Methodism comes from the teachings of John Wesley and his brother Charles (who wrote many of the hymns we sing today, among numerous other accomplishments). Methodism started as a disenchanted faction within the Church of England, but quickly spread to the colonies. Chief among early American methodists is Francis Asbury - he and John Wesley chaired the first conference of Methodist preachers in the colonies (Philadelphia, 1773).
The following links, from the Official United Methodist Website, explore the history of Methodism further:
- Roots, 1736-1816
- The Churches Grow, 1817-1843
- The Slavery Question and Civil War, 1844-1865
- Reconstruction, Prosperity, and New Issues, 1866-1913
- World War and More Change, 1914-1939
- Movement Toward Union, 1940-1967
- Developments and Changes Since 1968
The United Methodist Church was officially created on April 23, 1968 at the constituting General Conference in Dallas, Texas. Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke of The Methodist Church and Bishop Reuben H. Mueller of The Evangelical United Brethren Church proclaimed "Lord of the Church, we are united in Thee, in Thy Church and now in The United Methodist Church." The union of these two Protestant factions made sense, as they were both rooted in Wesleyanism and the Protestant Reformation, and shared common beliefs, structures, and relationships.