The modern history of United Methodism can be traced back to John Wesley, who felt his own heart strangely warmed nearly three centuries ago. After this experience, he was compelled to reach out to England’s poorest citizens, which he did with the help of his brother, Charles. Their work launched a movement that spread to the American colonies and took hold with a fervor that still exists almost 300 years later.
During that time, our hearts have led us to build almost as many schools as churches, as we were among the first to create institutions of learning for settlers, women, and newly freed slaves. There are now 120 United Methodist institutions, including schools outside the U.S., most notably Africa University in Zimbabwe.
Today, United Methodists comprise the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Our churches are connected by a system to guide our work and govern our policies. We continue to take the lead in social, spiritual, political and moral concerns. In the tradition of John and Charles Wesley, our members study scripture, encourage thoughtful debate, and confront the tough issues of the day. We still lead with our hearts, keep our minds open, and welcome everyone through our doors.
Learn more about the beliefs of The United Methodist Church.