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.