Our World Wide Church Family
The World Methodist Council is made up of 80 Methodist, Wesleyan and related Uniting and United Churches representing over 80.5 million people in 133 countries. To find a member church in your area please use the A-to-Z guide located below. To view a member church’s contact details, click the blue arrow button. * denotes churches under the Central and South Europe Central Conference of the United Methodist Church ** denotes churches under the Northern Europe Central Conference of the United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church in this country, called “Evangelisch-methodistische Kirche” in Germany, has various sources. Methodism here was started by Christoph Gottlieb Mueller, a German who had fled to England during the Napoleonic wars and was converted there. He returned to Germany in 1830 and began to preach in Wuerttemberg and the Southern part of the country.
In 1849 American Methodists sent Louis S. Jacoby, a German immigrant, who had become a minister in Illinois, to Germany. He began his work in Bremen and was soon joined by others from America. In the same year Methodism began work in eastern Germany. The work established by Jacoby and his associates became the Germany Mission Conference in 1856. German Methodism carried the work into Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and the former Baltic States. There was union with the groups formed by Mueller and the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1897. In 1905 the United Brethren joined the Methodist Church.
Sixty-three years after that merger, in 1968, the German Methodist Church united with the German E.U B. Church (“Evangelische Gemeinschaft”), which had developed in a similar way as the Methodist Church. In 1850 Johann Conrad Link of the Evangelical Association returned from America to his homeland and started preaching in and near Stuttgart, Soon other American ministers followed to testify to the love of God among their former fellow countrymen. Step by step they spread their missionary work all over Germany, and preached in France, and Switzerland. In 1865 they founded a German Conference.
Due to the German division a Central Conference in East Germany (then German Democratic Republic) was formed in 1970. It set up its own institutions for theological training, publishing, social and diaconal work. The common membership in the UMC provided the framework to retain the unity in spirit and to establish partnership but to serve under different political and societal conditions. German reunification in 1990 allowed the union of the Central Conferences in October, 1992. In the Federal Republic of Germany there are three annual conferences (East, North, South).
The School of Theology is located in Reutlingen, Wuerttemberg, where students from Germany, Switzerland and other European countries are trained. The United Methodist Church in this country carries on quite extensive social work in hospitals, homes for senior citizens, aftercare institutions for drug and alcohol addicts. In addition there are training institutions for adult educational work and vacation centers for young people. A growing sector is the ministry for migrants and asylum seekers.
The Conference of The Methodist Church in Ghana came into being in July, 1961. Formerly it had been an Overseas District of British Methodism. The pioneer Methodist missionary, Joseph Dunwell, landed at Cape Coast on January 1, 1835, and began work among the Mfantse-speaking peoples of the Coast, some of whom were already Christians. In the first eight years of the church’s life, 11 out of 21 missionaries who worked in the then Gold Coast died. Thomas Birch Freeman, who arrived in the Gold Coast in 1838, was the great pioneer of missionary expansion. Between 1838 and 1857 he carried Methodism from the Mfantse coast land to Badagry and Abeokuta in Niberia, and to Kumasi in the Asante hinterland in the Gold Coast. He died in Accra in 1890.
Methodist evangelization of Northern Ghana began in 1910. After a long period of conflict with the colonial government, missionary work was finally established in 1955, the late Rev. Paul Adu being the first indigenous missionary to Northern Ghana. Thirty-six years later, on November 10, 1991, the Northern Ghana District now Diocese was inaugurated at Tamale. Missionary work there includes agriculture and rural health services made possible by mobile clinic units.
Currently the connexion comprises 167 circuits in thirteen dioceses. The Methodist community continues to grow numerically. Between 1996 and the end of 1997, it increased by 30,057 bringing the total numerical strength to about 1.5m. Some of these members worship in interdenominational churches. There are 720 ministers (36 of whom are women), 3 full-time catechists, 112 lay evangelists and missionaries, 26,725 voluntary lay preachers and class leaders with pastoral responsibilities.
The church continues to be involved in educational work made up of 16 second cycle institutions (9,299 students), three mixed training colleges (1,734) and two specialist schools: Mmofraturo in Kumasi (for girls) and the school for the blind at Wa, Northern Ghana. Trinity Theological Seminary, Legon, Accra, an ecumenical seminary, continues to train ministers for Ghana Christian Council member churches.
