A Guide to Religions, Religious Information and Help in Search for God
The Christian Protestant religion of the Methodist Church has an estimated 9,000,000 to 13,500,000 followers or Methodists.
The Methodist Church is an offshoot of Church of England started by Reverend John Wesley (1703-1791),
his younger brother Charles Wesley, George Whitefield and some students at Oxford University between 1729-1735.
They developed a "methodical" approach to their Bible study and religious activities, that included helping the poor.
Hence, the name "Methodist".
The first Methodist church in England, founded in 1739, was actually a group formed by members
within the Church of England called "United Societies".
The first Methodist Church in the United States, called the "Methodist Episcopal Church",
was founded in Leesburg, Virginia on February 28, 1784.
George Whitefield adopted "Calvinistic" theology and his followers became known as Calvinistic Methodists.
Followers of Rev. John Wesley, who followed "Arminian" theology, became known as Wesleyan Methodists.
Later, many more divisions within Methodism occurred, as with most Protestant denominations and other religions.
Furthermore, some Methodist churches and divisions merged not only with other Methodist denominations,
but with other Protestant denominations. One example of this is the "United Methodist Church",
which was formed by the merger of "The Methodist Church" (under Lloyd C. Wicke, Bishop)
and "The Evangelical United Brethren Church" (under Reuben H. Mueller, Bishop) in Dallas, Texas on April 23, 1968.
The foundation scriptures of the Methodist Church include
the Holy Bible and Reverend John Wesley's sermons and notes on the New Testament.
Charles Wesley, considered a great hymn writer, wrote over 7,000 hymns.
Methodist churches use a hodgepodge type of governing system, that is much different from the "congregational" governing
system used by the Congregational, Baptist and other Protestant denominations.
Some people have termed it "connectional" or "hierarchal".
In the case of the United Methodist Church, the governing bodies include
the Council of Bishops, the General Conference, and the Judicial Council,
similar to the government of the United States of America,
which include the executive, legislature, and judicial branches.
With this of governing system, ministers and lay people for local churches are assigned by the bishops.
The General Conference meets every four years by lay people and clergy to vote on church law.
There are also other conferences to take care of administrative business.
There are over 100 Methodist educational institutions in the United States of America. This includes
Methodist universities and colleges.