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 Free Methodist Church was organized in 1860 near Rochester, New York. Arising out of the conflict within the Methodist Episcopal Church over the Wesleyan interpretation of the doctrine of entire sanctification as well as issues such as slavery, free pews, secret societies, and freedom in worship, concerned ministers and laymen in eastern New York State encouraged Benjamin Titus Roberts to lead them in forming a new church.
The church is Wesleyan in doctrine and evangelical in spirit, evidenced by membership in the Christian Holiness Association and the National Association of Evangelicals.
Episcopal in nature, the church is organized into 12 general or provisional general conferences on 4 continents, each headed by a national bishop or bishops.
The Free Methodist Church sponsors both educational and benevolent institutions in North America and overseas. With headquarters at World Ministries Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, world membership stands at 395,000 with a total constituency of 650,000. The Free Methodist World Conference coordinates the ministries of the several jurisdictions.
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.
The Church of Christ in China was founded in 1918 when discussions on unity by 17 mission societies formally started, and then in 1922 when its Provincial Assembly was held at Shanghai. In the midst of Anti-Christian Movement, it was born as an indigenous and church-union effort. Founding members included many denominational churches mainly from Presbyterian and Congregational traditions. Under the General Assembly, there were in 1928, 12 synods, 51 district associations, 585 local churches, 2,035 preaching stations, with about 120,000 baptized members. After 1949, linkage between the Council in Hong Kong and the General Assembly in Mainland China was cut off. Then the Hong Kong Council renamed herself as the Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China.
There are 65 local churches 30 secondary schools (including 6 affiliated schools, 20 day schools and 4 evening schools), 26 primary schools, 6 kindergartens and 1 special child care centre. The number of baptized members is around 30,000 (figure of 2006). Through the educational and social service organizations, the Council serves more than 75,000 children and teenagers. There are six departments and committees in the Council: Church Affairs and Administration, Lay Training, Social Ministry, Theology, Education, Missions and Evangelism.
The Council encourages and assists the local churches to attain self-government, self-support and self propagation. It also promotes evangelistic work and social services, takes an active role in cooperative Christian organizations in the Hong Kong Christian community and participates in the affairs of the ecumenical church. The Council is a member of the Hong Kong Christian Council, Divinity School of Chung Chi College (in Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Chinese Christian Literature Council. It also joins some ecumenical bodies such as The Council for World Mission, World Council of Churches, Christian Conference of Asia, World Alliance of Reformed Churches and World Methodist Council. The Council also has good relationships with the Chinese Church in Mainland China and The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan.
On 1 July 1997, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region under The People’s Republic of China. The Council looks forward to the Church in Hong Kong continuing its witness through evangelistic work and social service organizations.
The Methodist Church, Hong Kong is a self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating church incorporated by a private ordinance. It was founded on October 25, 1975 by amalgamation of the British-affiliated “The Chinese Methodist Church, Hong Kong District (Tsun To Kung Wooi)” and the American-affiliated “The Methodist Church, Hong Kong (Wei Li Kung Hui)” which commenced working in Hong Kong in 1884 and 1953 respectively. Though autonomous, it maintains close ties with British, American and other Methodists. It is a covenant church of the World Methodist Council, and is one of the founding members of the World Federation of Chinese Methodist Churches.
Following the Wesleyan tradition, Methodism in Hong Kong has greatly relied on lay leadership. Local preachers and church leaders play active and vital roles in pastoral work and in formulating church policy. Today, the church has 3 circuits comprising 19 local churches and 7 chapels, with 23 active full connexional members (16 ministers, 3 deacons, 4 conference pastoral workers), 36 local church pastoral workers, 2 missionaries and a total baptized membership of 14,000. It also actively provides various types of social, educational and medical services. The church serves 17,000 students through the operation of 8 secondary schools, 9 primary schools and 11 kindergartens. It operates 7 social service centres, 4 day nurseries, 2 dental clinics, 4 camp sites and a book room.
The church is one of the most ecumenically minded Christian bodies in Hong Kong. It provides considerable leadership in the territory’s two most representative inter-denominational bodies, the Hong Kong Christian Council and the Hong Kong Chinese Christian Churches Union. It participates in global and regional ecumenical organizations.
