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
The Methodist movement began at the turn of the 20th century with a spiritual awakening in a German-speaking community in Kaunas. The first Lithuanian-speaking congregation was created in 1923. By the 1939 Baltic and Slavic Conference, Lithuanian Methodism included seven active congregations. Following the Soviet occupation in 1944 all Methodist activity was forcibly stopped, congregations disbanded, and property nationalized.
In 1995 Methodists from Europe and the United States began to assist a small group of surviving Lithuanian Methodists in efforts to reorganize congregations and reclaim property. As of 2005 there are eleven congregations with a total of 485 members and 1,000 persons who participate regularly in Methodist activities. The congregations have active ministries of worship and teaching, feeding ministries, English instruction classes, economic development programs, and a drug and alcohol addiction help center in Birzai.
The churches are currently served by five Lithuanian pastors and five missionaries from Britain Sweden and America.
Lithuania celebrated the 10 years anniversary since the re-opening of the UMC in 2005. Many congregations have seen growth and a number are involved in building projects. Diaconal ministry is an important part of the church’s ministry.
More than 130 years ago, missionaries from the USA laid the cornerstone for Protestant work in the territory of what is now Macedonia. Macedonian freedom fighters, trying to pry their country loose from the Ottoman Empire, also contributed to this early work. Captured and sent to prison in Thessaloniki, their hearts were changed, and after being released, they returned home with a new mission: to spread the Gospel.
However, the Methodist mission in Macedonia would never have developed so well without the faith and courage of “Bible women” who travelled to remote areas in spite of poor roads and the scorn, stone-throwing, and brutality of scoffers. These “Bible women” not only passed on the Good Word of the Gospel; they taught other women to read and write (which meant that these women could now also read the Bible), organized sewing groups and nursing courses, and provided people with help and advice in all sorts of areas. In nearly every place where the Bible Women were active, there appeared not just local schools, but also congregations.
Yet these newly founded congregations faced a high level of initial resistance, even though their members always worked for the good of the entire community. Their meeting houses were burned, and in the beginning, those who converted to Christianity were often thrown into prison. But the congregations survived this treatment. They still exist today, and they are growing!
For more than ten years, the UMC has been officially recognized by the Republic of Macedonia. So today, the Church is fighting a different kind of battle. The past years, with political unrest, war, and waves of refugees, have led to economic misery. Unemployment is around forty percent, and many people live far below the poverty level. So far, there is no viable social safety net (welfare payments of 30 Euros/month for a family of four don’t go very far). The mere expenses for groceries, firewood, and medicines are beyond the means of many people.
The congregations do what they can to counter this need in the name of Jesus Christ, with words of hope and deeds of love. In doing so, they overcome the nationalist tendencies by providing support to minorities. For example, in several places they have developed evangelization programs and social efforts for Rom, and organize regular international youth camps with participants from Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Germany, and the USA.
Institutional services and social support for individuals are equally important. Thus, with generous support from abroad, the UMC has built a social service center in Strumica, a city in the eastern part of the country. This center provides elderly, needy people with a warm meal each day under the auspices of “Meals on Wheels” and with additional assistance.
The very active and diverse dialogue with other Churches (Orthodox, Catholic) and religious communities (Jews, Muslims) is an important contribution towards a common, peaceful future of the country.
Today, Macedonia and Serbia are two politically independent countries, but the UMC congregations still form one organizational unit (Annual Conference) with two districts. However, due to the unfavorable economic situation, they are able to cover only about 10% of their own budget, and the lack of pastors is also a heavy burden, although this latter aspect is improving.
With great dedication and faith in God, the members of the UMC accept these challenges. The call to Paul in the Book of Apostles “Come here to Macedonia and help us!” is just as current now as it was 2,000 years ago
The Methodist work began in this area with the arrival of William F. Oldham in Singapore on February 7, 1885. He was accompanied by Dr. James M. Thoburn (later Bishop), Methodist missionary in India, and they were to undertake the first foreign mission work of the Indian Methodist Church. Dr. Thoburn preached the first sermon at the Singapore Town Hall the next day.
The work of the Methodists under Oldham grew in several directions. Linguistically the work begun in English was extended to Tamil, Chinese and Malay. Geographically, new work started in key towns along the Malay Peninsular. Methodism came to Sarawak in East Malaysia with the arrival of Methodists from China in 1901. Missionaries extended the work there. Work also started amongst the indigenous peoples in East and West Malaysia.
