In 1827 the first Shiloh church building was erected. It was located in the center of what is now Shiloh Uninted Meyhodist cemetary. Legend has it that the first person buried in te cemetary was a colored slave sometime before the cival war. There is no known record of the organization of Shiloh Church but after the Cival War the Methodist Episcopal Church was reorganized and in 1867 the Rev. T. E. West was appointed pastor. The next church building was erected by Jethro Murph about 1880. The grounds where the present church now stands was donated by the Churchman heirs. The Churchman cemetary now occupies a lot at the north side of the front lawn. The first parsonage was built by Phillip Combs possibly around 1900. The oldest record now available is a Sunday School or Sabbath School Book as it was refered to in those days. It is a record beginning in 1881 and indicates there was a membership of 89 at that time. The present building was erected by Ralph and Fain Moody at a cost of approximately $22,000. The pulpit furniture was made by local craftsman, T. T. Russell. The pastor was Rudolph Kidd. On April 8, 1951 the church was dedicated by Bishop Paul Kern. Gene Holdridge was serving as pastor. In 1968 Shiloh, Cedar Grove and Joppa Churches all became known as the United Methodist Churches as a result of the Holston Conferance help at Lake Junaluska, North carolina.. In 1969 Shiloh Church received a new look as a result of a much needed remodeling job under the supervision of our 82 year old pastor Rev. George Creswell. He and his wife Ruth spent many hours working and helping along with church members as the scancyuary celing was lowered. The balcony was made into three classrooms. Two new stairways were built. Many necessary improvments were made to the building. Many necessary improvments were made to the basement rooms. New wiring and lighting was installed. Two pairs of steel columns were placed on each wall and joined on the inside by two large steel beams in order to correct an existing problem with the walls spreading at the ceiling.. For this and much – much more we owe our thanks to Rev. and Mrs. George Creswell. Numerous remodeling projects along with the adding of a fellowship hall have ocurred since the remodelling.
The United Methodist History
The United Methodist Church (UMC) is a Methodist Christian denomination which is both mainline Protestant and evangelical. Founded in 1968 by the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley within the Church of England. As such, the church’s theological orientation is decidedly Wesleyan. It contains both liturgical and evangelical elements.
In the United States, it ranks as the largest Mainline denomination, the second largest Protestant church after the Southern Baptist Convention, and the third largest Christian denomination. As of 2007, worldwide membership was about 12 million: 8.0 million in the United States and Canada, 3.5 million in Africa, Asia and Europe. It is a member of the World Council of Churches, the World Methodist Council, and other religious associations.
The movement, which would become The United Methodist Church, began in the mid-18th century as a movement within the Church of England. A small group of students, including John Wesley, Charles Wesley and George Whitefield, formed on the Oxford University campus. The group focused on Bible study, methodical study of scripture and living a holy life. Other students mocked the group by calling it the “Holy Club” and “the Methodists” for being overly methodical and exceptionally detailed with their Bible study, opinions and lifestyle. Eventually, the Methodists started individual societies or classes for members of the Church of England who wanted to live a more sacred life.
In 1735, the Wesley brothers went to America to preach the gospel to the American Indians in Georgia. Within two years, the “Holy Club” had disbanded. Wesley returned to England and met with a core group of preachers whom he held in high regard. He wrote that “they appeared to be of one heart, as well as of one judgment, resolved to be Bible-Christians at all events; and, wherever they were, to preach with all their might plain, old, Bible Christianity”. These ministers continued their affiliation with the Church of England. Meantime, they began to be convinced of what they believed were biblical truths that were not then popular among Anglicans. Some of their convictions were that “by grace we are saved through faith” and that justification by faith was the doctrine of the Church as well as of the Bible. They preached these conclusions, and salvation by faith became their standing topic. It implied to them three things which they saw as foundational to Christian faith:
- That people are all, by nature, “dead in sin,” and, consequently, “children of wrath.”
- That they are “justified by faith alone.”
- That faith produces inward and outward holiness: And these points they insisted on day and night.
In a short time, they became popular preachers with large congregations. The former name was then revived and all these gentlemen, along with their followers, became known as Methodists.
The first official organization in the United States occurred in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1784, with the formation of the Methodist Episcopal Church at the Christmas Conference with Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke as the leaders.
