The Methodist denomination from United States adopted the name Methodist Church by the reunion of northern and southern factions of the Evangelical United Brethren church with the Methodist protestant church in the year 1939. The Methodist church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren church in 1968 to form the United Methodist Church. It is the largest Methodist denomination. In United States it ranks as the largest main line church tracing its main roots to the Methodist movement “The Holy Club”. It grew rapidly in the young country as it employed circuit riders, many of whom were laymen, to travel the mostly rural nation by horseback to preach the Gospel and to establish churches until there was scarcely any village in the United States without a Methodist presence. It became the largest Protestant denomination in the country, with approximately 4000 circuit riders by 1844.
The two general conferences, or the northern section and the South remained separated until the 1939 merger of these two denominations plus a third, The Methodist Protestant Church, the resulting church being known as The Methodist church. On April 23, 1968, The United Methodist Church was created which joined hands at the constituting General Conference in Dallas, Texas. With the words,
“Lord of the Church, we are united in Thee, in Thy Church and now in The United Methodist Church,”
The new denomination had influential ministries in various parts of the world. The church is decentralized with the General Conference being the official governing body. The General Conference being the legislative branch of the church that would make all the decisions. Council of Bishops being the executive branch consisting of all active and retired bishops that would meet twice a year to speak to the church and from the church to the world, and to give leadership in the quest for Christian unity and interreligious relationships. The present would serve a two year term and would have no official authority beyond presiding. The Judicial Council or the judicial branch consisting of nine persons to rule on questions of constitutionality in church law and practice.
The United Methodist Church is a Protestant denomination which seeks to create disciples for Christ through outreach, evangelism, and through seeking holiness through the process of sanctification. With the focus on triune worship, the Church seeks to bring honor to God by following model of Jesus Christ, which is made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit. The flame in the church logo represents the work of the Holy Spirit in the world, which is seen in believers through the spiritual gifts. The two parts of the flame represent the predecessor denominations, the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren, and are united at the base symbolizing the 1968 merger.
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