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Timeline of The United Methodist Church

 

The United Methodist Church was created on April 23, 1968, when the Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church merged at General Conference in Dallas, Texas.

A timeline of highlights of the journey of the new church includes notable events and actions of the church from 1968 to 2018.
 

 
Evangelical United Brethren Church Bishop Reuben H. Mueller (left) and Methodist Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke join hands on April 23, 1968, symbolizing the merger between the two denominations. 1968 file 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 at Uniting Conference 1968. Photo courtesy of Archives and History.
 

 

Bishop Abel T. Muzorewa says the time to win people to Christ is now during a celebration at the Old Mutare Mission in Zimbabwe in 2005. People gathered from all over Africa and the world to celebrate his 60 years of ministry and the launching of the Bishop A.T. Muzorewa Evangelism Foundation. Muzorewa died April 8, 2010. He was 84. A UMNS file photo by Kathy L. Gilbert.

Bishop Abel T. Muzorewa speaks at 2005 celebration in Zimbabwe honoring his 60 years of ministry. Muzorewa died in 2010. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert, UMNS.
 

 

The April 2018 cover art for Response magazine, a publication of United Methodist Women, originally called the United Methodist Church’s Women’s Division.

The April 2018 cover of Response magazine, a publication of United Methodist Women.
 

 
Freddie Bermudez (left), Francisco Nolla (center) and Angélica M. Rivera-Morales share a laugh during the 2012 MARCHA meeting in Lake Junaluska, N.C. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Freddie Bermudez (left), Francisco Nolla (center) and Angélica M. Rivera-Morales at 2012 MARCHA meeting. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.
 

 
Barbara Thompson speaks during the General Conference held in Portland in 1976. A UMNS file photo courtesy of The Commission on Archives and History. Accompanies UMNS story # 139. 3/9/10.

Barbara Thompson speaks during General Conference 1976. Thompson was elected the first president of General Commission on the Status and Role of Women in 1972. Photo courtesy of Archives and History. 
 

 

Long-time InfoServant Woodley McEachern works at her desk in 1978. Photo courtesy of United Methodist Communications. InfoServ began in 1974.

Long-time InfoServant Woodley McEachern works at her desk in 1978. Photo courtesy of United Methodist Communications. 
 

 

The Rev. Arturo “Artie” Cadar is a full-time local pastor recently appointed to lead CrossRoads United Methodist Church in Houston. CrossRoads was created by the merger of an aging, Anglo congregation and a younger, primarily Hispanic congregation founded by Cadar. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Arturo Cadar.

The Rev. Arturo “Artie” Cadar is a full-time local pastor appointed to lead CrossRoads United Methodist Church in Houston. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Arturo Cadar.

 

 

Marjorie Matthews (1916-1986) was the first woman elected bishop in 1980. Photo courtesy of Archives and History.

Marjorie Matthews (1916-1986) was the first woman elected bishop in 1980. Photo courtesy of Archives and History.

 

 

Bishop Elías Galván welcomes participants to the 2012 MARCHA meeting in Lake Junaluska, N.C. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Bishop Elías Galván welcomes participants to the 2012 MARCHA meeting. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

 

 

United Methodist Bishop Leontine Turpeau Current Kelly preaches during evening worship at the first reunion of the former Central Jurisdiction of the Methodist Church in College Park, Ga., in 2004. Kelly died at age 92 on June 28. A file photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS. Accompanies UMNS story #195. 6/28/12.

United Methodist Bishop Leontine Turpeau Current Kelly preaches at the first reunion of the former Central Jurisdiction of the Methodist Church in 2004. Kelly died in 2012. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

 

 

"Invitation to the Old Testament," a short-term Disciple Bible Study publication. Image courtesy of Cokesbury.

 

 

The Dining Hall at Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark. Photo by Jonathan B. Auerbach.

The Dining Hall at Colorado Chautauqua National Historic Landmark. Photo by Jonathan B. Auerbach.

