History of Methodism
A worldwide church
The Methodist Church is a worldwide Christian Protestant Church. There are about 300,000 Methodists in the UK and over 6,000 churches/chapels. There are over 70 million Methodists worldwide and the Methodist Church is growing by a million members annually.
The Methodist Church grew out of the Methodist Movement which was part or the revival of the Anglican Church in the Eighteenth Century led by John Wesley, his brother Charles Wesley, and George Whitfield. All three men were Anglican priests. The Methodist Movement was very successful particularly among those who felt excluded from the Anglican Church in London, the Midlands, the North East of England and the South West of England. John Wesley was a great organiser, encouraging people to form local societies which would meet regularly for prayer and bible study. He encouraged the building of preaching houses where the societies could meet and provided support for them by appointing preachers to visit the societies on a regular basis.
Where does the name come from?
The name Methodist derives from a derisory nickname given to John Wesley and a group of friends at Oxford University who met regularly for Bible study, prayer and Holy Communion, as well as working among the underprivileged members of the community. Wesley encouraged people to embrace religion from the heart as this would make a real difference in how they lived their lives. By meeting together for worship, prayer and Bible study in a regular and methodical way.
What's so special about Methodists?
Methodists still seek to help all who seek for a spiritual meaning in life and to overcome the major social evils of human rights abuse, misuse of the Earth’s resources and Third World Debt. As followers of Jesus, Methodists seek to reduce poverty and suffering in the World and encourage their followers to get involved in local and national politics.
Four aims of Methodists
Methodism's activities, both alone and with ecumenical and secular partners, are based on four aims known as
• To increase awareness of God's presence and to celebrate God's love
• To help people to grow and learn as Christians through mutual support and care
• To be a good neighbour to people in need and to challenge injustice
• To make more followers of Jesus Christ.
Helen Share, 05/06/2012