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Formation of The United Methodist Church

 
Evangelical United Brethren Church Bishop Reuben H. Mueller (left) and Methodist Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke join hands on April 23, 1968. Photo courtesy of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History.

Evangelical United Brethren Church Bishop Reuben H. Mueller (left) and Methodist Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke join hands on April 23, 1968. Photo courtesy of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History.

On April 23, 1968, The United Methodist Church was created when Bishop Reuben H. Mueller, representing The Evangelical United Brethren Church, and Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke of The Methodist Church 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 was given birth by two churches that had distinguished histories and influential ministries in various parts of the world.

Theological traditions steeped in the Protestant Reformation and Wesleyanism and relationships that dated back almost two hundred years facilitated the union. 

Learn more about the denomination's 50th anniversary celebration.

Read more about the history of The United Methodist Church by year:

“The World is My Parish” is inscribed at the base of a statue of John Wesley located in the courtyard outside Wesley's Chapel and John Wesley's house at 49 City Road in London. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Roots (1736–1816)

The early days of The United Methodist Church in the U.S., began with the Wesley's missionary journey to America, and grew under Francis Asbury. Read More

Revival and Growth (1817–1843)

The Second Great Awakening was the dominant religious development among Protestants in America in the first half of the nineteenth century. Through revivals and camp meetings sinners were brought to an experience of conversion. Circuit riding preachers and lay pastors knit them into a connection. Read More

Division in America and Expansion Overseas (1844-1860)

John Wesley had been an ardent opponent of slavery. In 1789, the General Rules were officially adopted by American Methodism. A rule forbidding participation in slavery, which had not been deemed necessary in England, was included. But as Methodism expanded, that prohibition was relaxed or not enforced where slavery was legal. Because membership spanned regions, classes, and races, contention over slavery ultimately split Methodism into separate northern and southern churches. Read More

The Civil War to World War I (1860-1913)

Bitterness between northern and southern Methodists had intensified in the years leading to Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860 and then through the carnage of the Civil War. Each church claimed divine sanction for its region and prayed fervently for God’s will to be accomplished in victory for its side. Read More

The War Years of the Early 20th Century (1914-1945)

In the years prior to World War I, the Methodist Episcopal Church demonstrated its concern for social issues by adopting a Social Creed at its 1908 General Conference. Social problems were also a spur in the movement toward ecumenism and interchurch cooperation. Read More

Quest for Unity (1945–1968)

Although Methodists, Evangelicals, and United Brethren each had published strong statements condemning war and advocating peaceful reconciliation among the nations, the strength of their positions was largely lost with American involvement in the hostilities of World War II. Read More

a copy of the United Methodist Book of Discipline, photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

United Methodism as a World Church, 1968-

When The United Methodist Church was created in 1968, it had approximately 11 million members, making it one of the largest Protestant churches in the world. Read More