The church is not large in terms of membership or human and financial resources, but has a balanced theological outlook and an integral view of mission. In 1989 it embarked on its mission in Macau, a Portuguese colony about 50 miles from Hong Kong, ministering to the needs of recent immigrants from mainland China. Since the early 90s, it has supported churches and seminaries in Mainland China, and Chinese-speaking churches in England. It has invited ministers of the United Methodist in the Philippines to come as missionaries to serve the increasing number of Filipino members who worship at the Methodist Church (English speaking). Experimental missionary projects have been launched in industrial areas to reach factory workers. This “Blue Collar Evangelism” is a boundary-crossing missionary undertaking from a predominantly middle class church to factory workers’ living situation. As Hong Kong experiences expansion of “new towns” in the new territories, the church is establishing footholds in some of these developing communities, running evangelistic programs and providing community services in school-premises.
Shedding its colonial past, Hong Kong has become part of China as a highly autonomous Special Administrative Region effective from 1 July 1997. Although the future poses great challenges, the church has decided to stand with the remaining majority and commit to God’s mission of building a just and democratic society by renewing its mission, enhancing its ministry and broadening its services to the community. It will strive to maintain the Wesleyan tradition of spreading the Gospel, running schools, serving the needy and supporting ecumenical projects.
The first Methodist missionaries came to Hungary from Germany and Austria in 1898. They were able to gain ground with their message relatively quickly, first among members of the German-speaking population, and soon among Hungarians, as well. The Methodist missions grew steadily, and soon comprised more than 1,000 members. But due to political developments following First World War (Trianon Peace-treaty, loosing two third of Hungary’s territory) only one congregation remained with one pastor and 100 members. The UMC strengthened in the 1920-ies again, a strong social work system was organized. Another crisis followed Second World War due to the deportations of the German speaking population and the resettlement of the Slovakian speaking population in Slovakia. In addition, all church institutions were confiscated by the state between 1946-49. Difficult years of restriction and isolation followed in the communist era for all the Churches, even the existence of the UMC in Hungary was threatened. All these and tensions within the church eventually led to a painful split in 1974.
But God called new people, who put all their energy into the mission of the UMC in Hungary in the 1970-80-ies. And the political changes of 1989 provided new opportunities. Suddenly, many new possibilities for spreading the Gospel in word and deed opened up. New dimensions were added to the work of the Church, and the congregations grew.
The fact that the UMC in Hungary provided a home for four congregations in Transcarpathia (Western Ukraine) for ten years and assisted them in such matters as training of lay workers, demonstrates that the Church was not only preoccupied with taking care of its own problems. (Since 2003, these four congregations have been part of the UMC in the Ukraine, and thus belong to the area supervised by the Bishop of Eurasia.)
The UMC congregations in Hungary continue to report growth in their missionary and charity activities. They produce TV and radio programs, work with children and youth, and each year organize a nationwide family summer camp which is attended by several hundred people. They are active in religious education in schools, and provide support for prison inmates and drug addicts. They run two homes for the elderly in Kaposszekcsö and Budakeszi, and have built a varied and comprehensive service for the Roma (agricultural extension service, literacy courses, pre-marital counselling, etc.). But above all, they organize regular evangelization meetings, in order to remind the people, by means of the Word and good music, of the One who, in the face of the major changes and insecurity of the present time, wants to give them new perspectives in life.
One happy result of these activities is also a challenge: many of the buildings being used have become too small and outdated, and many congregations are dreaming of new church buildings. They hope that when finances are available, step by step, these dreams will come true.
Beside its own work, the UMC in Hungary is also very active in ecumenical matters, and often assumes a leading role. Recently, the cooperation between six Churches with Wesleyan origins (the so-called “Wesley-Alliance”) has been especially fruitful in the form of a common training program for lay workers.
At the same time, the UMC in Hungary is under great pressure, not least of all due to the country’s recent entry into the EU. The government has repeatedly burdened the Church with new measures, such as large increases in the minimum wage and new standards in social institutions. But Church leaders are confident that their previous experience will once again be confirmed: We are not alone!