 

 

The 20th anniversary celebration of Africa University, March 23, 2013. File photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS.

The 20th anniversary celebration of Africa University, March 23, in 2013. Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS.

 

 

United Methodist Bishop Ruediger R. Minor (center) serves communion during the opening worship of the United Methodist Church's 2004 General Conference in Pittsburgh. Bishop Minor died in 2017. A UMNS photo by John C. Goodwin..Photo number GC04038, 4/27/04

United Methodist Bishop Ruediger R. Minor (center) serves communion at General Conference 2004. Photo by John C. Goodwin, UMNS.

 

 

Jeff Cox (center) receives the Good Samaritan Award for his 9/11 Eagle Scout Project. To the left is Gil C. Hanke, top staff executive with United Methodist Men and Larry Coppock, director and contributing editor of Strength for Service, Inc. The Award ceremony was held during the July 12-14, 2013 United Methodist Men’s 11th national gathering held in Nashville, Tenn. at Belmont University. Photo by Bob Vogt.

Jeff Cox (center) receives the Good Samaritan Award for his 9/11 Eagle Scout Project. Presenting the award are Gil C. Hanke (left) and Larry Coppock for United Methodist Men. Photo by Bob Vogt.

 

 

“Mil Voces Para Celebrar” is a Spanish-language hymnal. Photo courtesy of Cokesbury.

“Mil Voces Para Celebrar” is a Spanish-language hymnal. Photo courtesy of Cokesbury.

 

 

Children sang and read scripture behind large letters spelling out Jesus as part of the celebration of placing the cornerstone for Casa de Paz United Methodist Church, San Pedro Sula, Honduras, 2017. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert.

Children participate in the celebration of placing the cornerstone for Casa de Paz United Methodist Church, San Pedro Sula, Honduras, 2017. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert.

 

 

Protestors in support of LGBTQ clergy line the entryway to the 2016 United Methodist General Conference May 18 in Portland, Ore. Many wore or carried clergy stoles of defrocked clergy. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Supporters of LGBTQ clergy line the entryway to the 2016 General Conference. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

 

 

A 45-foot-high billboard in the Wall Street district of Manhattan, just two blocks from ground zero, is offering passersby a word of encouragement from United Methodists. Erected Nov. 29, the billboard is part of a major national

United Methodist Communications’ billboard in Manhattan, two blocks from ground zero. Photo by John C. Goodwin, UMNS.

 

 

Two women sing from the Korean hymnal. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Two women sing from the Korean hymnal. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

 

 

Delegates to the Global Young People's Convocation find rewards in the Philippines, despite disruptions from a typhoon. From left to right, Paola Ferro, Katie Rasmussen and Edward White, all from the Florida Conference. Photos from Rich Rasmussen. Courtesy of the Florida Annual Conference.

2014 delegates to Global Young People's Convocation in Philippines. Photo courtesy Rich Rasmussen, the Florida Annual Conference.

 

 

Phoenix Area Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño preaches during morning worship on April 27 at the 2008 United Methodist General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Paul Jeffrey, UMNS.

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño preaches during morning worship at GC 2008. Photo by Paul Jeffrey, UMNS. 

 

 

Bishop Rosemarie Wenner (left) of the Germany Area receives roses from Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Philadelphia Area following the

Bishop Rosemarie Wenner (left) receives roses from Bishop Peggy Johnson after a "passing of the gavel." Photo by Kathleen Barry, UMNS. 

 

 

Matilda Ndanema displays the insecticide-treated mosquito net she received from the United Methodist Church's Imagine No Malaria campaign in 2010 at her home in Bumpe, near Bo, Sierra Leone. The insecticide is nearing the end of its useful life and several villages in the Bo district will receive new nets from the campaign in the first planned redistribution to replace the nets given in 2010. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Matilda Ndanema displays insecticide-treated mosquito net she received from the Imagine No Malaria campaign. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS. 

