Our two churches are located in the Susquehanna Conference a Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church. Each year we have an annual conference where we conduct church business, celebrate ministry and honor pastors as they begin as well as end their journeys. In light of this, I thought I would share with you five “Did You Knows” about The United Methodist Church. I hope you enjoy them.
One. Did you know that in many ways The United Methodist Church began as a movement of a few college aged boys?
While at Oxford University in 1729, John Wesley and his brother Charles met regularly with a group of other students in what became known as The Holy Club. Their primary purpose was to help each other live out their faith. (From Christianity Today, “The Holy Club”)
Two. Did you know that The United Methodist Church first formed in Baltimore Maryland in 1784?
“In December 1784, the famous Christmas Conference of preachers was held in Baltimore at Lovely Lane Chapel to chart the future course of the movement in America. Most of the American preachers attended, probably including two African Americans, Harry Hosier and Richard Allen. It was at this gathering that the movement became organized as The Methodist Episcopal Church in America.” (From www.umc.org, “Who We Are”)
Three. Did you know there is no “The United Methodist Church”?
The United Methodist Church is a denomination that connects through its Discipline multiple boards, agencies, conferences and churches.
“The United Methodist Church does not have a central headquarters or a single executive leader. Duties are divided among bodies that include the General Conference, the Council of Bishops and the Judicial Council.” (From www.umc.org, “Structure“)
Four. Did you know that The United Methodist Church helped to reopen Dickinson College?
“Shortly after doors closed at Dickinson, the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal (now United Methodist) Church approached Dickinson’s trustees about reopening as a Methodist-affiliated college. Seeing the opportunity to continue operations, the existing Board of Trustees agreed to dissolve during its June 1833 meeting and handed over the keys to a newly constituted board. On June 7, 1833, the new board elected John Price Durbin as president of the college and chairman of the Board of Trustees.” (From Dickinson College’s website)
Five. Did you know that all United Methodists “own” the church property?
This was something new I learned at annual Conference last week. I, like many, have this understanding that the Conference owns the land. However, that is not correct. Each property is held in trust by the local church:
“All properties of United Methodist local churches and other United Methodist agencies and institutions are held, in trust, for the benefit of the entire denomination, and ownership and usage of church property is subject to the Discipline. This trust requirement is an essential element of the historic polity of The United Methodist Church or its predecessor denominations or communions and has been a part of the Discipline since 1797.” (From www.umc.org, “Trust Clause“)
Hopefully you enjoyed a few facts about The United Methodist Church. I know I only gave you a few, but if you follow the links above, there is a lot more for you to read there. You can even test your knowledge and learn even more facts by taking The United Methodist History Quiz.