Traces of the movement towards a union of Christian denominations (or churches) in India may be seen as far back as 1810 when William Carry called a conference of all Christian denominations at Cape Town for mutual sharing of missionary experiences on common problems. This movement became more visible in the famous International Missionary Conference held in Edinburgh in 1910, commonly acclaimed as the origin of the 20th century worldwide ecumenical movement. In India this movement began to take the concrete shape of “negotiations” for “organic unity,” or re-union of churches from the famous Tranquebar Conference of 1919.
The Church of North India is a united church which came into being as the result of a union of six churches on 29th November 1970. The six churches were: The Council of the Baptist Churches in Northern India, The Church of the Brethren in India; The Disciples of Christ; The Church of India (formerly known as the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon); The Methodist Church (British and Australian Conferences); The United Church of Northern India.
The Church of North India has a three-tiered organizational structure: pastorate, diocese and synod. A pastorate consists of one or more congregations under the care of a presbyter-in-charge. A diocese is composed of several pastorates under the pastoral care of the diocesan bishop. The synod is the highest legislative, supervisory and executive body of the Church of North India comprising all diocesan bishops, elected lay and ordained representation from the 23 dioceses.
CNI has 23 dioceses with over 3,000 congregations, and approximately 1.25 million members. Each diocese has a bishop. There are nearly 1,000 ordained ministers. The ordination of women came into existence in 1980.
CNI has about 12 degree colleges, 30 inter colleges, 150 secondary schools, 500 primary schools, three technical institutes, 2 agriculture institutes. It has nearly 61 hospitals and two nursing schools, which are taken care of by Synodical Board of Health Services. The Synodical Board of Social Services has been organizing and equipping people at the grass-root level to respond to present challenges.
The Church of North India is a full member of the World Council of Churches, the Christian Conference of Asia, the Council for World Mission, the Anglican Consultative Council, the World Methodist Council and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.
The Union has not meant uniformity or absorption, of one church by another. The United Church cherishes and is enriched and strengthened by the diverse spiritual and liturgical heritages and experience of the former six churches which united. The unity in the Church of North India is a unity in diversity.
This United Church is also a uniting church. In the words of the Plan of Church Union in North India, the former six uniting churches are seeking the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, earnestly desiring the day when throughout the world, there shall be one flock and one Shepherd. Soon after the 1970 union, the Church established full communion with the Church of South India and Malankara Mar Thomas Syrian Church.
The Church of South India is a United Church that came into existence on 27th September 1947. The churches that came into the union were the Anglican Church, the Methodist Church, and the South India United Church (which was a union in 1904 of the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches). Later the Basel Mission Churches in South India also joined the Union. The Church of South India is the first example in church history of the union of Episcopal and non-Episcopal churches, and is thus one of the early pioneers of the ecumenical movement.
The total population in the church is about 2.8 million in 21 dioceses, one of the dioceses being Jaffna in Sri Lanka. We have 10,114 congregations looked after by 2,244 ministers, 2,103 full-time lay workers and other honorary lay workers. There are 1,930 schools, 38 colleges, 51 vocational training institutions, 104 hospitals and clinics and 512 hostels for poor children. Most of these institutions are located in rural areas and serve a large section of the community irrespective of their religion or caste.
We endeavor to share the love of Jesus Christ with the people of India through: the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus; responding to human need through
our institutions and through emergency relief work; striving to build a more just society through community development projects and skills training programs for the marginalized and disadvantaged sections of the society; and, programs to care for God’s creation.
The Synod consists of representatives of the 21 dioceses and has its office in Chennai (Madras). The Synod officers are the moderator, deputy moderator, the general secretary and the treasurer. Each diocese is under a bishop and a diocesan council. The dioceses have a great deal of autonomy in initiating programs for evangelism, development and service. The Synod has several councils/departments to help the dioceses in their work.
We have a Women’s Fellowship, a Youth Movement and a laity Fellowship in all dioceses. An Order of Sisters is committed to a life of celibacy, prayer and service.