In 1950 Methodists in Singapore and Malaysia, Indonesia and Burma formed the South-Eastern Asia Central Conference, a part of the General Conference of the Methodist Church (USA). In 1968 the General Conference granted the constitution of the affiliated autonomous Methodist Church in Malaysia and Singapore.
The Rev. Dr. Yap Kim Hao was elected the first Bishop of the autonomous church in 1968. The Rev. Theodore R. Doaraisamy was elected in 1973 to succeed him.
In December 1976, the Methodist Church in Malaysia and the Methodist Church in Singapore were constituted following the formation of an independent Singapore.
The Rev. C. N. Fang was elected the first Bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaysia, serving for three terms from 1976 – 1988. The Rev. Dr. Denis C. Dutton was elected Bishop in 1988 and served for two terms. He was followed by the Rev. Dr. Peter Chio Sing Ching, elected Bishop in 1996. The current Bishop is the Rev. Dr. Hwa Yung, elected in 2004.
The Methodist Church in Malaysia is comprised of six Annual Conferences – the Chinese Annual Conference, Tamil Annual Conference and Trinity Annual Conference in West Malaysia; the Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference, the Sarawak Iban Annual Conference and the Sabah Provisional Annual Conference in East Malaysia – and one Mission Conference – the Sengoi Mission Conference. These cover the main language groups as well as some of the indigenous peoples of the country.
It has a membership of 98,000 adults and about 60,000 preparatory members below 16 years old. The World Christian Encyclopedia (Oxford: 2001) estimates the total number affiliated with the Methodist Church in Malaysia at 230,000 persons. This makes it one of the three largest Protestant churches in the country.
History of Protestant work in Mexico has its roots in the 1810 independence movement led by dissident priests; introduction of Bibles in Spanish by 1826 and passage of the famous Civil Laws and Freedoms ratified in 1860 by the Benito Juarez government also played important roles in preparing ground for Protestantism.
All early Protestant missionaries founded their work on small groups meeting together to study the Bible. Out of such groups came some of the first pastors. For example, Alejo Hernandez was born into a wealthy family; his parents dedicated him to the priesthood at birth; seminary studies plus injustices involving the church caused him to turn this back on Christianity. He enlisted in the army to fight the French who were defending the throne of Mexico for Maximillian. Taken prisoner, Hernandez became convinced he needed to know more about the Bible. Later, in Brownsville, Texas, in search of a Bible and help to understand it, a recorded testimony tells how he felt himself moved in a way never before experienced. “I left weeping with holy joy.” With Bible in hand he returned to Mexico to share his new faith, but was turned away by family and church and forced to flee to Texas. In Corpus Christi a Methodist pastor invited him to form a class of Mexicans residing there; soon he was ordained deacon at the West Texas Conference in 1871 and assigned work in Nuevo Laredo. This was the first organized thrust into Mexico by Methodists; not the denomination but one Annual Conference.
Bishop John Keener, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, followed and purchased a “place for public worship” in February 1873. The Methodist Episcopal Church began work with a decision by the Council of Bishops in November 1872 to send Dr. William Butler who had previously served 17 years in India. Prior to Dr. Butler’s arrival, Bishop Gilbert Haven was sent to explore possibilities for work in December 1872. Returning to the USA in March 1873, he left four established congregations, preliminary work for several others and ground work for the purchase of the Gante Methodist Church in Mexico City.
On July 8, 1930, Methodism in Mexico became united and thus the Methodist Church in Mexico (Iglesia Metodista de Mexico) was born as an autonomous church. Its bishops are elected every four years. At present this church has six episcopal areas that cover 28 of the 30 states of the nation and the federal district. It has 150,000 members, 400 churches, and an estimated total Methodist community of 300,000.
It has a university, two theological seminaries, 150 centers of Theological Studies on Extension, 12 schools from kindergarten to high school, four social centers, two hospitals, two orphanages, two homes for the elderly, two clinics and one girls’ hostel.
Late in 1990, the Igreja Methodista Unida em Mocambique observed the 100th anniversary of the beginning of church work in Mozambique. The theme of the celebration was, “One Hundred years of preaching the Gospel and witnessing through words and deeds without ceasing.”
