World Methodist Council

The World Methodist Council (WMC), founded in 1881, is a consultative body and association of churches in the Methodist tradition. It comprises 80 member denominations in 138 countries which together represent about 80 million people.[1]

Affiliated organizations are the World Fellowship of Methodist and Uniting Churches, the Oxford-Institute of Methodist Theological Studies, the World Methodist Historical Society, World Council of Confederation of Methodist Youth, the World Council of Methodist Men, World Methodist Council of Teens, the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women and The General Commission on Archives and History.

World-methodist-council-logo
Official WMC logo

Organization

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World Methodist Council headquarters at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, containing a museum of Methodism and a small park, the Susannah Wesley Herb Garden

The highest organ of the World Methodist Council is the World Methodist Conference meeting every five years. The next Conference will be in Sweden in 2021.[2]

The 21st Conference was held in 2016 in Houston, Texas in the United States. The theme was “ONE.” Organized around four sub themes – One God, One Faith, One People, One Mission.[3]

The 2011 conference, gathered under the theme "Jesus Christ - for the Healing of the Nations", was held in August 2011 in Durban, South Africa.[4] On 24 July 2006, Sunday Mbang stepped down as chairperson of the council and John Barrett took over his position as well as elected president for the council.[5]

In 2006, it formally approved the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.

The World Methodist Council has offices in: Lake Junaluska, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; New York City; and Atlanta, Georgia.

Current officers are:

  • General secretary: Bishop Ivan M. Abrahams
  • President: Bishop Paulo Lockmann
  • Vice-President: Gillian Kingston
  • Treasurer: Kirby Hickey Jr.
  • Youth and young adult coordinator: John Thomas III

Activities

Continuous activities

The World Methodist Council has eight standing committees:

  • Ecumenics and Dialogue is engaged in ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran World Federation, the Salvation Army and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. It is also working towards a dialogue with the Orthodox Church and with the Pentecostal Churches.
  • Education is concerned with education in churches and with Methodist educational institutions. It has organized an international Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges, and Universities promoting quality and value-centered education. The association links representatives from over 700 Methodist related schools and colleges all over the world.
  • Evangelism is coordinating worldwide evangelism efforts of Methodist churches
  • Family Life is concerned with applying Christian values to issues like relationships in marriage, rights of children, rights of the aged, prevalence of violence and changing roles of women and men in society;
  • Social and International Affairs is focusing currently on economic justice or injustice. It has worked out the World Methodist Social Affirmation which was approved in 1986 and is part of the literature of several Methodist denominations.
  • Theological Education focuses on training for ministry based on basic Christian beliefs and distinctive emphases from the Wesleyan tradition.
  • Worship and Liturgy encourages the study of liturgy and forms of worship, especially issues as language and culture, corporate and private worship, music and liturgy, cultural influences, and balancing Christian tradition with local emphasis. Develops hymnals and resources.
  • Youth and Young Adults focuses on empowering young people, taking its motto from 1st Timothy 4;12 and Ephesians 4:12-13: "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set and example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ."

Peace award

The World Methodist Peace Award is the highest honor bestowed by Methodists around the world. Since 1977, it is given annually by the World Methodist Council.

This award is given to individuals or groups "who have made significant contributions to peace, reconciliation and justice", considering courage, creativity and consistency in awarding it.

Recipients of the World Methodist Peace Award include: Habitat for Humanity International, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Boris Trajkovski, former President of Macedonia; the Community of Sant'Egidio in Rome, and the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina.

Evangelism institute

One ministry of the World Methodist Council is the World Methodist Evangelism Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. It is an educational institution committed to the task of world evangelization and connected to a major university, Candler School of Theology, Emory University.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Member Churches". Worldmethodistcouncil.org. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Coming to Sweden in 2021". The World Methodist Conference. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Press and Media - About the 21st World Methodist Conference (past)". The World Methodist Conference. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  4. ^ 2011 World Methodist Conference
  5. ^ World Methodist Council elects Barrett as chairperson

External links

Chinese Methodist Church in Australia

The Chinese Methodist Church in Australia is based in Melbourne.

The theology of the Church is in line with Methodism worldwide. It is Wesleyan in theology and its liturgy contains both traditional and contemporary services. In 2018 there were 27 churches / mission centres in Australia. The Church is actively involved in discipleship and mission works.

The Church was started by members from the Methodist Churches of Malaysia and Singapore who were either sent to Australia or emigrated there. It is found in all the major cities of Australia.