The CSI strives to maintain fellowship with all those branches of the church which the uniting churches enjoyed fellowship before the union. We are members of the World Methodist Council, the Anglican Consultative Council, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Council for World Mission, and the Association of Missions and Churches in South West Germany.
We are also members of the World Council of Churches, the Christian Conference of Asia, the national Council of Churches in India, and the Joint Council of CSI-CNI-Marthoma Churches.
The Methodist Episcopal Church began its work in India in the year 1856, when William Butler came from America. He began work at Bareilly.
The year 1870 marked the beginning of a new era in the history of Methodism in India. The famous evangelist William Taylor was invited to India to hold special revival meetings. It was this that changed the course of Methodism in India and led our church out of its provincial boundaries and made it a national factor.
The year 1870 is also remarkable in our history as the year that marked the coming of the first missionaries of the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Two young ladies arrived that year: Isabella Thoburn, to start her wonderful work of education among India’s girls and women; and Clara Swain, to inaugurate medical work among the women.
We were, however, early led into an evangelistic work in the villages of Northern India that resulted in the baptism of large numbers of people from among the depressed classes. Thus started our mass Movement work, which has brought several hundreds of thousands of converts into our church in the rural areas.
In 1930 the Central Conference of Southern Asia elected Jaswant Rao Chitambar, as first national bishop, marking the beginning of a new era.
On August 15, 1947 India celebrated her first “Independence Day” making it a national holiday. The leadership of all departments of political life became Indian. In keeping with this, on the retirement of Bishops Pickett and Rockey on November 11, 1956, two new Indian bishops were consecrated, namely, Mangal Singh with his experience in schools and pastoral work coming from the Delhi Conference and Gabriel Sundaram with his years of experience in the educational work of the church. Thus all four of the College of Bishops for India were now Indians.
From October 31 to November 3, 1956 was celebrated the India Centenary of Methodism in Lucknow Christian College, marking the completion of 100 years of service. There was a stirring, instructive and inspirational programme ending with a very impressive Communion Service at which about 3,000 people partook of communion in unison and in solemn silence.
The Central Conference of 1976 resolved to consider the status of an Affiliated Autonomous Methodist Church in India with the United Methodist Church, USA. The Central Conference held on January 7, 1981 in Madras, did in fact reorganize the church and inaugurated the Methodist Church in India.
As the Church goes forward with its work a new era of vision and achievement has begun; we realize more fully than ever before the unchanging truth of the declaration; “Not by right, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” The theme of the First General Conference of the Methodist Church in India, “Looking Back with Praise, Looking Ahead with Faith.”
Aims and Objectives: The Methodist Church in India is the Body of Christ in and for the world as part of the Church Universal. Its purpose is to understand the love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, to hear witness to this love to all people and to make them His disciples. Under the discipline of the Holy Spirit the church exists for the proclamation of the love of God, the maintenance of worship, the edification of believers and the redemption of the world.
In furtherance of this aim, it engages in evangelical, educational, medical, social, literary, agricultural, socio-economic, vocational, technical, industrial and other activities which are in harmony with policies, doctrines and Articles of Faith of The Methodist Church in India.
The Methodist Church began its services in Indonesia in the year 1904 by the coming of Rev. C. F. Pyekett to Indonesia from the Methodist Church in America. Then followed by the coming of Rev. Pakianathan, a Tamil race from Malaysia, in 1905. He was sent as a school teacher to Medan. Since then missionaries came from Swedia, to mention some names, Ragnar Alm, Eric Lager, also from England. To these days there are more than 10 missionaries from USA and Korea. Some of them serve in our Seminary, school and pastoring the English speaking congregation.
Since its beginning, the Methodist Church in Indonesia served congregations of various races and languages. Today there are about 13 languages and dialects used but all of them speak the national language “Indonesian.” The Methodist Church in Indonesia, in its mission, has built up school; kindergarten to university.
At present our church is serving from Aceh, at most western part of Indonesia up to Bali, Pontianak and Makassar-South Sulawesi. It is about 3,000 miles from Aceh to South Sulawesi, from East to West.
