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United Methodist Church - Themes from the Past Fifty Years

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church into The United Methodist Church. While some have referred to this as the 50th anniversary of The UMC, the actual age of our denomination, according to the Discipline, is based on the oldest predecessor denomination, which means the UMC is celebrating its 234th year. What we are celebrating this year is not the anniversary of the church but the anniversary of our merger. Still this anniversary is a good reason to stop and look at the last fifty years and make an initial Evangelical United Brethren Bishop Bishop Reuben H. Mueller (left) and Methodist Bishop Lloyd C. Wickeassessment of our recent past. While for an archives fifty years is just 'yesterday' and it would be inappropriate to write a 'history,' it is still long enough for us to spot the trends and themes of the current history in our church. The merger took place on April 23, 1968.  The text and images here are based on our museum display at GCAH's Archives and History Center.

United Methodism formed in one of the most traumatic years in one of the most traumatic decades of the 20th century. While much of the country was in turmoil over a variety of social ills and challenges, the Methodists and Evangelical United Brethren decided it was time to become The United Methodist Church. It too faced many issues and challenges. What follows is a study in how the church expressed itself and tried to meet the various challenges at the end of the 20th century. We look at the themes of history as a prologue, yet to be written, of this era's history.  We hope you enjoy this look backwards.


Our roots' contribution
Caucuses - increased lay activity
Theological development
Ministry to the Neighborhood and to the World
The unsolved issue - LGBT & the church
End of the Central Jurisdiction
Evolving  Episcopacy