 

 

Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala helps lead a worship service sponsored by the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women during the 2016 United Methodist General Conference in Portland, Ore. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala helps lead a worship service during the 2016 General Conference. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

 

 

Many neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, remain devastated, nearly one year after a deadly earthquake struck in January 2010. Recovery in Haiti has no parallel for the United Methodist Committee on Relief and other aid agencies. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

Many neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, remain devastated, a year after a deadly earthquake struck in 2010. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

 

 

The Rev. George Tinker preaches during an April 27

The Rev. George Tinker preaches "Act of Repentance" at 2012 General Conference. Photo by Paul Jeffrey, UMNS.

 

 

A young boy leaves a food distribution by the United Methodist Committee on Relief carrying food for his family following Typhoon Haiyan in Dagami, Philippines. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

A young boy leaves a food distribution by UMCOR carrying food for his family following Typhoon Haiyan in Dagami, Philippines. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

 

 

Edward L. Massaquoi broadcasts on ELUM, The United Methodist Church's radio station in Monrovia, Liberia. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Edward L. Massaquoi broadcasts on ELUM, The United Methodist Church's radio station in Monrovia, Liberia. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

 

 

United Methodist Bishop Karen Oliveto says goodbye to her Glide Memorial United Methodist Church family after eight years as their pastor on Aug. 14. She was elected bishop by the Western Jurisdiction in July and is appointed to the Mountain Sky Area. Photo by Alain McLaughlin Photography Inc.

United Methodist Bishop Karen Oliveto says goodbye to Glide Memorial United Methodist Church family after being elected bishop in 2016. Photo by Alain McLaughlin Photography Inc.

 

 

Performers with the Nanumteo Dance Company offer an act of praise, “Peace Be With You,” at the March 23 dedication service for the new Asia regional office of United Methodist Global Ministries. In addition to the Korean dancers, the service included a Japanese musician and a Filipino music and dance ensemble. Photo by Jacob Lee, UMNS.

Dancers performs at 2017 dedication service for new Asia regional office of United Methodist Global Ministries. Photo by Jacob Lee, UMNS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1968

1969

  • Methodist churches in Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Malaysia-Singapore and Pakistan become autonomous.
  • United Methodist Church’s Women’s Division begins publishing Response magazine.
     

1970

  • Because of political developments in East and West Germany, two central conferences were created to serve United Methodists there.
  • A special session of the General Conference completes the work of organizing The United Methodist Church.

1971

  • MARCHA (Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans), one of the denomination’s five U.S.-based racial-ethnic caucuses, is formed.

1972

  • The newly adopted United Methodist Social Principles includes the first statement on homosexuality and recognizes divorce and the right of divorced people to remarry. The decades-long church debate on homosexuality begins. In The Book of Discipline, the sentence, “We do not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider it incompatible with Christian teaching,” is added to the phrase, “Persons of homosexual orientation are persons of sacred worth.” The Discipline also makes the first reference to homosexual unions: “We do not recommend marriage between two persons of the same sex.”
  • The Western Jurisdiction elects the Rev. Wilbur W. Y. Choy as the first Asian-American bishop.
  • ​The Black College Fund is established to minister to individuals underserved by the U.S. system of higher education.
  • The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women and the General Council on Finance and Administration are created. 
  • Reorganized church agencies form four general boards: Church and Society, Discipleship, Global Ministries and Higher Education and Ministry. Three agencies are combined to form United Methodist Communications.

1973

  • The women’s organizations in The United Methodist Church merge to form one inclusive organization with the name “United Methodist Women.”

1974

  • Garrett Theological Seminary (Methodist Church) and the Evangelical Theological Seminary (EUB) merge into Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
  • InfoServ, the official United Methodist information service, launches.

1975

  • The United Methodist Gay Caucus organizes in Evanston, Illinois.

