United Methodist Churchof Westlake Village

A Caring Christian Community

The United Methodist Church Story

John Wesley
The people of the United Methodist Church (UMC) are a covenant community – dedicated to God’s work and making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The United Methodist Church was formed with the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1968. United Methodists trace their spiritual heritage back to the 18th-century evangelical leaders John and Charles Wesley, Jacob Albright and Philip William Otterbein.John Wesley was an ordained Anglican priest. At a prayer meeting in London on May 24, 1738, he had a powerful spiritual experience that inspired him to become the first teacher of “Methodism.” Today, John Wesley’s life and teaching still carry a special meaning to United Methodists:

  • GOAL of being faithful disciples of Jesus Christ
  • EXAMPLE of sharing God through missions
  • CONCERN with social problems
  • BELIEF in the grace and forgiveness of God’s love
  • OPENNESS to ecumenism

Wesley and the early Methodists saw their work in the simplest, most uncomplicated terms: Do all the good you can, to all the people you can, in all places you can. His entire life was a journey of faith and outreach, crisscrossing England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland countless times, traveling 250,000 miles by horseback and carriage. John and his brother Charles even braved the hazardous, three-month voyage across the stormy Atlantic Ocean in 1736 to do God’s work in the new colony of Georgia. Later Wesley sent Francis Asbury and other young preachers to spread the gospel in North America.

Our spiritual forebears, John Wesley and the renowned American evangelists, Jacob Albright and Philip William Otterbein, shared a passion for discipleship. They steadfastly refused to allow the word of God to be confined to the church sanctuary. They took every opportunity and used every means available to proclaim the ministry of Jesus Christ. They preached to the people in the streets, squares and hillsides, igniting the American countryside with the story of God’s redeeming love–a triumph celebrated by the two bright red flames and the cross in the official logo of the UMC.

Their methods were not in the royal, hierarchal structures of old Europe, but in the ways of a new and democratic America. Our forebears were cut from the same cloth as the founders of this new nation and had a new connectional covenant in an entirely new kind of country. Individuals were allowed to chart the course of their own lives in the renewing sunshine of God’s outreaching love.

Today our task, our joyful mission, is to empower people everywhere to find their voices as they search for active participation in the decisions that affect them. Church leaders strive to help everyone find a Christ-centered place of refuge and protection in a covenant community of deep faith and purpose.

People of faith and people who are searching for answers to life’s tough questions are all welcome. We love worship, study of God’s word, music, church suppers and a sense of community, a sense of belonging. In life’s clouds of doubt and division, we see the sunlight of God’s purpose that brings healing, hope and harmony.