2010 file photo by Kathy L. Gilbert, United Methodist News Service/Each member of the children's choir at First Grace United Methodist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana, sings a solo for the congregation. /Caption] Who are we? The people of the United Methodist Church are part of the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Our global connection has about 12.8 million members. The United Methodist Church was born out of the 1968 merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical Church of the United Brothers. But, our inheritance goes back to the movement begun in 1729 in England by John and Charles Wesley. Below you will find some of the distinctive features of our denomination. The United Methodist Church is:
- World: Today we speak several languages and we are present in many countries with cultures, ethnic traditions, national histories and a perception of different faith and Christian practice.
- Connexion: Each United Methodist congregation is interconnected with the whole denomination via a unique network of conferences. The United Methodist Church ensures that it has sufficient representativeness in its democratic governance policy. The conferences elect delegates who are authorized to act and vote.
- Inclusive: All people are invited to participate in our cults, at the Holy Supper, and are worthy of being baptized and become members.
- Founded on the Holy Scriptures: the United Methodist Church believes in a free examination of Christian doctrine. Our faith is guided by Holy Scripture, Tradition, experience and reason. However, the Holy Scriptures, as a witness to the creation of God and the redemptive relationship of God to his people.
- Wesleyan: The United Methodist Church has a Wesleyen legacy. As such, it emphasizes the spirit and the heart (knowledge and vital piety) and the practice of faith and Love (Life).
- Scope for social justice: For more than 200 years, the United Methodist Church and the institutions that preceded it have expressed their concern for the children of God all over the world-the poor, the orphans, the elderly, the sick, the Oppressed and prisoners.
- Scope on the mission: Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. In other words, it means that we strive to train disciples of Christ who, in turn, reach and teach others the love of Jesus.
- Ecumenical: The United Methodist considers dialogue and missionary cooperation between the United Methodist and other Christians as a valid witness to the unity of the body of Christ.