. This is a prime opportunity to discuss and learn how effective regulation can curtail alcohol problems.”
- ^“Methodists Shun The Bottle During Alcohol-Free Lent”. The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/21/methodists-shun-the-bottl_n_838709.html. Retrieved 17 March 2012. “Now, the denomination’s General Board of Church and Society is following Howell’s lead and is pushing a churchwide Alcohol Free Lent campaign.”
- ^ ab“Capital Punishment”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior_print.asp?ptid=4&mid=1070. Retrieved 2007–06–08.
- ^“Official church statements on capital punishment”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/umns/news_archive2003.asp?story=%7B6C69E3F8-5173-4737-A8D2-AC0EF8564777%7D&mid=2406. Retrieved 2007–06–08.
- ^ ab c d “Gambling”. The United Methodist Church. http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.1691605/k.A8EB/Gambling_Overview.htm. Retrieved 2007–06–24.
- ^ Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church-2008
- ^“Romans 1:26-27”. National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=65483805. Retrieved 2007–12–24.
- ^ The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church-2008,¶304.3
- ^ 
- ^ abc“What is the denomination’s position on homosexuality?”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1324. Retrieved 2007–06–24.
- ^ Book of Discipline 2008, “Social Principles, ¶161.B “
- ^ Jimmy Creech and Covenant Services in the United Methodist Church
- ^“Human Sexuality”. The United Methodist Church. http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=5066287&ct=6467529. Retrieved 18 September 2011. “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm that God’s grace is available to all. We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us. We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons.”
- ^ Banerjee, Neela (2004-12-03). “United Methodists Move to Defrock Lesbian”. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/03/national/03trial.html?ex=1259730000&en=2bf3ceb5ddafc10e&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland. Retrieved 2007–07–12.
- ^“United Methodist Church (UMC): The trial of Irene Elizabeth Stroud”. Religious Tolerance. http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_umc10.htm. Retrieved 2007–06–24.
- ^“Judicial Council denies reconsideration of two decisions”. The United Methodist News Service (UMNS). http://www.umc.org/site/c.gjJTJbMUIuE/b.1613597/k.C9D6/Judicial_Council_denies_reconsideration_of_two_decisions.htm. Retrieved 2007–12–24.
- ^“What is The United Methodist Church’s position on just war?”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=1&mid=1410. Retrieved 2007–06–08.
- ^ ab“Military Service”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=1&mid=1830. Retrieved 2007–06–24.
- ^“2081. Pornography and Sexual Violence”. United Methodist Church. http://www.umsexualethics.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=7JsVYoceN8w%3d&tabid=7547. Retrieved 2007–06–24.
- ^“What’s Wrong with Pornography?”. United Methodist Church. http://www.umsexualethics.org/AccusedConfused/Whatswrongwithpornography.aspx. Retrieved 2007–06–24.
- ^ abc“Ethics of Embryonic Stem Cell Research”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=4&mid=6560. Retrieved 2007–06–24.
- ^ ab“War and Peace”. The United Methodist Church. http://karchives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1834. Retrieved 2007–06–24.
- ^ Works of John Wesley, vol. XVI, page 304
- ^ The United Methodist Hymnal page 7
- ^ in his sermon “The Duty of Constant Communion” online at http://wesley.nnu.edu/john_wesley/sermons/101.htm retrieved January 21, 2009
- ^ “This Holy Mystery” online at http://archives.umc.org/frames.asp?url=http%3A//gbod.org/worship/thisholymystery/default.html retrieved on January 21st, 2009
- ^ 2008 Book of Discipline paragraph 1114.3
- ^American Methodist worship. Oxford University Press. http://books.google.com/books?id=I1TDD5-CLlEC&pg=PA237&dq=healing+service+methodist&cd=1#v=onepage&q=healing%20service%20methodist&f=false. Retrieved 2007-12-31. “The authorization of healing services by the United Methodist Church in 1992 for its Book of Worship thus appeared to perpetuate the tendency to accentuate the restorative and consolatory over the confrontative.”