Our church has various ethnics and sub-ethnics along the Sumatera Island, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, they are Batak (five dialects: Toba, Simalungun, Dairi, Karo and Papak), Chinese (four dialects: Mandarin, Hockkian, Hakka and Cantonese), Tamil, Javanese and Nias.
The church has 12 districts and two annual conferences with two Bishops. More than one hundred preaching posts with almost the same number of Bible teachers/scholars added to the full congregations/churches. Eighty percent of the churches are in the rural area. There are still many areas to be reached by the church such as in the Karo highland, Dairi highland, Riau, Kalimantan, North and South Sulawesi, Batam, Bali, East Java, Central Java and West Java, which are new in mission.
We are in need of personnel and funds. We also attempt church mission among the poor community, especially in the rural areas. We are longing that our mission should reach more widely among our people, and at the same time communicate God’s love to them.
Therefore allow us to share with you our ministry in Indonesia, such as: palm oil project, clean water project, project of village agricultural education, coffee cultivation project, potato cultivation project, cabbage cultivation project, duck cultivation project, cage fish project, lay training center project, Methodist bookstore, church music, vocational project for girls, scholarship. We praise the Lord for the cooperation of churches in America, England and Korea.
Indonesia is a wide country with more than 85 percent non-Christian population. In reference to this, Bishop H. Doloksaribu says: “Not limit the area of our ministry where we have to go and where not to go” but “How far can you go.” This statement was inspired by Isaiah 4:2-3 and Matthew 19:19-20.
For the last 98 years our church has limited its ministry in the areas where the Methodist Church exists and never accomplished the vision to reach the other areas, especially the difficult, such as new frontier area. Church members are the best instrument for this project; because of their jobs they spread almost 60 percent of our islands. They can be a small terminal in their area. But they couldn’t do the mission by themselves. When they communicate with the local pastor, the local pastor can inform us; then we will send our pastor or lay preacher to that place to start mission work. This is the method we have used in many areas, and in ten years have moved 1,000 kms to the eastern part of Indonesia. Many islands and areas are still waiting for
We have started a new evangelism movement in another four islands: West Kalimantan, the capital city of Pontianak. A house and piece of land in Singkawang town, a two-hour drive from Pontianak, is used for evangelism. Hundreds of children join the movement every month, and more and more adults are coming. Riau, in the middle east area of Sumatra, has hundreds of islands where people mainly of the Malay tribe live in cities and villages. Initially the people only lived in five town areas, but in the early 80s hundreds of new villages were opened, and people moved to this area to start a new life. Missionaries were sent to this area and today we have 41 new preaching posts and churches located in the newly open villages some with permanent buildings. There are 12 pastors, and laymen and laywomen are asked to help pastor the congregations.
Bali, an island in East Indonesia, is known as a tourist area, with Hindu as the major religion. Christians in Bali have their own indigenous church. Methodism came to this area six years ago, starting a new evangelism movement in Denpasar. A rented house is used as pastronage as well as sanctuary, with more than 70 people attending Sunday worship. South Sulawesi: Makassar is the capital city of South Sulawesi, located in east Indonesia. Two preaching posts were started in 1999 with two pastors. Two houses were rented for two years and renewed every two years, each used as parsonage and sanctuary. We are sure that God will provide a piece of land.
Many persons living in big cities like Jakarta, Central Java, East Java, Sumatera have a Christian background, but they stopped going to church. This is considered an opportunity and all Methodist churches have pledged to multiply their ministry to the suburban communities. There have been 12 new Methodist congregations established and they hope to support at least 20 pastors, including the facilities that they need for their ministry.
John Wesley made the first of his twenty-one visits to Ireland in 1747, finding 280 Methodists who had been gathered together in Dublin by pioneer lay preachers. The word spread very rapidly inwards and served to strengthen the Protestant witness in a country which is predominantly Roman Catholic except what is now known as Northern Ireland. The first chapel was opened at Dublin in 1752 and the first conference was held at Limerick in the same year. Emigrants from Ireland during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were of immense importance in spreading Methodism to other parts of the world. They included Barbara Heck, Philip Embury, Robert Strawbridge, and Robert Williams, pioneers in the United States of America, and Laurence Coughlan, the founder of Methodism in Newfoundland. The Irish Methodist Church has one constitution throughout the Republic and Northern Ireland with a President of the Methodist Church in Ireland. The President of the British Conference, as the successor of John Wesley, presides, however, over the Irish Conference, and six Irish representatives sit as members of the British Conference. There are 222 congregations, 16,200 recognized adult members and a total community roll of almost 55,800. There are 130 ministers in active work and 60 retired ministers. Local preachers total 293, with 68 local preachers on trial.