The United Methodist Church in Mozambique had its beginnings in the southern province of Inhambane in 1890. From a small group the church grew steadily in spite of (or because of) persecution by the Colonial Portuguese, Roman Catholic government. After independence in 1975, the strong Marxist government closed and made it highly undesirable to profess the Christian faith.
The works of the churches continued, sometimes clandestinely, and were allowed to reopen in 1982 when President Samora Machel invited the churches to contribute to the development of the country.
A civil war which raged in Mozambique from 1976 to 1992 brought unbelievable suffering to the Mozambican people and during those years many people fled to possibly more secure places to live as internal refugees. They took the message of salvation and new churches were started and continue growing in places where the church never before existed.
Since 1982 the government authorities for the first time in history allowed the construction of new church buildings and although Mozambique is considered the poorest country in the world, the church members contributed to the construction of places of worship worthy of praise and thanksgiving.
The first Mozambique Bishop, Rev. Escrivao A. Zunguza, was elected in 1976. He worked during a hard time for the churches in Mozambique. He was called to work as a pacifist within the church and between the churches and government. In 1988 Bishop Joao Somane Machado was elected as the third Mozambican Bishop and continues to lead this rapidly growing church.
Since the year 2000 the church exists in the whole country, divided into two conferences: North of Save Annual Conference, constituted by 6 Ecclesiastical Districts with 3,500 members, and South of Save Annual Conference with 14 Ecclesiastical Districts and 115,000 members. Church programs include: evangelization and development programs; construction of churches, pastoral housing, schools; development of transportation and communications with superintendents and pastors to minimize the problem of lack of transportation and communication caused by long distances and lack of communication facilities; a program of perceiving the moral, social and religious values in society; support of all children’s programs; support of women’s programs; to create the self-sustaining church program that will be sable to carry its mission in very responsible and productive ways.
The Union of Myanmar (Burma) is geographically situated in Southeast Asia, with an estimated population of 47.25 million. There are 135 national races of which the main ethnic groups are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. Buddhism is the religion of the population with 89.3 percent. Christianity is practiced by 5.6 percent of the people, Islam by 3.8 percent, Hinduism by .5 percent and Animism by .2 percent.
The Rev. James M. Thoburn (1836-1922) came to India and heard about evangelistic opportunities in Yangon (Rangoon), Penang and Singapore from the sailors. He frequently received letters for help from the Indian Methodists who had settled in Yangon, which he shared with William Taylor in America. Taylor could not come immediately so sent Robert E. Carter of Ohio to Yangon to begin the mission. Thoburn immediately went to Yangon to work with Carter and the Methodists there. On Sunday, June 22, 1870, they organized an English-speaking church with 29 members. Ms. E. H. Warner was sent by the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society in 1881, Miss Mary McKesson in 1882, and a girl’s school was established and opened the same year.
In 1884 the Myanmar Methodist Church became a district of the South India Conference. In 1885 Singapore was added. In 1892 the Myanmar district became the Bengal-Burma Conference and on February 2, 1902 it became the Myanmar Mission Conference under Bishop F. W. Warne.
In 1950 the Myanmar Annual Conference was included within the newly created Southeastern Asia Central Conference, comprised of the Malaya, the Malaysia Chinese, the Sarawak, the Sumatra, and the Myanmar Annual Conference, up to 1964. Raymond L. Archer served as Bishop from 1950 to 1956, and Hobart B. Amstutz from 1956 to 1964. On May 8, 1964 the General Conference approved the Methodist Church of the Union of Myanmar to be autonomous. The Sixty-Second Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in Lower Myanmar was held on October 5-19, 1964 and the Rev. Lim Si Sin was elected to be the first national bishop in 1965. Second bishop was Rev. U Hla Sein, elected in 1969; Rev. C. F. Chu was elected in 1980 as third bishop, and Rev. U Pan Doke was elected in 1984 as the fourth bishop. The Methodist Theological Institute was founded in July 1987.
Rev. U Mya Thaung was elected in 1989 as the fifth bishop. In February 1994 the Annual Conference was split into two groups, each headed by their respective bishops, Rev. U Mya Thaung and Rev. U Maung Than. After six years of splitting and bitter division, in the year 2000 the conference was reunited and the Reunited Special Conference was convened on July 5, 2000. Rev. Zothan Mawia was elected bishop and Rev. U Saw Shaw was elected General Secretary of the Methodist Church of the Union of Lower Myanmar Annual Conference. There are 25 local churches, six gospel centres, 6 districts, 31 full-time preachers including 21 ordained ministers, 2,102 members and 3,270 community.