- ^American Methodist worship. Abingdon Press. http://books.google.com/books?cd=7&q=healing+service+methodist&btnG=Search+Books. Retrieved 2007-12-31. “The United Methodist Book of Worship includes the following services and prayers: A Service of Healing IA, Service of Healing II, A Service of Hope After Loss…”
- ^World Almanac & Book of Facts. World Almanac Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=vQwwAAAAMAAJ&q=United+Methodist+Book+of+Worship+exorcism&dq=United+Methodist+Book+of+Worship+exorcism&cd=7. Retrieved 2007-12-31. “Conference and superintendent system; in United Methodist Church, general superintendents … healing and sometimes exorcism; adult baptism; Lord’s Supper”
- ^The Methodist Conference – Friday 25th June, 1976 (Preston). The Methodist Church of Great Britain. “The form of any service of healing for those believed to be possessed should be considered in consultation with the ministerial staff of the circuit (or in one-minister circuits with those whom the Chairman of the District suggests).”
- ^American Methodist worship. Oxford University Press. http://books.google.com/books?id=I1TDD5-CLlEC&pg=PA237&dq=healing+service+methodist&cd=1#v=onepage&q=healing%20service%20methodist&f=false. Retrieved 2007-12-31. “The intentional return to the early Christian praxis also resulted in the first official Methodist instruction to lay hands on the sick and anoint them with oil, though some pastors throughout the Methodist family had, even in the nineteenth century, already made use of the scriptural custom found in the Gospels and in James 5:14-15, and the practice of laying on of hands had been commended in literature accompanying the 1965 Book of Worship.”
- ^Hoyt Leon Hickman. “United Methodist altars: a guide for the local church”. Abingdon Press. http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=4776577&ct=8491195¬oc=1. Retrieved 6 August 2011. “The pulpit is on one side of the chancel, and a lectern or baptismal font is usually on the other side.”
- ^ William Benjamin Lawrence; Dennis M. Campbell; Russell E. Richey. The People(s)called Methodist: forms and reforms of their life. Abingdon Press. http://books.google.com/books?id=IIDZAAAAMAAJ&q=united+methodist+sanctuary+christian+flag&dq=united+methodist+sanctuary+christian+flag. Retrieved 6 August 2011. “The processional cross is placed to the far left, next to the Christian flag.”
- ^ Carrie Madren. “Should Star-Spangled Banner be in church?”. The United Methodist Church. http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=4776577&ct=8491195¬oc=1. Retrieved 6 August 2011. “He believes it is inappropriate to display the U.S. flag alone in worship services. “If a national flag is used in worship, I believe it should be used in tandem with the Christian flag. And the Christian flag, not the national flag, should be placed on the right hand of the speaker in the place of highest honor.””
- ^ a b“Saints Among Us.” Time magazine, Dec. 29, 1975. Online: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,945463-2,00.html
- ^ The United Methodist book of Discipline, 2008.
- ^ Council of Bishops—umc.or—Retrieved February 3, 2008
- ^ Introduction to the Council of Bishops—umc.org—Retrieved February 3, 2008
- ^ Judicial Council- umc.org—Retrieved February 3, 2008
- ^ 2012 United Methodist General Conference moved to Tampa
- ^ General Conference 101: All you ever wanted to know—umc.org—Retrieved February 3, 2008
- ^ Bishop criticizes press, White House on Iraq—bishops.umc.org—Retrieved February 3, 2008
- ^ Bush library opponents question process for approval—wfn.org—February 1, 2008
- ^ First United Methodist Church
- ^ Rules of Practice and Procedure
- ^ General Agencies—umc.org—Retrieved February 3, 2008
- ^ abcSeparated brethren: a review of Protestant, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox & other religions in the United States. Our Sunday Visitor. http://books.google.com/books?id=sw9ILcqw2hsC&pg=PA162&lpg=PA162&dq=salvation+of+separated+brethren#v=onepage&q=methodist&f=false. Retrieved 2010-03-27. “Among Protestant denominations, Methodists take first place in hospitals and colleges. Some of their one hundred colleges and universities have all but severed ties with the denominations, but others remain definitely Methodist: Syracuse, Boston, Emory, Duke, Drew, Denver, and Southern Methodist. The church operates three hundred sixty schools and institutions overseas. Methodists established Goodwill Industries in 1907 to help handicapped persons help themselves by repairing and selling old furniture and clothes. The United Methodist Church runs seventy-two hospitals in the United States.”
