United Methodism

In this portion of our web page, we want to provide you with some basic information about the United Methodist Church.  Please feel free to scroll down browse through the information we are sharing here, and feel free to click on the links provided in order to learn even more about United Methodism.

History

On May 24, 1738, at a meeting of a Holiness Club in England, John Wesley had an experience of God and felt his heart “strangely warmed.” In his journal he wrote, “I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sin, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
 
Based on that experience, he began to preach (delivering more than 40,000 sermons in his lifetime) and went on to organize groups into societies, then classes, connections and circuits, under the direction of a superintendent. This methodical approach to faith became the Methodist Church. Soon after, the movement crossed the Atlantic into the New World.
 
Baltimore was the birthplace of The United Methodist Church in the New World. Methodism officially began in America in 1785, just after Christmas, when Bishops Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke “called all the preachers together” and 60 pastors met at Lovely Lane Meeting House in Baltimore to organize a church that would shape the identity of a new nation.
 
Here are a couple of links that you can use to learn more about Methodism.

United Methodist Beliefs

The mission statement of The United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
 
Since its beginnings in 1729, United Methodists have embraced the idea of “the ministry of all believers.” While pastors lead the churches, every United Methodist member is in ministry, supporting Christ and the church with their prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.
 
Following the example of their founder, John Wesley, United Methodists believe in “practical divinity,” combining faith with social action in profound and meaningful ways. Like other Christians, we believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and that each person is created in the image of God. United Methodists believe the church is an extension of Christ’s life and ministry in the world today.
 
You can click this link to read more about Methodist Beliefs.

The Church as Connection

United Methodist leaders often speak of the denomination as “the connection.” This concept has been central to Methodism from its beginning.
 
The United Methodist structure and organization began as a means of accomplishing the mission of spreading scriptural holiness. Methodism’s founder, John Wesley, recognized the need for an organized system of communication and accountability and developed what he called the “connexion,” a network of classes, societies, and annual conferences.
 
Today, our denomination continues to be organized in a “connectional” system, which “enables us to carry out our mission in unity and strength” (Book of Discipline, ¶ 701). Every local church is linked to an interconnected network of organizations that join together in mission and ministry, allowing us to accomplish far more than any one local church or person could alone.
  • General Conference:  As the primary legislative body, General Conference is the only entity with the authority to speak on behalf of the entire United Methodist Church (UMC).
  • Jurisdictional Conferences:  There are five geographic jurisdictions, or regions, in the United States, which are comprised of eight to 15 annual conferences each.
  • Central Conferences:  In Africa, Europe and the Philippines, there are seven geographical regions, called central conferences, each of which is comprised of annual conferences and divided into several episcopal areas.
  • Annual Conferences:  The annual conference is a geographical entity, an organizational body (made up of elected lay and clergy members), and a yearly meeting. It is the fundamental body of the church (Book of Discipline, ¶ 11).  Solomons UMC is in the Baltimore-Washington Conference (BWC).
  • Districts:  Each local church is part of a district, which is an administrative grouping of churches in a geographic area.  This color-coded map shows the BWC district structure.  Solomons UMC is in the Washington East District (darker blue at the bottom of the map includes all of Southern Maryland).
  • Bishop:  Bishop LaTrelle Easterling is the episcopal leader of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, the oldest and most diverse annual conference in The United Methodist Church.  
  • Links:

Controversy!

The United Methodist Church acknowledges that all persons are of sacred worth. All persons without regard to race, color, national origin, status, or economic condition, shall be eligible to attend its worship services, participate in its programs, receive the sacraments, upon baptism be admitted as baptized members, and upon taking vows declaring the Christian faith, become professing members in any local church in the connection.  However, the United Methodist Book of Discipline states that:  “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.”
 
The issue of homosexuality was first openly debated in the church at the 1972 General Conference, four years after the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren churches joined to form The United Methodist Church, and issues related to sexuality have continued to be debated ever since.  Most recently, in 2019, a Special Session of General Conference voted by a narrow margin to not change the Discipline’s position regarding homosexuality.
 
 
Most recently, during our 2019 Annual Conference worship service on May 31, Bishop Easterling commissioned Tara Cressler “TC” Morrow as a provisional Deacon and ordained the Rev. Joey Heath-Mason as a full Elder.  Both Morrow and Heath-Mason are married to people of the same gender.