The Methodist Church has experienced great distress during the past years, but God never forsakes his people, the church and his ministers. He guided and empowered by His Holy Spirit. The storm of hardship is over and all the districts are trying to do their best in order to grow year-by-year. The number of ministers and pastors are inadequate in all districts, so the administration including the work of societies and ministering communion were unable to serve regularly in some churches. More workers are needed.
The capital and centre district Mandalay has a home mission field at Yinmabin, Tamabingwa Villages. The people are Burmese and belong to Buddhism, which is a part of their culture. One of the strongest districts is Tahan. The Rev. Haokhojam and Rev. Lalmuana have opened the seventh district at Mindat.
Evangelists are working in Homalin District, the furthest and very undeveloped area, with bad communications and transportation. The church was founded in1937. Evangelists have tried their best to spread the Gospel, and have never given up. They need funds, supplies, clothing and literature for distribution.
Sami area, located in Southern Chin States, is a concern of the Conference Mission and Evangelism Committee. The Conference supports the workers allowances and other expenses.
Organized Methodism in Australia, as part of the Foreign Missions under the direction of the British Conference, dates from the appointment of the Rev. Samuel Leigh to New South Wales in 1815. This, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji were constituted “The Australian Wesleyan Methodist Connexion” with an Annual Conference, affiliated to the Parent English Conference, and the first conference was held in Sydney in the year 1855. The New Zealand Church separated from the Australian Conference in 1913 with the union of the Methodist Church of New Zealand and the Primitive Methodist Church of New Zealand and the first conference was held in that year.
New Zealand is a country with a population of 3,500,000. There are 9,473 Methodist Church members who worship as part of a Methodist Church parish. In addition there is a significant number of Methodist Church members who worship within a cooperative venture where the Methodist Church has combined with the Presbyterian or Anglicans or Church of Christ or Congregational Union congregation of a particular area. The establishment of cooperative ventures has occurred in many regions of the country and particularly in rural areas. These form over half of the parishes for which the Methodist Church of New Zealand is responsible.
At the annual conference in 1983 the church made a conscious decision to work toward becoming a bicultural church. In particular the church made a decision to take seriously the founding document of our nation, the Treaty of Waitangi. The treaty was signed by Maori and Pakeha, and the church’s commitment to the bicultural journey affirms that partnership. For this reason we have adopted practices whereby the voice of the Tangata Whenua (the original people) is heard as equal with the voice of the Tauiwi (the people who came after). One of the outcomes of this recognition of partnership is that our church now seeks to make decisions using as much as possible a consensus process of decision-making.
At the 1989 conference, the following statement of mission was adopted for the people of Aotearoa/New Zealand who are associated with the Methodist tradition, both in Methodist parishes and in cooperative ventures. “Our church’s mission in Aotearoa/New Zealand is to reflect and proclaim the transforming love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ and declared in the scriptures. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to serve God in the world. The Treaty of Waitangi is the covenant establishing our nation on the basis of power-sharing partnership and will guide how we undertake mission.”
The mission statement becomes the basis on which the mission of the Methodist Church of New Zealand, Te haahi Weteriana o Aotearoa is carried out, and reflects the partnership we seek to embody.
The Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand (WMCNZ) is a dynamic, evangelical expression of Methodism in the South Pacific, living out Wesley’s core gospel convictions in the multicultural, secular context of wider New Zealand society. The first Wesleyan Methodist minister to come to the South Pacific in 1815 was Rev. Samuel Leigh, from England. He visited New Zealand for nine months during 1819. With the support of the new (British) Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, Leigh established the first New Zealand Wesleyan work at Whangaroa (near Kaeo) in 1823. The Wesleydale mission was unsuccessful but was re-established at Mangungu in the Hokianga. Wesleyan missionaries, along with Anglicans, were instrumental in supporting the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi; between the indigenous Maori people and the British Crown. Other branches of British Methodism established themselves in New Zealand; in 1844 the Primitive Methodists, in 1860 the United Free Methodists and in 1877 the Bible Christians. These churches, and the main Wesleyan Methodist Church, were all evangelical in theology. Through a series of church unions, all the different Methodist churches in New Zealand had combined by 1913. During the 1930s and after World War II, the Methodist Church progressively adopted a more intellectual style of ministry training, which included a critical Biblical teaching method, pastoral counselling emphases, and a reduced focus on holiness and evangelical/mission convictions. Pacifism, ecumenism, post-war social turmoil, and an increasingly liberal theological ethos became influential in the church. Many evangelical ministers and lay people were concerned at the pluralism of theology, loss of Wesleyan theological distinctives, and from the 1980s the over-riding bicultural criteria which became the benchmark of mission and decision-making. The rise of the charismatic movement in the 1970s and 1980s saw many Methodists join other denominations. Theological disquiet for evangelicals deepened when the 1997 Methodist Conference approved a homosexual minister into full connexion, and in the process contravened proper decision-making processes. The Wesleyan Methodist Movement was formed to co-ordinate the work of evangelicals who could not live in theological conscience with the 1997 Methodist Conference decision. In July 2000 the Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand (WMCNZ) was formed as a multi-cultural church in the Wesleyan stream to pursue a renewed evangelical missional future. The WMCNZ was founded as an indigenous church with New Zealand leadership, led by founding National Superintendent Rev Edgar Hornblow. Among decisions made at the first conference was to join the Wesleyan World Fellowship of the international Wesleyan Church. In September 2007 the WMCNZ was received as a full member of the World Methodist Council. In August 2012 a new South Pacific Regional Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church was inaugurated in Brisbane, Australia, with the constituent national conferences being those of Australia, Bougainville, New Zealand and the Solomon Islands. Rev. Dr Richard Waugh, New Zealand National Superintendent, was appointed the first President. The WMCNZ undertakes mission in an ethnically diverse New Zealand (population of 4.5m) which is now one of the most secularised English-speaking countries in the world. The WMCNZ has 23 churches (2015) and four more churches in current planning, with 60 ordained ministers, licensed ministers, and ministry students (of whom many are women, younger people and culturally diverse). A multi-cultural missional ethos is promoted. The WMCNZ is ecumenically committed, takes an active role in World Methodism, and is a member of National Church Leaders Aotearoa New Zealand, New Zealand Christian Network, and supports many other interdenominational organisations. In conjunction with the Church of the Nazarene and the Salvation Army the WMCNZ sponsors an annual Wesleyan theological symposium.
Methodist Church Nigeria developed from Wesleyan Methodist mission Outreach of Methodist Church in Britain in 1845 and Primitive Methodist Mission via Fernando Po. The merger of the two Methodist Churches formed Methodist Church Nigeria.
Methodist Church Nigeria is currently a Connexional Episcopal Church headed by a Prelate. The Conference Area is divided into 16 Archdioceses, 1 Council and 74 Dioceses mostly located in the rural areas. The membership size is about 2 million full members.
The Nigeria Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, separated into two halves by the River Benue, is located in the Northeastern part of Nigeria. It attained Conference status in 1992 and has its own resident bishop. The headquarters is in Jalingo, capital of the new Tabara State of Nigeria.
The first foundation for mission in Muri was laid in September, 1906, when the Reverend Dr. C. W. Guinter of the Evangelical church, a forerunner of the Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) traveled up the Benue River to Ibi near Wukari. Guinter had come from the United States with four other missionaries to work for Jesus Christ in the Sudan – a region extending across Northern Africa, south of the Sahara.
In 1946, the Evangelical church became part of the newly merged Evangelical United Brethren (EUB). Mean while, the British Methodists were having trouble in staffing and financing their mission work in Nigeria while still recovering from World War II. So in 1947, the British missions on the southern side of the Benue River were merged with those of the EUB on the northern side.
From 1923 until 1954, the EUB Church in Nigeria had been run by the Missionary Council. In 1954, it became the Muri Regional Church Council. The foreign missionaries were brought under the same Church Council as the indigenous Nigerians.
In 1954, the first indigenous leaders were elected. After pastoral training, the first ordinations of Nigerians took place in 1958 and 1964. Four district churches were also created in 1964, two on each side of the river. Today there are 15 districts and 180 charges.
At the United Methodist General Conference it was resolved that the Evangelical United Brethren Church in Nigeria would become part of the West African Central Conference as “Muri Provisional Annual Conference.”
