The History of how the World Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church came to be established.
In the United Kingdom, many of the Methodist congregations in much of Bristol including the Wesley New Rooms and specific Methodist churches throughout the rest of the UK are Wesleyan or Independent Methodist Churches, a situation to which the public are generally unaware. It is because of typical non conformist 19th. century denominational, congregational and church splits which have lasted in the churches and chapels of England to this day. In fact, most of the original buildings where the founders of Methodism John and Charles Wesley preached are now museums to the Methodist movement and they are maintained by Independent or Wesleyan Methodist Church congregations or trust ownership. The Methodist Central Hall Westminster London UK (also known as Central Hall Westminster, or simply Methodist Central Hall) was funded between 1898 and 1908 by the "Wesleyan Methodist Twentieth Century Fund" (or the "Million Guinea Fund", as it became more commonly known), whose aim was to raise one million guineas from one million Wesleyan Methodists.
There are six distinct groupings or strands within Methodism of which the public are generally unaware. They are: the Methodist Church in England (known as the United Methodist Church in the USA), the Wesleyan Methodist (also known as Independent Methodist Churches) which takes a very high church view on the sacrament of Holy Communion, the Free Methodist Church, the Evangelical Methodist Church, the Primitive Methodist Church and the Independent Methodist Church Connections, Fellowships and Associations of Methodist Churches (some of whom are also known as Independent Methodist Churches or Independent Methodist Chapels and are governed autonomously by each local church congregation).
This Wesleyan or Independent Methodist Church originates from the Wesleyan Methodist (also known as Independent Methodist Churches), which takes a very high church view on the sacrament of Holy Communion, has an Episcopal view of Church polity or spiritual government within and has developed from the Wesleyan Episcopalian culture and background. This was the view and experience of Methodism's founders, the Reverends John and Charles Wesley who were themselves ordained Church of England Clergy and who remained so and maintained that cultural background until they died. They both held a high view of the sacrament Holy Communion and Episcopal church government and indeed there was breach between them when John Wesley suggested that the Methodist movement which remained within the Anglican Church of England should split from the C of E and become a separate church.
Bringing our own denominational development up to the presence, we have had to acknowledge that we ourselves have had to be available to change. Because of the recent developments within the Christian scene with the arrival of a "cross-less, eazy-believism" being exhibited by the mega "seeker-friendly churches", the "kingdom-now" new apostolic resurrection of "the shepherding style" teaching and the reality that most "Word of Faith Churches" were acting like "rolling Word of Faith Conventions rather than Churches it was decided that something had to be done. Then there was the arrival of "Emergent or Emerging Church", "New Mystics" and "Extreme Prophetic", "New Apostolic Network" and other "divergent charismania" like "IHOP, (International house of prayer)" with their "so called" attendant "gold dust manifestations", "angel feather and stigmatic apparitions", "drunken spirit slosh-fest" aberrations with people barking like dogs, slithering like snakes, displaying Kundalini like trances and other insane traits. But, after all the entertainment of "Concert style Praise and Worship" was over, after the great Worship Leaders and their bands had exploded with the final drum roll, it was easily seen by many Pentecostal Clergy that the ordinary congregational members were yearning for something more, even if they didn't know what it was. Many Pentecostal ministerial fraternities discussed this and even though the "flavor of the month" new Worship songs were blaring loudly around the Pentecostal / and dabbling Charismatic world, these Clergy knew that "Old Fashioned Ministry" and confrontational "Cross filled", "Word based" preaching, coupled with proper Scriptural Church Government was what the people yearned for. People just want to belong to something that is safe, secure and a true presentation of what the Lord intended "Church" to be. The people want properly credentialed, accountable, leadership and to feel protection in a church and amongst its people, for themselves and their families. By the summer of 2006 a number of Pentecostal Clergy, together with some from other denominations and some independents decided that a new brand of accountability within its clergy best fitted by Episcopal government, within Pentecostalism, had to be established together with a return to a doctrinal emphasis on Arminian and Wesleyan theology which promotes Holiness in the lives of Christians. The moral state of Christianity and Pentecostalism in particular was discussed and it was decided that because of the backslidden state of Christianity at large, a new emphasis on holiness should be given loud and clear, and if that meant a return to Pentecostal roots in Methodism, well so be it.
On each annual preaching tour in the United States, our clergy would also find disenfranchised Episcopalians and Methodists who were fed up with the direction of their respective denominations. In England, Holland and Germany we would find Holiness and Pietist groups who were also seeking a leading and a directive given through an uncompromising stand for the Glorious Gospel of Christ. Both in the Americas and Europe all of the mentioned were desirous of a separation unto holiness away from the encroaching and all prevailing "Churches together" movement, the "World Council of Churches" apostasy and down right heretical stance by Church leadership on the issue of biblical morality concerning marriage, sexual orientation, and lifestyle choices. Indeed some of this Church leadership worldwide were promoting acceptance of and the inclusion of all manner of biblical immorality into the ministry and pulpits of their churches. In Scotland and Germany there was also the remnant membership of the Edward Irving inspired Catholic Apostolic Church tradition, as well as Old Catholic Church membership and Celtic Catholic Church membership. Some of these people and their clergy had been originally members of Anglican and other Protestant Churches, but who had left because of what they had recognised as un-Scriptural, un-Biblical liberal tendencies creeping into their original churches and they had gone in search of truth. One thing was absolutely sure and that was they all wanted to belong to a church that held to the virgin birth and Deity of Christ, His death burial and resurrection together with all the other fundamentals of the historic Christian faith and practice.
No lead seemed to be given to this unease and so in August 2006 some of our clergy established first the Pentecostal Holiness Church of Great Britain and Ireland in 2006 which became the International Full Gospel Pentecostal Church with its headquarters in the United Kingdom and the United States of America in January 2010. The final decision became inevitable when, after one of our clergy conducted a successful tour in October 2010 which brought him to his knees in brokenness at the state and condition of the Church. The final "straw" was the arrival at one of his services by a delegation of the Amish community from Lancaster county PA seeking to hear about what our view was on the state of play regarding "Christian witness in our times and is there going to be a strong stand taken for the truth by other Christians at this time". This speaking tour we describe as one of the highlights of denomination's entire ministry because we reflect on it as a series of meetings with the literal "Shaftesburys and Wilberforces" of today, the moneyed in New York and other places plus all the movers and shakers in the Christian world, without exception, who came to hear what we had to say.
The October 2010 became a defining moment for our direction as a denomination. After this tour in October 2010 and long discussions with major ministerial and financial interest, we found ourselves establishing a new brand of Methodism, amalgamating strands of Wesleyan Episcopal Methodism and Primitive Methodism, together with the early influence of the Classical Pentecostal beliefs of the Apostolic Church of Wales amongst others. And so the World Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church and its international interests was born in December 2010.
written by the (Church Secretary)