There are two lay training centers in Kumase: the Women’s Training Center and Freeman Centre for Leadership Development. The small medical work started at the Wenchi Hospital in 1951 has expanded with the establishment of three clinics at Bamianko (Gwira), Amakom (Lake Bosomtwe), and Mo-Dega; a Nutrition Rehabilitation Center at Lawra, rural clinics in Asante, sponsored by the Kumasi Diocese Methodist Medical Association, and a Faith Healing Hospital at Ankaase in the Kumasi Diocese.
The church is actively engaged in the life of the nation. Ministers are seconded to schools, colleges, the armed forces, police, prisons, hospitals as chaplains, and to universities as lecturers/chaplains and district assemblies as members. There are a number of agricultural projects, fruitful interactions between the church and state on political issues and social problems such as HIV/AIDS, drug abuse and teenage pregnancy. There is concrete cooperation between Ghana Methodism and the other member churches of the Christian Council of Ghana.
This church sprang directly from the work of John Wesley (1703-1791) and his brother Charles (1707-1738), which was part of the Evangelical Revival of the 18th century. John dedicated himself to serious Christian living in 1725; they met with others at Oxford to form the Holy Club, also nicknamed “Methodists” because of their rigorous approach to Christian life. They were ordained deacons and priests of the Church of England and went to Georgia as missionaries. On the voyage they were greatly impressed by the faith of the Moravians.
They returned to England dissatisfied with their spiritual state. On May 24, 1738 in a room in Aldersgate, John felt his heart strangely warmed; Charles had a similar experience. After this new beginning, reluctantly following the example of George Whitefield they began open-air preaching, despite the opposition of bishops and hostile mobs. Societies were formed, first in Bristol in London and then in many places. Lay preachers were employed; a system of circuits was formed and from 1744 onwards there was an annual conference of preachers, a centralized system geared for mission. John traveled 250,000 miles and preached 40,000 times and by 1791 there were over 70,000 members and over 400 chapels.
John Wesley never intended his movement to separate from the Church of England, but in 1794 he gave legal status to his Conference and ordained ministers for America. Disputes about the status of the traveling preachers and the administration of the sacraments were resolved by the Plan of Pacification (1795) which was a decisive break with the Church of England. Divisions arising from the constitutional disputes and fresh revivals led to the creation of the Methodist New Connexion (1797), to the Primitive Methodists (1812), the Bible Christians (1816) and smaller groups which largely united in the United Methodist Free Churches in 1857. All except the Wesleyan Reform Union and the Independent Methodists united with the main body, the Wesleyans, to form this Methodist Church in 1932.
This Church, which covers England, Scotland and Wales, is the largest of the Free Churches in England. It belongs to the Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland (CBBI) and other ecumenical bodies and takes part in over 300 local ecumenical projects. It serves local churches through a connexional team, with four coordinating secretaries responsible for church life, church and society, inter-church and other relationship and central services. It has 333 districts, each with a Synod, presided over by a ministerial chairman. It emphasizes education in general and training for varied forms of ministries, both lay and ordained. The traditional Wesleyan stress on evangelism, social concern and the struggle for justice is expressed in its involvement for education and service, with young and older people respectively, through NCH and MHA, its two main social work agencies, as well as many local mission projects in inner city and rural areas.
Our calling challenges the Methodist Church to respond to the present age, in its worship, learning and caring, service and evangelism. Its worship is a mixture of formal and free, with the Wesley hymns still important to a people “born in song”. Its commitment to prayer and bible study in small groups, to youth work, pastoral care and social outreach, are the main characteristics of a Church proud to celebrate over 250 years of Methodist witness and over 200 years of overseas missions as its contribution to the World Church. The rediscovery of Wesley’s message for today and the connection between our Methodist heritage and contemporary mission, as we prepare to celebrate the 300th anniversary of John’s birth (2003), is a vital part of its ongoing commitment to evangelical revival and the quest for holiness, personal and corporate, offering Christ to all through worship, witness, preaching and service.