What's a "Methodist?"
A "Methodist" was a name originally given to the members of a group of devoted Christian students at Oxford University, England in the 1720s. Observers critized their disciplined approach to study, prayer, service, and devotion to the Christian faith, calling their ways "methodical." Among these "methodists" where brothers John and Charles Wesley. Though dedicated Anglican priests their entire lives, the Wesleys began a movement of church reform that focused on a rededication to holiness, a revitalization of Christian service, a reexamination of the balance between free will and predestination, and a redefinition of the concept of GRACE. This Methodist movement swept across Britian before igniting the hearts of a newly formed United States of America. Now, Methodist churches and the Wesleyan influence can be found in every continent on the globe.
The Global United Methodist Church is "connectional." This means that all United Methodist churches are connected to one another. We share a denominational standard of doctrine (way of understanding, Scripture, faith and its practice), polity (way of organizing local churches, districts and conferences) and social principles (applying Scripture and faith to societal ethics). All the same, Methodists bring a wide specturm of belief to the table, especially when it comes to interpreting and living out Scripture. Our biggest committment is to remain in prayerful conversation and discernment about the will of God, even when we disagree.
The United Methodist Church is also part of a larger Methodist/ Wesleyan family. To learn more about that family tree, click here.