Methodism is a global Christian movement that began in England in the 1700s with the brothers John and Charles Wesley. The brothers were ordained priests in the Church of England, yet received their earliest teaching and formational training in faith from their mother Susanna. It was John Wesley who recognized in Grace a whole new way to come to God in the Christian life. That is why the movement is also called ‘Wesleyan.’ Methodists recognize that it is the powers of Grace (Love and forgiveness), rather than the powers of sin (separateness and condemnation), that are God’s true and lasting gifts for creation and humankind. We are called to respond to Grace.
United Methodists do a lot of good in the world. United Methodists make a difference every day, because there are so many of us you can always know that good is being done the world over even when you are asleep! Take for example the United Methodist work to stop the spread of Malaria. The work of Imagine No Malaria is unprecedented–even for United Methodists who are used to moving mountains! Toward this effort United Methodists have raised $64 million dollars and 2,300,000 bed nets have been distributed.
How many people are United Methodists today? As of 2005 there are more than 75 million people who are part of the wider Methodist global community. Of these 75 million in 130 countries, 8.3 million are ‘United Methodists,’ churches, people, and congregations who are connected together under the United Methodist Church denominational umbrella. (See Kenneth Cracknell and Susan J. White’s An introduction to world Methodism. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2005.)
What is United Methodism? United Methodists are Christians in the Protestant tradition. We believe in the trinity, the Gospel, and salvation in Jesus Christ. As Wesleyans we believe Grace (Love) is stronger than condemnation–far stronger. We believe that God loves the world and that each of us are called to use our hearts, our hands, and our minds to serve God by making the world a better place. United Methodists are part of a denomination that values each local church while forming regional connections together that span the globe and allow United Methodists to have a huge impact both in local communities and globally.
When you are a United Methodist you are part of something big!
Global Connection! Not only are United Methodists connected to each other, but they work with, alongside, and in celebration of the good work of others of all churches, denominations, and beliefs. The video below celebrates the Week Of Compassion and was produced by the Disciples of Christ, yet it features the work of Paul Jeffrey, a United Methodist Missionary based in the Pacific Northwest.
Many United Methodists celebrate the success of the institution created around doing good things in the world, but at the heart of all that it is the lives that are changed and helped that are the core purpose of every institutional effort.
For more information about United Methodist global efforts here are some links:
UMCOR stands for United Methodist Committee On Relief and if there is a local or global emergency, this relief agency is there ready to go.
Donations can be made directly to UMCOR via what they call an ‘advance’ that has a number assigned to it. (You can also donate to UMCOR through our church). ‘Advances’ are a little complicated, but the best part is that in using this system is that donations are targeted to exactly what they are for and 100% of the funds donated go to the people they are given to help. You can find a list here of general efforts, or you can search for specific ones. Can we recommend Wings of the Morning, Advance #08596A (donate here). This is seriously great work, and Congolese pilot Rukang Chikomb, who has visited our church, is a man of tremendous faith whose work saves lives.