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Who We Are

The people of The United Methodist Church are part of the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Our worldwide connection includes approximately 12.5 million members. 

The United Methodist Church was formed when the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged in 1968. But we trace our heritage back to the movement begun in 1729 in England by John and Charles Wesley. Find out more about our history.

Below, you will find a brief list of some of the distinctive characteristics of our denomination. The United Methodist Church is:

  • Global: Today we speak many languages and live in many countries—with different cultures, ethnic traditions, national histories and understandings of Christian faith and practice.
  • Connectional: Every United Methodist congregation is interconnected throughout the denomination via a unique, interlocking chain of conferences. The United Methodist Church practices representative democracy in its governance.  Conferences elect delegates who are authorized to act and vote. Learn more about our structure.
  • Inclusive: All persons are welcome to attend our churches and receive Holy Communion, and are eligible to be baptized and become members.
  • Grounded in Scripture: United Methodist trust free inquiry in matters of Christian doctrine. Our faith is guided by Scripture, tradition, experience and reason. Of paramount importance, however, is Scripture as the witness of God’s creating, redeeming and sustaining relationship with God’s people. Learn more about our basic beliefs.
  • Wesleyan: The United Methodist Church has a Wesleyan heritage, and as such, places an emphasis on mind and heart (knowledge and vital piety) and putting faith and love into practice (life). Find out more about our Wesleyan heritage.
  • Concerned about social justice: For more than 200 years, The United Methodist Church and its predecessor bodies have expressed concern for God’s children everywhere — the poor, the orphaned, the aging, the sick, the oppressed and the imprisoned. Learn more about our mission and ministry.
  • Mission-oriented: Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. In uncomplicated terms, this means we strive to nurture followers of Christ who then reach out and teach others about the love of Jesus. Find out about our mission around the world.
  • Ecumenical: United Methodists consider dialogue and missional cooperation between United Methodists and other Christians as a valid witness to the unity of the body of Christ.
    Learn about our ecumenical and interreligious relationships.
 
 

Organization

It is common to hear United Methodist leaders speak of the denomination as “the connection.” This concept is central to Methodism from its beginning. Read More

Structure

The church does not have a single headquarters or executive, but is governed by the General Conference, the Council of Bishops and the Judicial Council. Read More

Church History

Historic image H3185 image from the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History.

What is the story of The United Methodist Church? Learn more about how the denomination was born and the people and issues that shaped it. Read More

Administration

Darryl Barrows, Connectional Table member, receives communion from the Rev. Enrique Hernandez from the Tennessee Conference. The Connectional Table is meeting November 15-17 in Franklin, Tenn. A UMNS photo by Ginny Underwood.

The Connectional Table and the general agencies are created by the General Conference to administer or carry out the programs and directives it adopts. Read More