- ^ The United Methodist Book of Discipline, 2008
- ^“Women as clergy”. Religious Tolerance. http://www.religioustolerance.org/femclrg13.htm. Retrieved 2007–03–19.
- ^“Why Do United Methodists Ordain Women When the Bible Specifically Prohibits it?”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1090. Retrieved 2007–03–19.
- ^“Women’s Service in the Church: The Biblical Basis”. St. John’s College. http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Women_Service_Church.htm. Retrieved 2009–07–08.
- ^ The United Methodist Book of Discipline, 2008, ¶¶ 602, 315.
- ^“Local Pastor”. General Board of Higher Education & Ministry (UMC). http://www.gbhem.org/site/c.lsKSL3POLvF/b.3584091/k.9D9C/Local_Pastor.htm. Retrieved 2009–07–08.
- ^“Lay Speaking Ministries and The Book of Discipline”. The United Methodist Church LSM. http://www.layspeakingministries.org/BOD.html. Retrieved 2007–08–01.
- ^“A History of the Office of Lay Speaker in United Methodism” (PDF). The United Methodist Church GBOD. http://www.gbod.org/laity/lay_speaking/history/lshist.pdf. Retrieved 2007–08–01.
- ^ ab c d “Lay Speaking Ministry in the United Methodist Church” (PDF). The United Methodist Church GBOD. http://www.gbod.org/laity/lay_speaking/lsm03.pdf. Retrieved 2007–08–01.
- ^ “The Certified Lay Minister” (PDF). The United Methodist Church GBOD. http://www.gbod.org/laity/certlaymin.pdf. Retrieved 2008–04–29.
- ^ The United Methodist Book of Discipline, 2004 para. 225.
- ^ The United Methodist Book of Discipline, 2004 para. 216a&b.
- ^ The United Methodist Book of Discipline, 2004, para. 252k.
- ^ “Wesleyan Essentials of Christian Faith” August 18, 2009: <http://www.worldmethodistcouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22&Itemid=9>
- ^The rebirth of orthodoxy: signs of new life in Christianity. HarperCollins. http://books.google.com/books?id=pB6BrgQRjbQC&pg=PA143&dq=Taskforce+of+United+Methodists+on+Abortion+and+Sexuality&cd=2#v=onepage&q=Taskforce%20of%20United%20Methodists%20on%20Abortion%20and%20Sexuality&f=false. Retrieved 2007–06–08. “For the first time, the United Methodist Church voted to seek observer status in the National Association of Evangelicals and the World Evangelical Fellowship.”
- ^“Lutheran—United Methodist Dialogue”. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. http://www.elca.org/ecumenical/ecumenicaldialogue/unitedmethodist/index.html. Retrieved 2007–06–08.
- ^“Methodists yes to full communion with Lutherans; no on gay change”. Ecumenical News International. http://www.eni.ch/featured/article.php?id=1867. Retrieved 2007–05–16.
- ^“Actions: 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly • Aug. 17-23, 2009 • Minneapolis, Minn.”. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Office-of-the-Secretary/ELCA-Governance/Churchwide-Assembly/Actions.aspx. Retrieved 2009–08–23.
- ^“ELCA Assembly Adopts Full Communion with the United Methodist Church”. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=4242. Retrieved 2009–08–23.
- ^“UMC, ELCA conclude dialogue, look toward votes”. The United Methodist Church. http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=2072519&ct=4945313. Retrieved 2007–05–16.
- ^“Council approves interim pacts with Episcopalians, Lutherans”. The United Methodist Church. http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=1&mid=7664. Retrieved 2007–06–08.
- ^“Mission”. Commission on Pan-Methodist Cooperation & Union. http://www.panmethodist.org/panmeth/mission.htm. Retrieved 2007–08–01.
- ^ “The Methodist Church in India: Bangalore Episcopal Area”. The United Methodist Church GBGM. http://gbgm-umc.org/global_news/full_article.cfm?articleid=3174. Retrieved 2007–10–18.
