History of Epworth and the United Methodist Church
John Wesley was born in 1703, the fifteenth chlld of Anglican minister Samuel and Susanna Wesley. His mother saved him from a fire at the Epworth Rectory when he was five years old, Wesley felt that he had been set apart for great things by God and went on to found the Methodist Church.
More than 50 years ago, young professionals who were moving into the then new suburban north east side of Indianapolis met and decided to form a church where they could meet in fellowship and teach their children Christian values. Early worship services were at the Broad Ripple American Legion Hall on Sunday mornings. Members dedicated their spare time during the week and labored together to build Epworth church at the corner of 65th street and Allisonville road.
In 2009 the congregation celebrated its 50th anniversary. In 2013, Epworth completed phase one of the Building for the Future with the opening of the new lobby and gathering space (including a new library, meeting room, and more). Two more phases of growth are planned in the near future.
We look forward to many more years of loving, serving and growing together!
The United Methodist Church shares a common history and heritage with other Methodist and Wesleyan bodies. The lives and ministries of John Wesley (1703–1791) and of his brother, Charles (1707–1788), mark the origin of their common roots.
The Second Great Awakening was the dominant religious development among Protestants in America in the first half of the nineteenth century. Through revivals and camp meetings sinners were brought to an experience of conversion. Circuit riding preachers and lay pastors knit them into a connection.
John Wesley was an ardent opponent of slavery. Many of the leaders of early American Methodism shared his hatred for this form of human bondage. The United Brethren in Christ took a strong stand against slavery, as church members could not sell a slave, and by 1837 ruled that slave owners could not continue as members. As the nineteenth century progressed, it became apparent that tensions were deepening in Methodism over the slavery question.
The Civil War dealt an especially harsh blow to The Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Its membership fell to two-thirds its pre-war strength. Many of its churches lay in ruins or were seriously damaged.
In the years immediately prior to World War I, there was much sympathy in the churches for negotiation and arbitration as visible alternatives to international armed conflict. Many church members and clergy openly professed pacifism.
Although Methodists, Evangelicals, and United Brethren each had published strong statements condemning war and advocating peaceful reconciliation among the nations, the strength of their positions was largely lost with American involvement in the hostilities of World War II.
When The United Methodist Church was created in 1968, it had approximately 11 million members, making it one of the largest Protestant churches in the world.
From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church. Copyright 2008 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.