Alton United Methodist Church
Friday, October 20, 2017

United Methodism

We stand on giant shoulders.
We are who we are today because of those who have gone before us. And some giants have gone before us. The Methodist movement began on the campus of Oxford University when brothers John and Charles Wesley led a student group so disciplined and methodical in its approach to faith that students sarcastically referred to them as "Methodists." The name never left them.What began with human effort and religious devotion turned into a movement aflame with the Holy Spirit's power when John Wesley's heart was "strangely warmed" one night on Aldersgate Street in London. Freed from his incessant drive to be approved by God, Wesley experienced grace and an assurance of God's love. "An assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins and freed me from the law of sin and death." With his newfound faith, Wesley took to the open air, preaching the gospel to those who were outside the church. And people flocked to hear him. Before his ministry was over, John Wesley would travel a quarter of a million miles, crisscrossing England and overseeing one of history's great revivals.
That revival came to America and in 1784 the Methodist Episcopal Church was born. Young preachers known as circuit riders went wherever people went, taking the gospel to the far reaches of the frontier. By 1850 there were one a half million Methodists in America. By 1900 there were more Methodist churches than US Post Offices.The United Methodist Church was born in 1968 when three streams in the Wesleyan movement came together in merger: the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren. Today, there are nearly 8 million United Methodists in America and over 11 million worldwide. At its best, Methodism is marked by the warmed heart experience of knowing God intimately and a keen awareness of our need to reach out. It is still our aim to combine the personal and social elements of our faith, “to spread scriptural holiness across the land and reform the nation.”
Alton UMC is a United Methodist congregation in the Ozarks District of the Missouri Conference. Our bishop is Robert Farr and our district superintendent is Lynn Dyke.