Now that I’m switching denominations, I’ve decided to do my homework on the origin of this particular denomination.
The one church becomes the Greek Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. (East-West Schism ~1050 a.d.)
The Church of England breaks away from the Roman Catholic Church. (English Reformation ~1500 a.d.)
John Wesley, Charles Wesley and the influence of other reformers, begin a revival movement with the Church of England. This is where Wesleyanism gets it’s start. (~1730’s a.d.)
By the time the Wesley Brothers reached America, their revival movement was called Methodism.
John Wesley stressed the life of Christian Holiness: to love God with all one’s heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. He stressed experiencing religion and moral responsibility. John was also influenced by the Moravian Churches – which was known for having set up a continuous prayer meeting that lasted 24 hours a day for 100 years. It was also influenced by Arminianism which was opposed to the teachings of Calvinism. They focused on personal faith, experience, and holiness.
Methodism picked up steam during the Great Awakenings, it also was involved a number of small schisms over slavery – many (though not all) denominations were also abolitionists (in fact, some of the early African American churches chose Methodism). Once slavery was ended, some of these denominations re-united.
In 1968, the United Methodist Church was formed by one such reunion. Today, it is the second largest denomination behind Southern Baptists. The services are liturgical, but some churches also offer contemporary services. They also have a social creed which affirms that they care for equal rights for all people an example of how they carry this out in their church is by not being afraid to ordain women. (It seems to me to be the best indicator of equality that they would allow women to hold the same positions and have the same authority as men.)
Now that I know a little more about my new denomination’s history, I’m hopeful that things will turn out well. I know pretty much nothing of liturgy, so I can expect a little bit of trouble integrating with that aspect. I’m hopeful that the church would create a contemporary service – then it would be exactly what we’re looking for. But until then, we’ll have to do our best to learn things as we go.