Methodism has made an important contribution to Irish education, including the establishment of Wesley College in Dublin, Methodist College in Belfast, and Gurteen College in Co Tipperary-this last a college of agriculture. It has developed a wide-ranging social work service, largely through its five city missions in Dublin, Belfast, Newtonabbey and Londonderry, which control several homes for the elderly, hostel accommodation for needy men and woman, residential care for adolescents and day care centers for the elderly. An increasing number of churches in other towns provide a range of services on their premises, including luncheon clubs, community advice centers, pre-school play groups, practical help and work with the elderly, etc.
Together with other churches, the Methodist Church in Ireland is deeply concerned with the issue of reconciliation and peace in Ireland. Many of the ministers and people have taken leading roles on efforts to establish peace during recent years of community strife.
Methodism was introduced into Italy during the second half of the last century, when the Risorgimento movement for reunification of Italy was in full force.
In 1859 the Wesleyan Missionary Society of London sent its general secretary to sound out what possibilities there were of Protestant preaching in this country. The Rev. Henry Piggott and his co-workers arrived in 1861 and their preaching gave birth to the “Wesleyan Methodist Church.”
Methodism first spread in Northern Italy, then from 1864 through the South. A theological school was founded together with social centers, and a few periodicals started publishing. This work, however, met with great difficulty after the rise of fascism in the 1920s and one by one the centers were forced to close. The government sent some ministers away from their churches and revoked others’ permission to preach. The decade from 1935 to 1945 could be defined by the motto “resist at all cost.” Thanks to the Lord the congregation did resist and since then they have continued to witness their faith, within the limits of their possibilities.
In 1871, the year after the break of Porta Pia, when the Pope’s temporal power was limited to the Vatican City, the Episcopal Methodist Missionary Society of New York sent the Rev. Leroy Vernon, who began his work in Modena, Bologna, Florence and Rome. In 1873 he was in Milan and proceeded to visit many other cities and smaller towns all over Italy. The Episcopal Methodist Church reached its widest diffusion during the years 1911-1935. At the same time, once again because of the financial crisis and the fascist regime, many of its achievements had to be renounced, both in the field of evangelization and the social and educational works.
Piggott and Vernon had not been the classic missionaries of the colonialistic age. They had a very clear understanding of the historical period Italy was going through. They put themselves to the task of contributing, by preaching the gospel, to developing an all-Italian Protestant Reformed Movement. This also served to expand those areas of freedom which were already open. A Protestantism completely immersed in the spirit of the Risorgimento was developing.
In May 1946 the union took place of the two branches of Italian Methodism. The Evangelical Methodist Church of Italy was born as a district of the British Methodist Conference. In 1948 the Italian Methodist Church took part in the founding of the World Council of Churches. In 1962 it achieved full autonomy with its own Conference. In 1975 the process of federation began between the Waldensian and Methodist churches and became operative in 1979. Churches have maintained their individual identities and organization, including financial administration. We share ministers between our churches, have one theological college, and one united circuit and district meeting.
Today there are about 4,200 Italian Methodists of whom 2,700 are baptized members. They are constituted in about 50 congregations spread all over the country. There are numerous Methodist social projects, especially in the south of Italy. The most significant are the “social center” in Villa S. Sebastiano (Abruzzi), and in Scicili (Sicily) “Casa Materna” in Portici near Naples; “Centro Emilio Nitti,” “Casa Mia” in Naples, the youth center “Ecumene” near Velletri that runs biblical training and which promotes debates on social and political problems; “Creating Hope” Intra for refugees and migrants’ Methodist Center.
