Our World Wide Church Family
The World Methodist Council is made up of 80 Methodist, Wesleyan and related Uniting and United Churches representing over 40.5 million members in 138 countries1. 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
In 1816 Wesleyan missionaries from Great Britain established a Methodist presence in Belgium. After the First World War, American Methodists became involved, as well. They established various social ministries and distributed Christian literature. When they withdrew from Belgium in the thirties, the Belgian Methodists (about 1,000 members) were keen to continue the work by themselves. The years after the Second World War were marked by an increasing cooperation with other Protestant Churches of the country. They jointly established several schools and a Faculty of Theology. After many conversations the Belgian Methodists left the UMC in 1969 and formed, together with other Protestant Churches, the «United Protestant Church of Belgium» (EPUB). From this very beginning the EPUB remained affiliated with the UMC. Some years ago, United Methodists from the DR Congo, who lived in Brussels, established a Methodist congregation. Following an open and trustful consultation with the EPUB leadership, a United Methodist charge conference was officially organized in May 2010. While this church has an affiliated status with the EPUB, it is now part of the Switzerland-France-North Africa Annual Conference.
In 1791 Wesleyan missionaries came to France from Great Britain. In the following years more than 20 congregations came into being. However, most of them joined the French Reformed Church in 1938. Today's «Union de l'Eglise Evangélique Méthodiste en France» was founded in 1868 in Alsace. This work was expanded to Southwest France in 1926. In 2005 the Methodist congregations, which did not join the French Reformed Church decades ago, were incorporated into the UMC. In 2008/2009 two congregations with Methodist roots from the Ivory Coast joined the church, as well. Today, important areas of emphasis of the UMC in France include working with children, youth, and women, evangelization, and the distribution of Christian literature. However, the congregations are also aware of their heritage of social service and take this mission seriously by helping people in need. At some places Chinese, Korean, and Cambodian congregations, which all have the status of associated congregations, meet in the buildings of the Methodist congregations. Points of contact between Church and society include several institutions with which the UMC is affiliated: the Bethesda charity, five homes for the elderly; two centers for vacation, contemplation and renewal; and seven Protestant bookstores.
The work of Methodism in North Africa was started towards the end of the 19 th century. Initially, there were only a few restrictions on church work in Algeria. The Methodist Church owned church buildings, children’s homes and clinics. But when the country became independent in 1962, the situation markedly changed. First, many local Christians left the country by their own choice. Later many Methodist missionaries were expelled from the country, children’s homes and boarding schools were forced to close, and Church property was nationalized. In 1972, the Methodist Church fused other Protestant denominations to form the Protestant Church of Algeria, and the work was organized as a district of the Annual Conference Switzerland-France-North Africa. Today this district also includes the Methodist presence in Tunis with its emphasis on social services (assistance for students and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa), and on a joint service with the Reformed Church. The Christian Church is a tiny minority in North Africa. But encouraged by new awakenings – for instance in the nineties in Kabylia – and against all odds, the Methodists faithfully press on. There are worship services, Bible studies, weddings and baptisms. And the Gospel is not only proclaimed but also put into action,
which leads to the fact that over and over people are expressing their interest in the Christian faith.