Bishop Arthur F. Kulah of the Liberia Annual Conference was appointed as Itinerant Bishop to Nigeria from 1984 to 1988. In 1989, he was replaced by Bishop Thomas S. Bangura of the Sierra Leone Annual Conference. Finally, in May 1992, Nigeria became a full Annual Conference, and on August 14, Dr. Done Peter Dabale was elected as its first Resident Bishop.
In 1989, the church established its theological seminary at Banyam to prepare students for ministerial work and degree programs at other theological seminaries. The Kakulu Bible Institute in Zing and the Didango Bible School met our demands of evangelists.
An evangelical program in our Church is at work establishing new churches and directing annual workshops and courses for the clergy and evangelists.
The church sponsors programs in agriculture, rural health, rural development, women’s work, youth and aviation. We have been able to work harmoniously both at home and abroad for the success of church growth and development in Nigeria.
The work of Methodism in North Africa was started in 1908 by missionaries from the USA. Before Algeria became independent in 1962, there were no restrictions on church work in this country. Open evangelization was allowed. The Methodist Church owned church buildings, children’s homes and clinics. At that time, the Church in Northern Africa was organized as an annual conference, to which local pastors, lay preachers, and evangelists belonged. Then the country dissolved its ties to France. This was a historic juncture that had serious – and for many, painful – consequences. Many local Christians left the country, believing that there was no place for a Christian Church in an independent Algeria. Finally, eight years later, events followed which were to define the next period: half of the Methodist missionaries were deported, children’s homes and boarding schools were forced to close, and Church property was taken over by the state.
In 1972, the Methodist Church fused with most of the other Protestant denominations to form the Protestant Church of Algeria, and Methodist work in Northern Africa was reorganized as a district of the annual conference of Switzerland/France. This work also includes the cooperation of various churches in Tunis, Tunisia, with its emphasis on social services (delivering food, clothing and medicines), on assistance for immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa, and on the organization of ecumenical worship services and university Bible groups.
Today, the Christian Church is a tiny minority in Algeria, where Islam is now the state religion. Fairly recently, it was possible to run a congregation in an organized manner, in spite of state-ordered limitations (prohibition of public evangelization, prohibition of all activities not directly related to church work, prohibition of all services to Moslem children, youth and students). The political and religious developments of the past few years have not exactly made Methodist work any easier in this country.
However, there are worship services, Bible studies, weddings and baptisms. In Algiers and Oran, especially, these take place through ecumenical cooperation. More and more people are expressing their interest in the Christian faith. Through the social services supported by the UMC in Switzerland, a sewing school for deaf women in Constantine is run, which means that some young women are receiving a chance for a better future.
The training of local staff is a major priority of Church life today, because although leaders in the Methodist congregations in Algeria continue to maintain existing relations, they also hope to increase the level of local responsibility.
Structurally, the Protestant Church of Algeria is now constituted as a federation of Protestant congregations, in which Methodist personalities continue to carry out important leadership functions. However, this has no effect on the cooperation in personnel and financial matters between the Methodist congregations in Algeria and the Annual Conference in of Switzerland/France.
The Northern Europe Central Conference is devided into two Episcopal Areas: The Nordic and Baltic Episcopal area consisting of the United Methodist Churches in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden, and the Eurasia Episcopal Area consisting of United Methodist Churches in Russia, Ukraine and Moldova, and Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan). Information on each church is listed separately by country.
In Norway, the story of Methodism began with seaman Ole Peter Petersen’s preaching in 1849 and the years ahead. In 1851, O.P. Petersen established the Norwegian-Danish Methodist Church in America. In 1856, Danish-American Christian Willerup was sent to Scandinavia as a superintendent in order to lead the church, which had emerged spontaneously. The first Methodist church was founded during the same year, thereby making the establishment of the Methodist Church in Norway a reality. In 1876 the church in Norway received status as an Annual Conference. There were 29 pastors, 19 congregations and 2,798 members, and the conference got its own superintendent, Martin Hansen.
The membership number has been declining for the last 50 years. The Annual Conference Council has therefore prioritized and recommended tools like Natural Church Development, Alpha and Walk to Emmaus in order to try to turn this development.
The largest Protestant Church in Pakistan today is the Church of Pakistan formed on November 1, 1970 on All Saints Day. This was the union of four churches, the Anglican Church, Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church and Lutheran. There are eight dioceses equivalent of the conferences of the Church of Pakistan.
Among those eight dioceses, two are areas of the Methodist work, Multan and Raiwind. The Methodist Church also contributed a lot in pastoral and evangelistic work in the Diocese of Karachi and Hyderabad.