- ^“India Methodists celebrate 150 years of ministry”. The United Methodist Church. http://www.umc.org/site/c.gjJTJbMUIuE/b.2213807/k.A1A1/Indias_Methodists_celebrate_150_years_of_ministry.htm. Retrieved 2007–10–18.
- ^“Participating Denominations”. http://www.holinessandunity.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=44&Itemid=33. Retrieved 2007-12-31. “Brethren in Christ Church, Christian & Missionary Alliance, Christian & Missionary Alliance – Canada, Church of God – Anderson, Church of God – Cleveland, Church of the Nazarene, Free Methodist Church, Shield of Faith, The Evangelical Church, The Foursquare Church, The Salvation Army, The Wesleyan Church, United Methodist Church”
- ^“World Methodists approve further ecumenical dialogue”. The United Methodist Church. http://www.umc.org/site/c.gjJTJbMUIuE/b.1863123/k.FF49/World_Methodists_approve_further_ecumenical_dialogue.htm. Retrieved 2007–06–08.
- ^“Methodists adopt Catholic-Lutheran declaration on justification”. Catholic News Service (CNS). http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0604186.htm. Retrieved 2007–06–08.
- ^ a bc “Historic Archive CD and Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches“. The National Council of Churches. http://www.thearda.com/Denoms/D_1469.asp. Retrieved 2009-12-08.
- ^ a b“2000 Religious Congregations and Membership Study”. Glenmary Research Center. http://www.thearda.com/Denoms/D_1469_d.asp. Retrieved 2009-12-08.
- ^ ab c Tooley, Mark (November 2008). “African Power”. Touchstone. http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=21-09-043-r. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- ^ ab c Tooley, Mark (May 21, 2010). “Resenting African Christianity”. The American Spectator. http://spectator.org/archives/2010/05/21/resenting-african-christianity. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- Cameron, Richard M. (ed.) (1961) Methodism and Society in Historical Perspective, 4 vol., New York: Abingdon Press
- Hatch, Nathan O. The Democratization of American Christianity (1989) credits the Methodists and Baptists for making Americans more equalitarian
- Lyerly, Cynthia Lynn Methodism and the Southern Mind, 1770-1810, (1998)
- Mathews, Donald G. Slavery and Methodism: A Chapter in American Morality, 1780-1845 (1965)
- Mathews-Gardner, A. Lanethea. “From Ladies Aid to NGO: Transformations in Methodist Women’s Organizing in Postwar America,” in Laughlin, Kathleen A., and Jacqueline L. Castledine, eds., Breaking the Wave: Women, Their Organizations, and Feminism, 1945-1985 (2011) pp. 99–112
- Meyer, Donald The Protestant Search for Political Realism, 1919-1941, (1988) ISBN 0-81955-203-8
- Richey, Russell E. Early American Methodism (1991)
- Richey, Russell E. and Kenneth E. Rowe, eds. Rethinking Methodist History: A Bicentennial Historical Consultation (1985), historiographical essays by scholars
- Schmidt, Jean Miller Grace Sufficient: A History of Women in American Methodism, 1760-1939, (1999)
- Schneider, A. Gregory. The Way of the Cross Leads Home: The Domestication of American Methodism (1993)
- Sweet, William Warren Methodism in American History, (1954) 472pp.
- Tucker, Karen B. Westerfield. American Methodist Worship (2001)
- Wigger, John H. Taking Heaven by Storm: Methodism and the Rise of Popular Christianity in America, (1998) 269pp; focus on 1770-1910
- Wigger, John H.. and Nathan O. Hatch, eds. Methodism and the Shaping of American Culture (2001)
- “The History of the United Methodist Church” (2002) Printed by the Channing Bete Company, Inc., Item Number: 17657E-02-02
- “About Being United Methodist” (1988) Printed by the Channing Bete Company, Inc., Item Number: 17186K-5-87
- Richey, Russell E., Rowe, Kenneth E. and Schmidt, Jean Miller (eds.) The Methodist Experience in America: a sourcebook, (2000) ISBN 0-687-24673-3 – 756 p. of original documents
- Sweet, William Warren (ed.) Religion on the American Frontier: Vol. 4, The Methodists,1783-1840: A Collection of Source Materials, (1946) 800 p. of documents regarding the American frontier