The Wesleyan Church was founded in 1968 when the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the Pilgrim Holiness Church merged. The new denomination was shaped by the Wesleyan Methodists’ appreciation for structure combining with the Pilgrims’ entrepreneurial spirit.
The holy blaze in the hearts of Wesleyans caught fire in 18th century England with a Church of England priest, John Wesley, who called upon Christian believers to commit to a life of holiness and the study of God’s Word. Our name “Wesleyan” honors him.
Wesley was an outstanding Oxford scholar, yet regarded himself as “a man of one book,” the Bible. It was while studying the Bible that Wesley received assurance of his salvation through faith. It was the Bible that motivated his vision for offering Christ to the common people of England and which eventually led to the nation’s greatest spiritual revival.
Biblical truth inspired Wesley to develop a school for orphans, job programs and medical assistance for the poor, efforts to reform inhumane prisons and arguments for the abolition of slavery. Confidence in the Bible as “the only and sufficient rule for Christian faith and practice” (to use Wesley’s own words) remains a hallmark of The Wesleyan Church today.
It was in 1843 that our leaders organized to address social issues through The Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America. Wesleyans were one of the first denominations in America to ordain women and were at the forefront of giving laity significant roles in church leadership.
The movement spread like wildfire as passionate Wesleyans began to radically apply their faith to every area of their life and communities, leading to reformations in education, culture, and governments.
Wesleyan groups in both England and North America openly opposed slavery, called for women’s rights, and stood up against child labor atrocities.
This distinct call to holiness and witness bound Wesleyans together as a diverse family of multiple nationalities, races, languages, and cultures. Members of The Wesleyan Church continue to be catalysts for individual and social transformation.