Beginning on Christmas Eve of 1784 and continuing for ten days, the Christmas Conference formed the Methodist Church in America. Methodist itinerant preachers had been ministering in the colonies since the 1760's. As priests in the Church of England, John and Charles Wesley traveled to Savannah, Georgia on October 14, 1735. John stayed for two years. The roots of Methodism run deep in America.
The Methodist Church was formed alongside the birth of this nation. The United Methodist General Conference, Council of Bishops, and Judicial Council are reflections of the Legislative Branch, Executive Branch, and Judicial Branch of the USA. Decisions in the Methodist Church are made after vigorous debate and legislative processes following Robert's Rules of Order. Every four years since that 1784 Christmas Conference the Methodist Church has met in General Conference to guide the direction of the church. There have been a few disruptions to this pattern, such as a worldwide pandemic. But, General Conference has usually coincided with the US National Elections. For these and many other reasons, the Methodist Church and the United States of America are uniquely intertwined. As citizens of this country, and as citizens of the Kingdom of God, we apply our faith to our policies. We aspire to live in a country that advocates for the poor and vulnerable. We continually try to look at our nation through the eyes of Christ and live, and vote, accordingly.
The Council of Bishops issued a letter yesterday encouraging people to engage in our democratic process. Perhaps they read my blog I wrote yesterday. :) Take a look at what they have written. Be loving. Be prayerful. Be thoughtful and kind.