The Central and Southern Europe Central Conference has its roots in the turbulent times before and after World War II. The Geneva area, formed in 1936, was elevated to a Central Conference and elected its own bishop in 1954. Since then, the Central Conference was a bridge-builder between east and west and south. In the present history of Europe, we uphold the connectional principle as a continuing task. Together, we are ready to face the challenges of the future. The Central and Southern Europe Central Conference is composed of United Methodism in Albania, Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Tunisia.
The first Wesleyan congregation in Switzerland was founded in Lausanne in 1840. The Methodist Episcopal Church began its work sixteen years later in Lausanne and Zurich. And finally, the Evangelical Brethren Church founded its first congregation in Berne in 1866. Today’s UMC in Switzerland was formed, after various unification processes, from three different Methodist movements. The Church grew and soon Switzerland was itself the source of missionary work. Men and particularly women were sent out to nearly all continents to do good works, to teach people about God, and to help build new congregations. This resulted in lively relationships, which have not ceased to exist till the present. In addition to the ministries with children, teenagers, and youth the last third of life increasingly becomes the focus of attention of the congregations. Furthermore, there are missionary activities and serving ministries at many places, and congregations are opening themselves by initiating programs based on the needs of people not affiliated with any Church. The cooperation with other Churches is another important priority and is considered to be an active contribution towards a common Christian witness. The fact that the Methodist work is carried out in an increasing number of languages is also distinctive of the UMC in Switzerland. Finally, the Church maintains close ties with various social and other institutions (Bethanien/Bethesda Charities, homes for the elderly, group living facility for mothers and children, home for people with special needs, hotels, retreats).