The Methodist Church
What is life like in a Methodist Church?
Methodism is the name given to the group of churches that came out of the Christian revival of the 18th century, led by the Wesley brothers, John and Charles.
At first, Methodists were known as troublemakers! Nowadays the church is just as ‘respectable’ as any other group of churches. The reasons they were seen as such a nuisance way back in the 18th century was because the first Methodists were passionate in their belief in God, and believed that anyone can find forgiveness by believing in Jesus Christ. The Methodist Church grew up in many poor, industrial areas of the country where alcoholism and poverty were major problems.
For John and Charles Wesley, ‘works’ as well as faith were essential to the whole of Christian living. This meant they took seriously a duty to care for the poor, for prisoners, for widows and orphans. One of their main aims was to remedy things that were wrong in society, and John Wesley’s last known letter urged the abolition of ‘that execrable villainy’ slavery. As well as slavery, the Wesleys were active prison reformers and educationalists.
Methodists were encouraged to work to the best of their ability in order to improve the lives of others. John Wesley exhorted them to
“Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.”
Nowadays Methodists belong to local churches, but also feel part of a larger connected community: ‘the Connexion’. At the heart of the Methodist Connexion is an understanding of the church as the ‘body of Christ’. The Methodist Church holds strongly to the teaching that just as a human body contains different limbs and organs that depend on each other, so we should be close and caring enough to feel each other’s pain and delight. We should put the good of the whole body before our own individual needs.