It was originally known as the Methodist Church in Australia but disagreement rose over its name with the Uniting Church in Australia, with the latter refusing to allow its entry into the World Methodist Council. To solve this disagreement, the name was changed to the Chinese Methodist Church in Australia and after the Uniting Church in Australia dropped its veto, it was subsequently welcomed into the World Methodist Council.

The first bishop was the Reverend, Dr. James Ha, who was elected to office on 28 November 2002, when the Annual Conference was officially formed. The second bishop was the Reverend, Dr. Albert Chiew, who was elected to the office on 28 November 2006. On 25 November 2010, the Reverend Dr. James Kwang was elected as the third bishop; he was re-elected on 27 November 2014. On the 23 November 2018, Rev. Dr. Albert Wong was elected as the fourth Bishop. The outgoing Bishop after serving two terms step aside for the election of the new Bishop. Bishop Dr. James Kwang was conferred Bishop Emeritus by the Annual Conference on the same day.

Church of Pakistan

The Church of Pakistan is a united church in Pakistan, which is part of the Anglican Communion and a member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the World Methodist Council.

Along with the Church of North India, the Church of Pakistan is a successor of the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon (CIPBC), which was earlier known as the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon (CIBC).

Elder (Methodist)

An Elder, in many Methodist Churches, is ordained minister that has the responsibilities to preach and teach, preside at the celebration of the sacraments, administer the Church through pastoral guidance, and lead the congregations under their care in service ministry to the world.

The office of elder, then, is what most people tend to think of as the pastoral, priestly, clergy office within the church. In some of the denominations within Methodism that use the title, ordination to this office is open to both men and women, including the United Methodist Church, Free Methodist Church, Bible Methodist Connection of Churches, and Evangelical Methodist Church. In other denominations such as the Primitive Methodist Church, Evangelical Methodist Church of America, Fundamental Methodist Conference, Evangelical Wesleyan Church, and Southern Methodist Church, only men are ordained as elders.Methodist denominations that have "a threefold ministry of deacons, elders, and bishops" include the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Free Methodist Church and the United Methodist Church, among other denominations represented in the World Methodist Council.

Homosexuality and Methodism

Methodist viewpoints concerning homosexuality are diverse because there is no one denomination which represents all Methodists. The World Methodist Council, which represents most Methodist denominations, has no official statements regarding sexuality. British Methodism holds a variety of views, and permits ministers to bless same-gender marriages. American Methodism concentrates on the position that the same-sex relations are incompatible with "Christian teaching", but extends ministry to persons of a homosexual orientation, holding that all individuals are of sacred worth. The following denominations are members of the World Methodist Council.

John C. A. Barrett

Rev Dr John Charles Allanson Barrett (born 1943) is an English Methodist and chairman and elected president of the World Methodist Council, succeeding Nigerian Sunday Mbang at the World Methodist Conference in Seoul on 24 July 2006. Before stepping down in 2009 after five years as the first Principal of the international Anglo-Chinese School in Singapore, Barrett had a long career as an educationalist.

Barrett was educated at Culford School from 1951–61, Newcastle University (B.A. (Hons), Economics) and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge (M.A., Theology). He completed his ministerial training at Wesley House, Cambridge and was later awarded an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Florida for his Methodism.

Barrett served as a circuit minister from 1971–73, then from 1973-83 was Chaplain to Kingswood School, Bath. In 1983, he became headmaster of Kent College, Pembury, before moving as headmaster to The Leys School in 1990, where he stayed for 14 years before retiring (and subsequently coming out of retirement to lead the Anglo-Chinese School.) At various points he also taught at Westminster College, Oxford, Wesley College, Bristol and Birches Head High School.He is married to Sally, who was also on the staff of Kingswood School.

Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification

The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) is a document created and agreed to by the Catholic Church's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) and the Lutheran World Federation in 1999 as a result of extensive ecumenical dialogue. It states that the churches now share "a common understanding of our justification by God's grace through faith in Christ." To the parties involved, this essentially resolves the 500-year-old conflict over the nature of justification which was at the root of the Protestant Reformation. The World Methodist Council adopted the Declaration on 18 July 2006. The World Communion of Reformed Churches (representing the "80 million members of Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed, United, Uniting, and Waldensian churches"), adopted the Declaration in 2017.In substance, the PCPCU and the Lutheran World Federation acknowledge in the declaration that the excommunications relating to the doctrine of justification set forth by the Council of Trent do not apply to the teachings of the Lutheran churches set forth in the text; likewise, the churches acknowledged that the condemnations set forth in the Lutheran Confessions do not apply to the Catholic teachings on justification set forth in the document.