The Methodist Church in Kenya was planted in 1862 at Ribe. The church continued to grow and spread to other parts in the country. The church became autonomous in January 1967 and since then has engaged in evangelism and outreach. Currently the church has mission outreach in Uganda and Tanzania.
The church is divided into eight synods, namely, Singwaya, Pwani, Nairobi, Western Kenya, Nyambene, Miathene, Kaaga and Nkubu. Each synod has a bishop who presides over the synod while there is a connexional presiding bishop.
Our mission has continued to grow in scope. We are sponsors of other 200 schools, a hospital and many dispensaries. We also have agricultural training institutes, youth polytechnic, technical schools, special schools for the physically disabled and vocational schools. Our ecumenical cooperation has enabled us to have a united Theological College at Limuru. We also have Lavington United Church which is sponsored by the Methodists.
The church now has 205 ministers, 1,000 congregations with 300,000 members and a Methodist community of 800,000. We anticipate doubling our membership in the next five years. We have opened a Kenya Methodist University that will spearhead university education in our region. We have other programmes such as rural development programmes, community health, youth, women fellowship AIDs, lay training and family education. We are members of the All Africa Conference of Churches, National Council of Churches of Kenya, World Council of Churches and other fraternal bodies in the region.
God, who precedes all human planning, so loved this calm land of the East that he sent a number of mission pioneers to proclaim the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. They were filled with the passion for saving the soul of Korean people and the Korean society. The first Methodist missionary was R. S. Maclay, of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Japan. He visited Korea on 24 June 1884 and obtained permission from King Kojong to do God‟s work in the field of „education and medical treatment‟. On Easter Sunday, April 5, 1885, Rev. H. G. Appenzeller, with H. G. Underwood, a Presbyterian missionary, arrived in Korea to “bring the Korean people to the light and liberty of God‟s children.” One month later W. B. Scranton, another American missionary, came to Korea with his mother, Mrs. Scranton. Soon H. G. Appenzeller and Mrs. W.P. Scranton founded schools and hospitals. In October 1895 the Methodist Episcopal Church South also began missionary work. Bishop E. R. Hendrix and Dr. C. F. Reid who had been working in China, entered Korea by the efforts of a Korean scholar, Yoon, Chi-Ho who became the first member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South during his stay in China. The Southern Methodist Church was especially interested in missionary work for women and sent Mrs. Campbell to Korea two years later.
From the beginning the Methodist Church made a great contribution to the development and modernization of Korean society by its active involvement in education, medical treatment and publication. A revival movement which occurred in Wonsan in 1903 and another in Pyongyang in 1907 became milestones of the explosive growth of the church. In 1930 the Methodist Episcopal Church North and the Methodist Episcopal Church South were united for form the independent Korean Methodist Church.
After World War II, the Korean Church was divided for a few years, but reunited in 1949. During the Korean War beginning in 1950, the Korean Church went through hardships with church leaders being kidnapped or executed and many church buildings destroyed. Since that time, the Korean Methodist Church has grown rapidly with a spiritual passion for lost souls of the Korean people. It has also promoted social reformation, human rights and mission work among urban laborers and farmers.
The Korean Methodist Church is committed to the task of evangelism and the realization of peace and justice in the world, and sends missionaries to other countries to share the Gospel. In the Korean Methodist Church there are 5,692 Churches, 8,415 ministers, and 1,508,430 members.
The Evangelical Association from Kõnigsberg District started evangelistic work in Riga, the capital of Latvia, in 1908, with the establishment of the first church in 1912. From this point, the work developed into the formation of congregations in Kuldiga and Liepaja. German Methodism started work in Riga with the appointment of George R. Durdis in 1910. This led to the establishment of the first Methodist church in Riga 1912. In 1911 the Methodists came into Email with a Moravian Brethren missionary who had founded the congregation in Liepaja, which in turn became a Methodist church. The Baltic countries attained independence after World War I, and the work developed rapidly, with American support.
