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Autonomous Churches

Churches under the auspices of the British Conferences' overseas missions were organized, as at home, into circuits and districts. The Methodist Conference Act of 1876 provided for 'enabling the Yearly Conference of the People called Methodists to delegate or confer certain powers to or upon Conferences in Australasia and elsewhere and to confirm past acts in relation thereto'. As a result missionary Districts and Churches in France, Canada,Australasia and South(ern) Africa became Conferences in their own right - as American Methodism had been since 1784. A West Indian Conference (1884-1903) foundered and its Districts reverted to British jurisdiction until 1967. In 1947 the British Methodist Districts in South India became founder dioceses of the Church of South India. Between 1961 (Ghana) and 1996 (Portugal) thirteen autonomous Conferences and two united Churches (North India and Zambia) were established, leaving only two overseas Districts (The Gambia and Togo) under the authority of the British Conference (though with a large measure of de facto self-government). Togo became an autonomous church in 2000 and The Gambia in 2009.

Entry written by: JRP
Category: Subject

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