1976

  • The first 10 clergywomen delegates are elected to the United Methodist General Conference.
  • A new category of “local pastor” is created for people who are not ordained. They are authorized to administer the sacraments within their church or churches.
  • The HANA Scholars program is established to assist Hispanic, Asian, Native American and Pacific Islander students.
  • The Ethnic Minority Local Church emphasis begins.

1977

  • The Foundation for Theological Education is created to assist clergy doctoral studies.
  • The Upper Room Living Prayer Center opens.

1980

  • The North Central Jurisdiction elects the Rev. Marjorie Swank Matthews as the first woman bishop.
  • Autonomous churches in Sierra Leone and Nigeria join The United Methodist Church. General Conference then authorizes the creation of a West Africa Central Conference, comprising Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
  • The Methodist Church in India becomes an affiliated autonomous church.
  • The General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns is established.
  • General Conference grants voting rights to delegates from the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.
  • The General Conference fails to add the phrase “no self-avowed, practicing homosexual therefore shall be ordained or appointed in The United Methodist Church” to the Discipline. The conference notes the denomination “has moved away from prohibitions of specific acts, for such prohibitions can be endless.”

1984

1986

  • United Methodist bishops issue the “In Defense of Creation” letter opposing nuclear weapons.

1987

  • The United Methodist Publishing House launches the Disciple Bible Study.

1988

  • General Conference adopts The United Methodist Hymnal.
  • Delegates approve the establishment of Africa University in Zimbabwe.
  • General Conference approves a study of homosexuality to report to the 1992 General Conference.

1989

  • The Chautauqua (New York) Institution, founded in 1874 as a teaching camp for Sunday school teachers, is designated a National Historic Landmark.

1990

  • Fifty women serve as district superintendents in The United Methodist Church.
  • The first issue of the Korean-language magazine, United Methodist Family, is published.

1992

  • Africa University opens with 40 students from six African countries.
  • General Conference creates the Communities of Shalom initiative in response to the Los Angeles riots.
  • The United Methodist Book of Worship is authorized.
  • General Conference approves the creation of the Congo (formerly Zaire) Central Conference.
  • After the political reunification of Germany, two central conferences reunite into the Germany Central Conference.
  • The Council of Bishops appoints Bishop Ruediger R. Minor from the former German Democratic Republic to oversee the rebirth of Methodist presence in the former Soviet Union.
  • The Methodist Church in Russia is formally re-established when the First United Methodist Church in Moscow and the First United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg are legally registered.

1995

1996

  • “By Water and the Spirit,” the official statement on baptism, is adopted.
  • The Rev. Minerva G. Carcaño is elected the first Hispanic clergywoman delegate to General Conference.
  • Two separate, distinct orders of clergy – elders and deacons – are created.
  • The General Commission on United Methodist Men is created as a separate agency.
  • Disability Awareness Sunday is introduced as a designated churchwide special Sunday.
  • General Conference adds three significant points to the church's position on homosexuality: a footnote defining “self-avowed practicing homosexual,” a declaration that ceremonies to celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by United Methodist clergy or in United Methodist churches and a call for the U.S. military not to exclude people from service “solely on the basis of sexual orientation.”
  • Bishops launch an Episcopal Initiative on Children and Poverty.
  • The United Methodist Student Movement is established.
  • The United Methodist Publishing House produces official Spanish-language hymnal, Mil Voces Para Celebrar.

1997

1998

  • The Philippines marks 100 years of Methodism on the anniversary of the first Methodist service by the Americans in Manila.

2000

  • Igniting Ministry, the first multifaceted national welcoming and advertising campaign, is launched.
  • Find-A-Church, an online directory of churches, debuts.
  • General Conference delegates participate in an act of repentance, confessing the sin of racism that has caused major divisions among American Methodists.
  • General Conference votes to add to the Social Principles the language, “We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn their lesbian and gay members and friends.”
  • The Fund for Theological Education in Post-Communist Europe is created to support United Methodist clergy training.
  • The United Methodist Church opens the Baltic Mission Center in Tallinn, Estonia, for training church leaders from the former Soviet Union.
  • The Puerto Rico Methodist Church becomes fully autonomous.
  • The United Methodist Publishing House produces the songbook, The Faith We Sing.

