Lambuth Memorial United Methodist Church

1042 Hartsville Pike   Gallatin, TN   37066                                                                                                                          Office Phone 615-452-3715

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The  People  of The United Methodist Church

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Our History . . .

The United Methodist Church is the expression and hope of a rich tradition of spreading the gospel to every corner of human society. The Methodist movement, led by John and Charles Wesley, began in England after each of the brothers had transforming religious experiences that moved them to work for the renewal and revival of the Church of England. They took their message out of formal worship settings, directly to the people in the fields and streets. They formed small groups—many led by laypeople, both men and women—to nurture people in the Christian faith. Their message of personal experience of God’s love nurtured in faithful community through study, worship, and service found willing audiences among a broad range of people, from the elite to the poorest of the poor.

In the mid-1700s, the Methodist movement spread to the New World. Leadership included laymen and laywomen, both European Americans and African Americans. John Wesley sent lay preachers, including Francis Asbury, to America to strengthen the work of the movement. Wesley later sent Thomas Coke, an Anglican priest whom Wesley had ordained a superintendent (later called “bishop”), to oversee the American movement.

In 1784, at the famous “Christmas Conference” in Baltimore, Coke ordained Asbury a  superintendent and several others as deacons and presbyters. The Methodist Episcopal Church in America was born with an emphasis on strong discipline; ordained and lay preachers who traveled from town to town (circuit riders) to preach, teach, and spread the gospel through revivals and camp meetings; and a system of regular conferences to conduct the business of the church.

Two other churches were being formed in America about the same time as the Methodist Episcopal Church. Philip William Otterbein, a German Reformed pastor, and Martin Boehm, a Mennonite, preached about spreading the gospel (evangelism) and personal experience of the Holy Spirit. Their followers organized the Church of the United Brethren in Christ in 1800. Also at the turn of the nineteenth century, Jacob Albright, a Lutheran farmer who had ties to both the United Brethren and Methodist movements, took his message of evangelism and the ministry of all the people to German-speaking settlements in Pennsylvania. The Evangelical Association was formed by his followers. These two churches merged in 1946 to form the Evangelical United Brethren.

In 1939, three Methodist bodies (Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal South, and Methodist Protestant churches) merged to form The Methodist Church. The United Methodist Church is the result of the 1968 union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren.

Excerpts from The People of  The United Methodist Church, Copyright ã2010 Cokesbury. Used by  permission .