The Incorporation of the Baltic countries into the Soviet Union after World War II was catastrophic for the Methodist church. Systematic persecution of pastors and congregations, as well as confiscation of buildings destroyed a great deal of the work. In Latvia, a small group of earlier Methodists remained, and in 1991 the Emails led to the reconstruction of the United Methodist Church of Latvia. Since then there has been growth and the operations have spread from the indigenous languages and people to the Russian-speaking population. Latvia UMC has status as District Conference within the Estonia Annual Conference.
The church has good relations with other denominations. The number of membership is growing and the church is happy by the fact that they have a new camp site, Camp Wesley, which was opened last year. Diaconal ministry is an important part of the church’s ministry.
The Methodist Church (now United Methodist) planted its roots in Liberia in 1822, by black immigrants from the Americas. They came to Christianize and educate the indigenous Africans and enlist them in the cause of Christ on the Continent of Africa. They sought and received missionaries in 1833. The late Rev. Melvin B. Cox was the first missionary to Liberia. In 1854, the missionaries organized the Liberia Mission Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. It remained a missionary conference until 1964, when by an action of the General Conference, autonomy was duly authorized and Central Conference status was achieved.
In December 1965, the first session of the Liberia Central Conference was held at Mount Scott United Methodist Church in Harper City, Maryland County, Liberia. At this time the Rev. Stephen Trowen Nagbe, Sr. was elected bishop, the first Liberian to be elected and consecrated in Liberia (our indigenous soil). The Rev. Dr. Bennie Dequincey Warner was the second Liberian to be elected as a bishop in 1973 following the death of Bishop Nagbe. Bishop Warner was elected at the third session of the Liberia Central Conference held at First United Methodist Church of Lower Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, Liberia, in December 1980, the Rev. Dr. Arthur F. Kulah was elected the third Liberia bishop. Bishop Kulah was elected at Miller McAllister United Methodist Church in Ganta City, Nimba County, Liberia. The election of Bishop Kulah came about because of the April 12, 1980 coup d’etat in Liberia and the departure of Bishop Bennie D. Warner who was also Vice President of the Republic of Liberia.
The Liberia Central Conference was dissolved in 1984 for the formation of The West Africa Central Conference, bringing together the Liberia Annual Conference, Sierra Leone Annual Conference, and the Muri Provisional Annual Conference. The United Methodist Church, The West Africa Central Conference brings three countries together (Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone). The history of present day Liberia dates from 1816 when the American Colonization Society, a private United States organization, was given a charter by the United States Congress to send freed blacks to the West Coast of Africa. The first settlers landed at the site of present-day Monrovia in 1822. In 1838, the settlers united to form the Commonwealth of Liberia, and on July 26, 1847, Liberia was declared an independent country, the first republic of Africa.
The Liberian Civil War in 1989-1997 caused much death, destruction of property and suffering for the Liberian people. For this reason, the church started ministries in the areas of relief, repatriation, resettlement, rehabilitation, reconstruction and reconciliation. There will be additional church ministries in the next few years.
On December 16, 2000, at the Fifth Quadriennium Session of the West Africa Central Conference, Methodist Church, held in Monrovia, at the First United Methodist Church, the Rev. Dr. John Ginka Innis was elected on the first ballot as the fourth indigenous bishop and subsequently consecrated on December 17, 2000, thereby succeeding the Rev. Dr. Arthur F. Kulah, who superintended the church for twenty (20) years. He was formally retired in 2000.
The Rev. Dr. John G. Innis intends to take off from where his predecessor ended. He has, however, placed emphasis on vigorous and holistic evangelism, dynamic spiritual growth, and sustainable economic empowerment.
The United Methodist Church in Liberia operates United Methodist schools, including a university, seven senior high schools, nine junior high schools, and twenty-one elementary schools. The church also provides subsidies for 80 other schools operated by local United Methodist congregations. The church operates a full hospital at Ganta and seven clinics. The United Methodist Church is in partnership with the Lutheran Church in
the Phebe Hospital Project in Bong County. There are agricultural training farms at Ganta, Gbarnga, Gbason-town, Whiteplans and Decoursey.
The church is a full member of the Liberia Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of Churches. The current membership of the United Methodist Church in Liberia is approximately 150,000. There are 690 pastors assigned to 481 local churches in 19 districts. The church affects the lives of a wider community of approximately 2.5 million people.