Heritage Sunday 2018
May 20, 2018: "JUBILEE":
The 50th Anniversary of The UM Church
Heritage Sunday shall be observed on Aldersgate Day (May 24), or the Sunday preceding that date. The day provides an opportunity for reflection on heritage, celebration of where the Church has been, how it understands itself as it shapes us today, and the meaning of Christian conferencing. Heritage Sunday calls the Church to remember the past by committing itself to the continuing call of God. from 264.1, The Book of Discipline, 2012
Heritage Sunday is set aside for remembering our legacy as United Methodists. It is an ideal time for local churches and Annual Conference Commissions on Archives and History and Historical Societies to develop programs and projects reflecting the importance of history in congregational formation and casting the future.
This year's approach to Heritage Sunday is a celebration, a JUBILEE in fact. We are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the United Methodist Church.
Fifty years ago, Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) Bishop Rueben H. Mueller and Methodist Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke joined hands over a table laden with symbols---the Bible, hymnals, books of Disciplineand a 307-page "Plan of Union." 1,300 delegates and 10,000 visitors met in Dallas, Texas on April 23, 1968 proclaiming the formation of the newly-constituted United Methodist Church. 10.3 million Methodists and 750,000 members of the EUB Church merged into one of the largest Protestant denominations in the world. Flags from fifty-three countries testified to the breadth of the new reality.
At the same time, the systematic racism of the former Methodist Church's segregating Central Jurisdiction began dismantling. That same year, the United Methodist Council of Bishops signed a concordat with the British Methodist Conference committing to ongoing dialogue and increasing shared experiences saying "members of the same family belong together and British and American Methodists are the same family."
The General Commission on Archives and History's (GCAH) History and Interpretation Committee urges your annual conference, district and congregation to discover and then celebrate all that our denomination has accomplished in the last five decades. Use this Special Sunday and the resources provided below to serve as a vehicle for launching any number of history-related projects in the Annual Conference: oral history interviews with retired church workers in the conference; a new conference history; the preservation of an Historic Site or Heritage Landmark; or a children's poster contest.
History and historians sometimes get a bad rap, as if the subject and its devotees are only interested in the past and tediously preserving it. At GCAH, we believe and experience every day the power of history not merely as remembrance but active engagement, the past pointing to purpose, the DNA that makes us who we are, forming how we live-into the future.
We hope you will give us feedback about this year’s Heritage Sunday resources and tell us how you used this material in your celebration!
If your church is looking ahead for Heritage Sunday themes for the rest of the quadrennium, you can look forward to:
2019 - "150 Years of United Methodist Women"
2020 - "200 Years of the General Board of Global Ministries"
Fred Day, General Secretary
General Commission on Archives and History
TRAFCO Video of the Uniting Conference May 23-May 24, 1968
Uniting Conference Worship April 23, 1968 (Albert Outler Papers)
Albert Outler Uniting Conference Sermon-Dreams and Visions (p. 38, Perkins Journal)
Historical Source References – MEA, History of the EUB Church
EUB History Timeline
EUB & Meth History Virtual Exhibit
Lectures Series– Ken Rowe, Steve O’Malley, Ian Straker
The UMC at 50 – Quick Reference
Clayride (Fun basic UMC History video)
Portraits of Early Evangelical Association, United Brethren and Methodist Leaders
Publication of Special Issue of Methodist History on 50th Anniversary
Heritage Sunday Resources
Sunday April 22 Resources
PowerPoint – Basic Historical Background for Adult Ed., Conf. Classes
Heritage Sunday Worship
Other Liturgical Materials
Jubilee video for Local Church / Annual Conference use
Various Photos for Use in Local Church or Annual Conference PR
Various Maps Telling UMC story