2001

  • After the 9/11 attack in the U.S., United Methodist Communications sponsors a billboard near ground zero. Offering support and reassurance, it features an image of praying hands and a simple statement: “Fear is not the only force at work in the world today.” More than 600,000 people see the billboard every day of its three-month presence.
  • By Nov. 30, the United Methodist Committee on Relief receives a total of $22.3 million through general Advance specials. This includes “Love in the Midst of Tragedy,” the church’s special offering in response to the Sept. 11 attacks.
  • The Judicial Council rules that the central conferences have jurisdiction over adaptations of the Discipline except for matters protected by The United Methodist Church constitution.
  • Come, Let Us Worship, an official bilingual Korean-English hymnal of The United Methodist Church, is published.

2002

  • Boris Trajkovski, president of Macedonia and a United Methodist, receives the World Methodist Peace Award.

2003

  • The 300th anniversary of John Wesley’s birth is celebrated.
  • Korean-American United Methodists celebrate 100 years since their first worship gatherings in Hawaii.

2004

  • General Conference adopts This Holy Mystery as the denomination’s official statement on Communion.
  • The General Council on Ministries is eliminated and the Connectional Table is formed.
  • The United Methodist Church Global AIDS Fund is started with the goal of raising $8 million by 2008 to address the worldwide pandemic.
  • The Global Education Fund is created to assist 748 Methodist schools, colleges, universities and seminaries in 69 countries.
  • General Conference approves the Central Conference Pension Initiative.
  • The Division on Ministries with Young People is begun.
  • The Western Jurisdiction elects the Rev. Minerva G. Carcaño as the first female HIspanic bishop.
  • Chargeable offenses related to homosexuality are added to the Discipline.
  • Delegates endorse “A Resolution on Church Unity.”
  • The first United Methodist congregation is established in Mongolia.

2005

2006

  • The United Methodist Church is a founding partner of the Nothing But Nets initiative, an effort to fund and distribute insecticide-treated bed nets in Africa to prevent malaria.

2008

  • The Protestant Methodist Church of Côte d’Ivoire is received into full membership in The United Methodist Church with the Rev. Benjamin Boni as bishop.
  • The Rev. Joaquina Filipe Nhanala is elected the first female United Methodist bishop in Africa.
  • General Conference celebrates full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
  • General Conference celebrates the 100th anniversary of men’s ministry.
  • The Advance, the mission fundraising arm of the church, celebrates 60 years.
  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Liberian president and a United Methodist, addresses General Conference. She is first African leader and first female president to do so.

2009

2010

  • A 7.0 earthquake in Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, left more than 200,000 dead — including mission agency leaders the Revs. Sam Dixon and Clinton Rabb. Some $45 million in donations to the United Methodist Committee on Relief supported the church’s long-term response to the disaster.
  • Imagine No Malaria expands on the Nothing But Nets initiative to help eliminate malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.

2012

  • General Conference celebrates full communion with five historically black Methodist denominations.
  • General Conference participates in “An Act of Repentance toward Healing Relationships with Indigenous Peoples.”
  • General Conference delegates vote to make United Methodist Women a separate organization rather than a part of the Board of Global Ministries.
  • General Conference delegates authorize a fourth episcopal area for the Congo Central Conference to accommodate church growth in that region.

2013

2014

  • The United Methodist Church is a leader in responding to the worst Ebola outbreak in history, providing accurate information about the outbreak and how to avoid the disease as well as direct relief in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

2015

  • The United Methodist Radio Network of Africa, formed by the directors of the denomination’s four radio stations in Angola, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia, shares content in French, English and Portuguese.

2016

2017

2018