Urdu is the national language spoken by the majority. All the church services are conducted in Urdu but the Diocese of Hyderabad is mainly an evangelistic diocese. The Hyderabad Diocese, among the eight dioceses, is involved in working among the Hindu Tribals.
The majority of the Christians are living in the rural areas of the country and they are working as landless farmers or working in brick factories as laborers. The Urban area Christians are working as sanitary workers, but very few doctors, engineers and educationists. Most of the educated people have left or are leaving the country as they don’t have a bright future.
The Church of Pakistan has served for many years through the hospitals, schools, hostels and vocational centers by training the boys and girls in carpentry, sewing and in other areas of earning. Hostels are also playing a big role in order to nurture boys and girls making them honorable citizens of the country.
Population of Pakistan is 140 million with annual population growth of 3.1 percent. Literacy rate is 24 percent female and 38 percent male. Infant mortality is 95 per 1000, with one doctor per 2000 people, and one hospital bed per 2110 people. Annual income per family is $200 rural and $350 to $380 urban. The main cities are Islamabad, the capital city, with 450,000, and Karachi, the largest city with 10.8 million.
The Methodist Church in Panama is the result of missionary efforts of Methodist ministers from the USA. There are two groups of Methodist churches in the Republic: the Evangelical Methodist Church of Panama (formerly United Methodist Church), a direct result of missionary efforts from the United States; and the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas, a result of British missionary efforts among the West Indian descendants who came mainly for the construction of the Panama Canal.
In January 1906 the first missionary couple, Rev. and Mrs. James Elkins arrived. By 1908 a small chapel had been built with the name of “El Malecon” (The Sea Wall Methodist Church). A small day school met on the premises, known as “Panam College.” The school has experienced rapid growth and there are over 4,000 students of elementary and high school level. There is a section known as “laboral classes,” for adults who have not completed their high school education.
Due to the continuing growth, the church dedicated much time to youth work, establishing youth camps and hostels.
There are eight organized congregations with membership ranging from 40 to 250 members, seven preaching points or missions, and present membership is approximately 2,000. Mission work has been established in Chiriqui among the Guyami Indians.
The church became autonomous in 1973 and has worked to develop national leadership in order to assume all church responsibilities.
The first Methodist worship gathering in Paraguay was held April 9, 1988. Two years earlier, Brazilian lay preacher Dr. Norival Trinidade and his wife Ruth had initiated missionary trips to Paraguay, pursuing a vision they had personally received from the Lord. The vision was shared by the Rev. and Mrs. Virgil Maybray from Wilmore, Kentucky (USA) and with a group of Brazilian clergy and laity.
The Rev. Pablo Mora Bogado and his wife Claudete, who pastored a church in Brazil at the time accepted the challenge and became the first resident missionaries to Paraguay. They arrived in the country in March of 1988. Together with the Trinidades, the Mora Bogados began the work. The second missionary couple, Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Inglis, from Atlanta, Georgia (USA) arrived in Paraguay in July of 1988.
In an unusual form, the Methodist Evangelical Community of Paraguay was born national and autonomous with strong support from individuals, local churches and missionary sending agencies in the United States, Brazil and South Korea.
The first Methodist congregation was established in Asuncion, the capital. At the same time the first Korean congregation was planted, under the Korean Church appointed missionary Rev. Chul Ki Kim.
The church maintains an elementary and high school in the Asuncion neighborhood area and a Bible Institute for training local pastors and national leaders. In addition, there is Day Care Center in a slum area in Asuncion, and a Vocational Center, an elementary school, and Agro-Mission in rural area of the country. Workers leading the churches include missionaries from Brazil, the United States, Korea and Paraguayan pastors and local preachers.
Paraguay is a unique country in South America, as its entire population maintained its native language. There are two official languages, Spanish, which was brought by Spanish settlers and Guarani, which is known as the ‘heart language’ of the people. There are also small groups of indigenous people with their own cultures and languages. The Methodist church maintains mission ministry in two tribes, the Toba Qon in the Chaco Paraguayan, and the Palomita in San Pedro Departamento. Besides reaching them out with the Good News of the Bible, social program have been developed in order to show them the love of God.
Church Membership: 1,025
Community Membership : 2,499
* includes the church’s reach in the community through educational institutions, outreach, clinics, etc.