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United Methodist Church

Formed in 1907, the United Methodist Church in Britain was an amalgamation of the UMFC, the MNC and the BC Church and had a life of 25 years before merging in the Methodist Union of 1932. Though the UMFC membership outnumbered the other two, from the outset of negotiations committees were composed of equal numbers from each denomination. In spite of repeated earlier attempts to unite, it was not until the 1901 Ecumenical Methodist Conference that negotiations really began. These initially included the WM, the WR Union and the PM; the last withdrew for financial reasons, the other two because the proposed terms of union were unacceptable. In 1905 the WM made an approach to the MNC, to the dismay of Dr John S. Simon and others, but the MNC gently but firmly rejected the overture and the three negotiating Churches accepted the scheme by overwhelming votes. Providentially, of the first nine Presidents of the UM Conference, there were three from each of the three Churches.

In the short period of its existence, no attempt was made to undermine local customs or force local amalgamations. Circuit boundaries were left largely unaltered, and there was in any case only limited geographical overlap between the BCs and the other two bodies. In the spring of 1908 the newly united Church held a nation-wide mission in which 5,000 decisions were registered.

Note: The name ‘United Methodist Church’ also has a completely separate meaning, as the current title of the global church which developed out of the various strands of Methodism in America.

Sources

  • W.J. Townsend, The Story of Methodist Union [1906]
  • New History of Methodism (1909) 1 pp. 549-52
  • 'Historical Treasures of the Former United Methodist Church', in WHS Proceedings, 20 pp.39-42
  • George Eayrs, A Short History and Handbook of the United Methodist Church [1913]
  • H. Smith, J.E. Swallow and W. Treffry, The Story of the United Methodist Church (1932)
  • Albert Hearn, 'United Methodism in the Evolution of the Methodist Church', in WHS Proceedings, 27 pp.149-52
  • Robert Currie, Methodism Divided: a study in the Sociology of Ecumenicalism (1968), pp.155-6, 239-47
  • Oliver A. Beckerlegge, A Bibliography of the United Methodist Church (Westcliff-on-Sea, 1988)
  • A History of the Methodist Church in Great Britain, vol.4, 'Documents and Source Material' (1988), pp.622-6
  • R.F.S. Thorne, 'All Together Now: the United Methodist Church 1907-1932', in WHS Proceedings, 51, pp.73-95
  • For the United Methodist Church Act: New History of Methodism (1909) 2, Appendix E

Entry written by: OAB
Category: Denomination

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