- Research from the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History - Oxford Brookes University
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Click around the site for more stories about our heritage. Look also at the many links to more specialized histories. The General Commission on Archives and History includes a link to historical sites and landmarks. If there is a place related to historic Methodism or one of the predecessor branches near you, make arrangements for a trip, such as to the Lovely Lane Museum, Strawbridge Home or Old Otterbein Church, all in or around Baltimore, MD. In , Philip William Otterbein , who had been born in in the German town of Dillenberg, set sail for America with five other young German Reformed ministers.
Otterbein had spent three years in Ockersdorf, where he had gained a reputation for vigorous, direct preaching, especially stressing regeneration experiencing a new life in Christ. Several years later, in , Martin Boehm was chosen by lot to be a minister in his American Mennonite congregation. In , he was advanced to the office of bishop. The meeting of Otterbein and Boehm in proved to be a decisive factor in the formation of the United Brethren in Christ Church. Otterbein and Boehm became the first bishops of the United Brethren in Christ Church, which was formed in and was the first denomination originating in the United States.
Philip William Otterbein and Francis Asbury worked in close fellowship. However, there were two significant reasons that these men did not join their organizations in the early s: 1 a difference in the concept of authority and 2 a difference in language.
Asbury was aggressive in establishing orderly rules and regarded them as having weighty authority. Otterbein was also a man of order; however, he did not impose his authority in a weighty manner, either as pastor of his congregation or later as bishop of The United Brethren Church. When several of his children died in an epidemic of dysentery in , Albright experienced a crisis in his faith. But in the summer of , he received a conversion experience at a prayer meeting where he is quoted as saying, "All fear and anxiety of heart disappeared.
Joy and blessed peace inbreathed my breast.
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God gave witness to my spirit that I had become a child of God. However, since Albright spoke little English, he found it difficult to worship with the Methodists. At the urging of his friends, Albright became an itinerant preacher. In , Albright gathered a number of converts and formed three classes after the manner of the Methodist classes.
From this early beginning would later be formed the Evangelical Association. Following a division and then a reunion in , the body later became The Evangelical Church. The Methodist Episcopal Church Meanwhile, during the years that led to the formation of The Evangelical United Brethren Church, The Methodist Episcopal Church had its own problems and divisions over such issues as church authority and slavery. The Methodist Protestant Church split off over the question of the role and authority of lay people in the church.
The Methodist Episcopal Church, South split away over the issue of slavery. After , when membership reports distinguished between white and black members, the numbers were often almost equal. Although the Discipline did not record the action, ordination of African-American deacons was approved at the General Conference. The ordination of African-American elders was later approved in Perhaps the best known of the African-American preachers of the day was Harry Hosier.
Hosier was once described by Thomas Coke as "one of the best preachers in the world. Discrimination during the years of slavery and beyond led some African-American Methodists to form new Methodist churches of their own. The organizing delegates dropped the word South from the name that was originally intended for the church.
On that day these two churches with similar backgrounds and theology — which had historically been separated largely by language differences—became one. Today United Methodist congregations are found not only in the United States but in many countries throughout the world.
The United Methodist Church is a church that celebrates its diversity. It is found in rural and urban areas. Our members include people from all ethnic groups. Though our congregations vary in size, location, and cultural background, they share a common heritage as United Methodists. Note the different names of the leaders and founders of the Methodist movement in bold. Search the internet for more information about each one. Read through the Historical Statement at the beginning of the Book of Discipline. Print and copy and enlarge, if necessary the timeline of churches so that it is the size of a small poster.
Place a sticky note over each label so that they can not be read. Use it as a puzzle with other education leaders and teacher or as a refresher for yourself. Read or study together on our corporate history using one of the many Methodist studies. Search Cokesbury. The Ministry of All Christians It is clear that all Christians are called by God, through their baptism, to be in ministry in the world.
The ministers of the church are called to serve in a variety of ways. As Laity - From its earliest days, Methodism has been a lay movement. The term laity comes from laos , which means "of the people.
As Clergy - Within the body of all Christian ministry, some persons are called to fulfill a specific, "set apart" ministry through the church. Some pastoral leaders are ordained; some are lay. Ordained Deacons - ministers called to focus on servanthood.
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A deacon models the relationship between worship in the community of faith and service to God in the world. Deacons serve in a variety of ministry settings both in the church and in the world. Ordained Elders - ministers called to lead congregations of Christians in the celebration of the sacraments and to guide and care for the life of the community.
Some elders may also serve in ministries beyond the local church.
Local Pastors - licensed ministers appointed to perform duties of a pastor in a specific charge or church. Episcopal leaders, called bishops, are not a separate order of the church but are elected from among the ordained elders of the Church to provide oversight and supervision for the spiritual and temporal activities of the Church. Bishops are called to. The College of Bishops includes all the bishops of a specific jurisdiction or central conference.
Research from the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History - Oxford Brookes University
Itinerant Ministry All United Methodist clergy are appointed to a place for ministry by a bishop. Elders, however, are appointed as part of a system known as itinerancy, which means that they commit to travel from parish to parish as the bishop directs. Methodism began with a group of traveling preachers, who went from place to place preaching, baptizing, and presiding over church affairs. Each year the bishop of an area "fixes the appointments" of the itinerant clergy in the episcopal area, as well as the appointments of the deacons and local pastors, who are non-itinerant clergy.
In addition, the bishop may also appoint clergy to an "extension ministry," which is an appointment other than to a local church, such as elders and deacons who work in general agencies, as chaplains, seminary professors, conference staff, and so on. Matching the gifts of an elder and the needs of the church or extension ministry is the most important consideration in the making of appointments.
When needs change, the itinerant system provides for new appointments to be made smoothly. Another important feature of the itinerant system is that it provides an opportunity for churches to experience a variety of leadership and ministry styles through the years, strengthening the skills of the laity whose strong leadership is essential to any ministry. Through a commitment to open itinerancy, the connectional system of The United Methodist Church is apparent.
Open itinerancy means that appointment decisions are related to gifts and needs, rather than to race, ethnic origin, gender, color, ability or disability, marital status, or age. If you are baptized, you are in some sense a minister. Look again at the vows made in baptism The United Methodist Hymnal , pages 33 - Reflect on those vows and how you uphold them.
How would you describe your ministry? How does what you do link with the rest of the ministries of the church for a holistic approach to disciple making? What might you want to do that is new or different? When can you start? Look up the Episcopal address in the journal of the past two or three annual conferences.
What is the leadership vision of your bishop and conference?
How does the ministry of Christian education and formation fit in that vision? Interview your lead minister and other members of the church staff. How do they work together, divide labor, and advance the ministry of your church? How do, or can, they support the ministry of Christian education and formation? But what does it mean to make disciples of Jesus Christ and how does The United Methodist Church approach disciple making? One Ministry; Four Movements The Church acts as a partner to God in making disciples of Jesus Christ through four interrelated actions: receiving and welcoming people, relating them to God, nurturing them in discipleship, and sending them into ministry in the world.
Then when disciples are in ministry in the world, the cycle begins again as they receive and welcome even more people. Methodists in Mission The United Methodist faith is deeply rooted in the Scripture and in the basic beliefs of all Christians.