Support for the joint declaration was not universal among Lutherans. Of the 124 members of the Lutheran World Federation, 35 cast votes against JDDJ; these included many churches who are also members of the International Lutheran Council. Member churches of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference even stated that "JDDJ...should be repudiated by all Lutherans."Some Catholics have raised other objections. Some contend that the Lutheran signers do not have the required authority to represent their communities (since, from a Catholic perspective, they are not full churches) and, therefore, that no Lutheran can make the agreement binding on the constituents of the Lutheran World Federation. The final paragraph of the Annex to the Official Common Statement, however, settles this matter.Other Catholics object to the statement itself, arguing that it is out of line with the Council of Trent but the document is clear that it is not negating or contradicting any statements from Trent, rather it is arguing for the non-applicability of its canons to concrete Christian bodies in the modern world. The document was approved by the Vatican under the auspices of the PCPCU, which was established by Pope John XXIII at the Second Vatican Council and is headed by a Catholic bishop; thus, the declaration is (at least) an exercise of the ordinary magisterium of the episcopally consecrated individuals who authorized the statement. A clarification was issued jointly by the PCPCU and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is also an exercise of the ordinary magisterium.

On 18 July 2006, the World Methodist Council, meeting in Seoul, South Korea, voted unanimously to adopt the document.The leadership of the World Communion of Reformed Churches—representing 80 million members of Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed, United, Uniting and Waldensian churches—also signed the document and formally associated with it at an ecumenical prayer service on 5 July 2017.In 1986 the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) produced a statement Salvation and the Church, which observed that the two Communions are agreed on the essential aspects of the doctrine of salvation and on the Church’s role within it. Consequently, Anglican Consultative Council Resolution 16.17 "welcomes and affirms the substance of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ), signed by Lutherans and Roman Catholics in 1999."

List of Methodist denominations

This is a list of Methodist denominations including those affiliated with the World Methodist Council, as well as those which are not, the latter of which have been indicated with an asterisk. The denominations' relative sizes are not evident from this list. The list may not be comprehensive, but intends to be an accessible overview of the diversity and global scope of contemporary Methodism.

This list also includes some united and uniting churches with Methodist participation. Some denominations may not have an exclusively Wesleyan heritage.

Maxie Dunnam

Maxie D. Dunnam is President Emeritus of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, where he also served as president from 1994 through 2004. Widely known as an evangelist, leader, and pioneer in small-group ministries, he organized and pastored three United Methodist churches before becoming the world editor of the Upper Room Fellowship. He created the Upper Room Cursillo that later became the Walk to Emmaus.

He was born in Deemer, Mississippi. He was educated at the University of Southern Mississippi and gained a B.Sc. in 1955 then a M.Th. from Emory University in 1958. In 1977 he was conferred a D.D. from Asbury Theological Seminary.Dunnam served twelve fruitful years as senior minister of the six-thousand-member Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. His tenure at Christ Church was marked by a commitment to evangelism, inner-city ministries, housing for the working poor, outreach to the recovering community, and innovative worship.

Dunnam’s extensive pastoral experience includes church planting, rural churches, and suburban and regional congregations in Mississippi, Georgia, California, and Tennessee. He has served as president of the World Methodist Council and is currently on its Executive Committee. He also served as chairman of the Methodist World Evangelism Committee. He is a director of the Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church and a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Theological Schools. He is recognized throughout Methodism for his commitment to evangelism and renewal. He, along with many other visionaries within the church, were influenced by the teachings and leadership of the Rev. Sam S. Barefield, Jr, Wesley Foundation Director at Mississippi Southern from 1950 - 1957.

In 1989 he was inducted into the Foundation for Evangelism’s Hall of Fame. In 1992, he was awarded the Chair of Distinction by the World Methodist Council, and the following year received the Philip Award for Distinguished Service in Evangelism.Dr. Dunnam has authored more than forty books, most notably The Workbook of Living Prayer, which sold over one million copies, Alive in Christ, This Is Christianity, and two volumes in The Communicator’s Commentary series. He is also well known for his radio series "Perceptions." Dunnam is one of the founders and leaders of the Confessing Movement within the United Methodist Church.

