Church History

Senior Ministers Serving

Methodism in the United States

The United Methodist Church represents the confluence of three streams of Wesleyan tradition: Methodism, The United Brethren in Christ, and The Evangelical Association. It is a world church with 68 Annual Conferences in the United States and 52 Annual Conferences ministering in other nations.

On Christmas Day 1784, at a conference in Baltimore, Maryland, Methodist preachers gathered to organize the Methodist Episcopal Church. Character­ized by an adherence to John Wesley’s interpretations, our heritage is one of seeking out those who are lost, caring for those in need, ministering to those who are helpless, and uplifting those who are growing in grace.

A question over the ownership of slaves created the division of the Methodist Episcopal Church into two factions: the Methodist Episcopal Church North and the Methodist Episcopal Church South. The Methodist Episcopal Church South was established at a conference held in Louisville, Kentucky, in May 1845.

In 1939, the Northern, Southern, and Protestant Methodist Churches were reunified. Representatives of these churches had met in 1935 to forge a plan of union. Their proposal included partitioning the united church into six administrative units called Jurisdictions. Five of these were geographi­cal; the sixth, the Central Jurisdiction, was racial. It included black churches and Annual Conferences, wherever they were geographically located in the United States. Black Methodists were troubled by the project and opposed the plan of a racially segregated jurisdiction, but they were overruled. The majority of the Methodist Protestants favored the union although it meant accepting Episcopal government. Following the appropriate votes at the General Conference, the three churches were united into the Methodist Church.

In 1951, the Methodist Church participated in the formation of the World Methodist Council. This Council signaled the beginning of a move that eventually abolished the Central Jurisdiction, united the Methodists and the Evangelical United Brethren, and created the United Methodist Church. This unification, completed in 1968, included the right of women to full clergy status.

From “A History of Roswell United Methodist Church 1836-1997”