The United Methodist Church at 40: How Have We Done?

Woodie W. White

Abstract


The hopes, dreams, expectations, and demands created by—even the promises made in—the formation of The United Methodist Church in 1968 were, in part, impacted by the cultural context of the America of the 1950s and 1960s. From its beginnings, Methodism in America has had a historical ambivalence on the issue of race. The UMC came into being without the separate black and white Annual Conferences and the Jurisdictional structure based on race that characterized its major predecessor denomination, The Methodist Church (1939–1968). Forty years later, it is clear that the promises made at the formation of the UMC in have been kept and the dreams then dreamed have been achieved even beyond expectation. Racial prejudice is still present in the UMC, but overt racism has no place in the polity and organizational structure of the Church. Each new generation must be prepared to assure that racism, prejudice, and ethnocentrism do not stain the life of the UMC, and be prepared to challenge and eliminate them wherever and whenever they become evident.

Keywords


Methodism; United Methodist Church

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