Methodism

Methodism, also known as the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations of Protestant Christianity which derive their inspiration from the life and teachings of John Wesley. George Whitefield and John's brother Charles Wesley were also significant early leaders in the movement. It originated as a revival movement within the 18th-century Church of England and became a separate denomination after Wesley's death. The movement spread throughout the British Empire, the United States, and beyond because of vigorous missionary work, today claiming approximately 80 million adherents worldwide.Wesley's theology focused on sanctification and the effect of faith on the character of a Christian. Distinguishing Methodist doctrines include the new birth, an assurance of salvation, imparted righteousness, the possibility of perfection in love, the works of piety, and the primacy of Scripture. Most Methodists teach that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for all of humanity and that salvation is available for all; in theology, this view is known as Arminianism. This teaching rejects the Calvinist position that God has pre-ordained the salvation of a select group of people. However, Whitefield and several other early leaders of the movement were considered Calvinistic Methodists and held to the Calvinist position. Methodism emphasises charity and support for the sick, the poor, and the afflicted through the works of mercy. These ideals are put into practice by the establishment of hospitals, orphanages, soup kitchens, and schools to follow Christ's command to spread the gospel and serve all people.The movement has a wide variety of forms of worship, ranging from high church to low church in liturgical usage. Denominations that descend from the British Methodist tradition are generally less ritualistic, while American Methodism is more so, the United Methodist Church in particular. Methodism is known for its rich musical tradition, and Charles Wesley was instrumental in writing much of the hymnody of the Methodist Church.Early Methodists were drawn from all levels of society, including the aristocracy, but the Methodist preachers took the message to labourers and criminals who tended to be left outside organised religion at that time. In Britain, the Methodist Church had a major effect in the early decades of the developing working class (1760–1820). In the United States, it became the religion of many slaves who later formed black churches in the Methodist tradition.

Methodist Church in Sri Lanka

The Methodist Church of Sri Lanka (Sinhala: ශ්‍රි ලංකා මෙතොදිස්ත සභාව Sri Lanka Methodista Sabhava) and in (Tamil language: இலங்கை மெதடிஸ்த திருச்சபை Illangai Methadistha Thiruchabai) is a Protestant Christian denomination in Sri Lanka. Its Headquarters is in Colombo and was established on 29 June 1814. It is a member of the World Council of Churches, the Christian Conference of Asia, the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka and the World Methodist Council.

Methodist Church of New Zealand

The Methodist Church of New Zealand (Māori: Te Hāhi Weteriana O Aotearoa) is a Methodist denomination headquartered in Christchurch, New Zealand. It is a member of the World Methodist Council.The Methodist movement was started by John Wesley, an 18th century English Anglican minister. Methodist missionaries were among the earliest Europeans to come to New Zealand. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Methodist Church, with its emphasis on personal salvation and social responsibility, played an important part in the temperance movement and other moral debates.

Writer and social reformer Percy Paris became president of the Methodist conference in 1938.Since the early 1900s the proportion of New Zealanders who are Methodist has declined from 10% to a reported 2.6% in the 2013 census. In its 1983 conference the church made a conscious decision to work towards inclusion of all ethnicities and cultures. Today the Methodist Church of New Zealand has an estimated 18,548 members. The denomination is supportive of women ministers and clergy in same-sex unions. In 2013, when same-sex marriage was legalized in New Zealand, congregations that opted to do so were able to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Methodist Church of Southern Africa

The Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) is a large Wesleyan Methodist denomination, with local churches across South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and a more limited presence in Mozambique. It is a member church of the World Methodist Council.

The church is the largest Mainline Protestant denomination in South Africa – 7.3% of the South African population recorded their religious affiliation as 'Methodist' in the last national census. The denomination has nearly 2 million members.

Methodist Evangelical Church in Italy

The Methodist Evangelical Church in Italy (Italian: Chiese Evangelica Metodista in Italia), known also as Italian Methodist Church (Chiese Metodista Italiana), was a Protestant church in the Methodist tradition active in Italy until it merged with the historical Waldensian Evangelical Church to form the Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches. As such, it was part of the World Methodist Council.

The first Italian Methodist churches were founded by British and American missionaries in the 19th century. The missionary work became difficult during the Fascist regime, but finally in 1946 the Methodist Evangelical Church of Italy was born as a district of the Annual Conference of the Methodist Church of Great Britain. In 1962 the Methodist Church became fully independent and its structure was organized with a non-episcopal congregationalist polity.In 1975 the Methodist Church was united with the Waldensian Evangelical Church, resulting in the Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches. The two churches have since been one church, governed by one synod, but they have maintained their own identity, ecumenical relations, administration and projects. In fact, contextually with the formation of the Union, the Action for the Methodist Evangelical Churches in Italy (Opera per le Chiese Evangeliche Metodiste in Italia) was established in order to maintain ecumenical relations and those with world Methodism, administer Methodist properties such as churches, and finance the work of pastors and deacons.As of today, the Methodist Evangelical Church in Italy includes 4,000 members and 50 congregations.

