200 Years of United Methodism
An Illustrated History

--- Page Border ---

After Germany and Japan surrendered in 1945--marking the end of a war that took an estimated 22 million lives and cost $1.2 trillion--the churches turned not only to relief activities in the midst of A-bomb fallout and an incipient Cold War, but also to their own household affairs. Methodism's Crusade for Christ succeeded in increasing Sunday school enrollment and attendance. The multiplication of church boards and agencies, which had been occurring in the United Brethren, Evangelical, and Methodist churches since the 1920s, was speeded up, bringing with it a shift from leadership by bishops to leadership by executive secretaries. And the United Brethren and Evangelicals decided to marry.

The Evangelical-United Brethren Uniting Conference in First United Brethren Church, Johnstown, Pa. Photograph, 1946.Negotiations leading to an Evangelical-United Brethren union were opened in the mid-1930s. The negotiators dealt with problems such as defining the ordained ministry and drafting an equitable pension program. In 1942 their plan of union was approved by a vote of 226 to 6 in the Evangelical General Conference; the favorable vote in the United Brethren General Conference of 1945 was 224 to 2. With the result that the Evangelical United Brethren Church came into being at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in November 1946. This marriage created a denomination with almost 5,000 congregations and just over 700,000 members. Not a single congregation of either antecedent church withdrew from the new one. The only losers were United Brethren women; there was no specific provision for their ordination and appointment as pastors in the Evangelical United Brethren Church.

On most fronts the Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist churches seemed to be moving ahead. During the 1940s, while the United States population grew by 14.5 percent, their combined membership grew by 16.66 percent, giving them 6.43 percent of Americans in 1950. They were raring, therefore, to enter the decade "under God."

home     table of contents     index     back     continue

--- Page Border ---

Questions: 200years@drew.edu
Problems: webmaster@drew.edu