The Methodist Church, bringing together northern and southern Methodists and Methodist Protestants, was born in Kansas City in the spring of 1939. The midwives were filled with hope because the child's prenatal period had been characterized by the use of a common hymnal since 1935, the insistence of youth on unity, and declining organizational and doctrinal differences among the uniting denominations. One year later, in May 1940, Bishop Edwin H. Hughes remained hopeful. Looking around at the walls of the auditorium where the General Conference was meeting, he said, "For me these walls now turn to glass," and through them "we view this planet as a subject of redemption." But well over a year before Bishop Hughes spoke, in November 1938, the windows of German synagogues had been shattered by Hitler's goons, one of many signs that something more than glass was about to be broken.
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