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Other Churches:7     The Methodist Church1

Methodists began as Anglicans2, trying to encourage greater commitment to personal holiness through regular and “methodical” prayer, bible study and weekly Holy Communion, when such practices were less common.

Under the influence of a Moravian, Peter Bohler, John Wesley became convinced that the way to holiness was through personal saving faith in Jesus Christ. Following his “Evangelical Conversion” on 24 May 1738, with its assurance of the forgiveness of sin, he was convinced of the need to restore the doctrine of the Witness of the Spirit.

George Whitfield encouraged him into open air preaching. Many were converted. Local “Methodist Societies” were established to give after-care to converts, who were expected to attend the local parish church each Sunday. As the work grew he began using lay people to help this work of preaching and pastoring, including women. Some local vicars found all this unacceptable and tensions grew. Wesley remained an Anglican to his death, but in 1784 the Bishops refused to ordain some of Wesley’s American preachers,  so he ordained them himself, effectively breaking the link.

Methodism asserts a Gospel for everyone3. It uses both liturgical4 and free forms of worship. It has two sacraments5. It believes that the lay and ordained membership should share the tasks of ministry. It emphasises a personal relationship with God and a need for this to grow and develop through fellowship6. In Methodism women and men are equal in the life of the church7. There is an intense concern for social justice and it is essential that Christian faith is lived out in personal life. Methodism accepts the divine revelation (as recorded in Scripture) as the supreme rule of faith and practice, and of the historic creeds.

Each Methodist Church is part of the world wide Methodist family8 and is administratively organised into Districts9. Districts are divided into Circuits10. The Circuit Meeting governs Circuit affairs. The Superintendent is the senior minister with pastoral and disciplinary charge of the Circuit ministers.

In Mirfield there are three Methodist Churches11, currently in varying degrees of flux over accommodation and ministerial provision.