Nazarene Theological College (England)

The Nazarene Theological College (NTC) is an affiliated college of the University of Manchester, offering theological degrees in various specialised disciplines across BA, MA, MPhil, and PhD. NTC has its roots in the Church of the Nazarene and belongs to the World Methodist Council.

Old Rectory, Epworth

The Old Rectory in Epworth, Lincolnshire is a Queen Anne style building, rebuilt after a fire in 1709, which has been completely restored and is now the property of the British Methodist Church, who maintain it as a museum. It is the site of supposed paranormal events that occurred in 1716, while the Wesley family was living in the house. The rectory was home to the Reverend Samuel Wesley, his wife Susanna and their 19 children, one of whom, John Wesley, grew up to become a founder of the Methodist Church.The Old Rectory is managed by a board of trustees appointed by the British Methodist Conference and the World Methodist Council. The current chair of trustees (2015) is the Rev. Graham Carter, a past President of the Methodist Conference.

Philippines Central Conference (United Methodist Church)

The Philippines Central Conference of the United Methodist Church (Filipino: Kumperensyang Sentral ng Pilipinas) is a collection of annual conferences of the United Methodist Church in the Philippines that are organised much like juridictonal conferences in the United States. The Philippines Central Conference is considered a member church of the World Methodist Council, and independent of the United Methodist Church in the United States. It is also a member of the Christian Conference of Asia and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines as The United Methodist Church in the Philippines, representing the denomination as its Philippine counterpart.

The Philippines Central Conference is further subdivided into twenty-two (22) regions, called annual conferences, under the authorities of three episcopal areas. These annual conferences are subdivided into "districts," which provide further administrative functions for the operation of local churches in cooperation with each other under the supervision of the district superintendent. This structure is vital to Methodism, and is referred to as "connexionalism".

The Philippines Central Conference has a professing membership of about 200,540, but it serves a much larger community of close to 1 million. From six annual conferences in 1968, the United Methodist Church in the Philippines has grown to 19 annual conferences located in three episcopal areas. And now, with 24 Annual conferences.

Spanish Evangelical Church

The Spanish Evangelical Church, the IEE or Iglesia Evangélica Española, is a united denomination; Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Congregationalists participated in the merger. It was established in the wake of religious tolerance in Spain in 1869. The first General Assembly was in Seville in 1872, where the name of the Spanish Christian Church was adopted, later changed to the current name.

In 1980 it was officially recognised by the government. It is a member of the Evangelical Federation of Spain, and the World Communion of Reformed Churches and has good contact with the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church and the World Methodist Council.It recognises the Apostles Creed, Athanasian Creed, Nicene Creed, Heidelberg Catechism and Second Helvetic Confession. Partner churches are the Reformed Church of France, the Church of Scotland, and the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. The Iglesia Evangélica Española has about 10,000 members in 40 congregations and 50 house fellowships.

Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches

The Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches (Italian: Unione delle Chiese Metodiste e Valdesi) is an Italian united Protestant denomination.

It was founded in 1975 upon the union of the Waldensian Evangelical Church (a Calvinist church with pre-Reformation roots) and the Methodist Evangelical Church in Italy.

It has 50,000 members (45,000 Waldensians, of whom 30,000 in Italy and some 15,000 divided between Argentina and Uruguay, and 5,000 Methodists) and it is member of both the World Communion of Reformed Churches (as Waldensian Evangelical Church) and of the World Methodist Council (as Methodist Evangelical Church).

It is a founding member of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy, an ecumenical body representing Italian historical Protestant denominations. The denomination voted, in 2010, to bless same-gender couples.

United Church in Zambia

The United Church in Zambia is the largest Protestant church in Zambia with coverage of all the ten provinces of the country

The church formed in 1965, this is a result of the union of Church of Central Africa, Rhodesia (a mission work of the Church of Scotland), the Union Church of Copperbelt, the Copperbelt Free Church Council, the Church of Barotseland and the Methodist church.The United Church in Zambia has partnership relations with the United Church of Canada. The church maintains its own Theological Colleges in Zambia.The United Church in Zambia has 3,000,000 members in 1,060 congregations. The United church has Presbyterian church government with 9 presbyteries and a Synod. It is a member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the World Methodist Council. Close contacts with the Church of Scotland and the Presbyterian Church (USA) were established.

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