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followers of a movement in Protestantism that split off from the Anglican Church.

The Methodist movement emerged in England in the 18th century. Its founders were the brothers John and Charles Wesley, around whom in 1729 there congregated a small circle of followers, at first mostly from among Oxford University students. They considered their goal to be methodical regularity in the observance of the injunctions of religion (hence the name Methodists). Under conditions of an incipient industrial revolution and increased capitalist exploitation, the Methodists launched a widespread campaign to strengthen religious sentiment among the English people, establishing religious missions in working areas and preaching the spirit of Christian humility and tolerance.

In worship and dogma, Methodism does not differ essentially from Anglicanism; it merely simplifies its regulations. (For example, the 39 articles of the Anglican creed are reduced in Methodism to 25.) Methodist congregations consist of “classes,” with 12–20 people in each; the classes assemble regularly for praying, listening to sermons, and so on. The congregations are subordinate to district organizations headed by superintendents (in the USA the superintendents are given the title of bishop; therefore, the American Methodist Church is called the Methodist Episcopal Church). The supreme body of the Methodist Church is the annual conference. The World Methodist Council was established in 1881; it convenes world Methodist conferences once every ten years. The Methodist Missionary Society has been in existence since 1813. In the early 1970’s there were approximately 40 million Methodists, mostly in the USA (where Methodism began to spread in the 1760’s), as well as in Great Britain, Australia, the Republic of South Africa, Canada, and former English colonies.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Reverend Martin Ramsden said: "On August 26 the members of Avenue Methodist Church will have their last act of worship together before disbanding to join other Methodist Churches around Middlesbrough and Eston.
A BOOK charting 160 years of church history has been published to boost the coffers of Huddersfield Methodist Mission.
Bush and his wife, Laura, a graduate of the university, are United Methodists.
Louis (1904), and San Francisco (1915), as well as missionary expositions in London (1867) and Boston (1911), encouraged Methodists to plan a further celebration of Protestant missions for American audiences.
Similarly, Methodists negotiated the intellectual dialectic between Enlightenment and enthusiasm.
The covenant agreed to in mid-July commits Anglicans and Methodists "as a priority, to work to overcome the remaining obstacles to the organic unity of our two churches.
But the likelihood of a successful merger with black Methodists was not very promising.
There have been far more historical studies of Mormons than Methodists, perhaps even of the few Shakers than of the millions of Methodists, yet one must ask: who tells more about "fits, trances, and visions" in American religion than a group that generated so many ecstasies and enthusiasms--and then turned out to be so mainstream?
Dr Le Moignan said that while the vast majority of Methodists enjoyed a drink, a recent survey showed that many, especially the young, liked a safe haven away from the pressures of alcohol.
Let's tell the world that while most Methodists drink alcohol they do not need to drink it on church premises.
The camp meeting was a significant feature of this revival, and the Methodists adopted it and used it extensively for revival meetings throughout the nineteenth century.
Former CIA employee Mark Tooley, hired by the right-wing Institute on Religion and Democracy to attack the United Methodist Church's social agenda, launched a vitriolic charge against that church in a 1996 mailing to thousands of its members.