Though John Wesley originally wanted the Methodists to stay within the Church of England, the American Revolution decisively separated the Methodists in the American colonies from the life and sacraments of its English counterpart. In 1784, after unsuccessful attempts to have the Church of England send a bishop to start a new church in the colonies, Wesley decisively appointed fellow priest Thomas Coke as superintendent (bishop) to organize a separate Methodist Society. Together with Coke, Wesley sent a revision of the Anglican Prayerbook and the Articles of Religion which were received by the Baltimore Christmas Conference of 1784, officially establishing the Methodist Episcopal Church. The conference was held at the Lovely Lane Methodist Church, considered the Mother Church of American Methodism. John Wesley did not approve of the actions of the American Society; he would continue to be in correspondence with various people about his objections.
The new church grew rapidly in the young country as it employed circuit riders, many of whom were laymen, to travel the mostly rural nation by horseback to preach the Gospel and to establish churches until there was scarcely any village in the United States without a Methodist presence. With 4000 circuit riders by 1844, the Methodist Episcopal Church rapidly became the largest Protestant denomination in the country.
In the more than 220 years since 1784, Methodism in the United States, like many other Protestant denominations, has seen a number of divisions and mergers. In 1830, the Methodist Protestant Church split from the Methodist Episcopal Church over the issue of laity having a voice and vote in the administration of the church, insisting that clergy should not be the only ones to have any determination in how the church was to be operated. In 1844, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church split into two conferences because of tensions over slavery and the power of bishops in the denomination.
The two general conferences, Methodist Episcopal Church (the northern section) and Methodist Episcopal Church, South remained separate until 1939. That year, the northern and southern Methodist Episcopal Churches and the Methodist Protestant Church merged to create The Methodist Church. The uniting conference took place at First Methodist Church (now First United Methodist Church) of Marion, Indiana.
On April 23, 1968, the United Methodist Church was created when the Evangelical United Brethren Church (represented by Bishop Reuben H. Mueller) and The Methodist Church (represented by Bishop Lloyd Christ Wicke) joined hands at the constituting General Conference in Dallas, Texas. With the words, “Lord of the Church, we are united in Thee, in Thy Church and now in The United Methodist Church” the new denomination was given birth by the two churches that had distinguished histories and influential ministries in various parts of the world.
Combining the personal holiness emphasis of the evangelical influence in the church with the outreach emphasis from the social gospel proponents has created a combination of practices within the United Methodist Church.
The United Methodist Church seeks to create disciples for Christ through outreach, evangelism, and through seeking holiness through the process of sanctification. With a focus on triune worship, United Methodists seek to bring honor to God by following the model of Jesus Christ, which is made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit. The flame in the church logo represents the work of the Holy Spirit in the world, which is seen in believers through spiritual gifts. The two parts of the flame represent the predecessor denominations, the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren, and are united at the base symbolizing the 1968 merger.
The United Methodist Church understands itself to be part of the holy catholic (or universal) church as it recognizes the historic ecumenical creeds, the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed;services of worship. The Book of Discipline also recognizes the importance of the Chalcedonian Creed of the Council of Chalcedon. Nevertheless, it also upholds the concept of the “visible and invisible Church,” meaning that all who are truly believers in every age belong to the holy Church invisible, while the United Methodist Church is a form of the Church visible, to which all believers should belong as it is the institution where worship in the name of Jesus is conducted and the sacraments are administered; nonetheless, there may be many unworthy members in the visible church. The Methodist Church can lay a claim on apostolic succession, as understood in the traditional sense, since the Rt. Rev. John Wesley ordained and sent forth every Methodist preacher in his day, who preached and baptized and ordained, and since every Methodist preacher who has ever been ordained as a Methodist was ordained in this direct “succession” from Wesley, who was consecrated a bishop by Erasmus of Arcadia. Despite this fact, most Methodists view apostolic succession outside its high church sense, presenting the Rt. Rev. Wesley’s citing of an ancient opinion from the Church of Alexandria, which held that that bishops and presbyters constituted one order and therefore, bishops are to be elected from and by the presbyterate; as such, the United Methodist Church follows this ancient precedent today.
While many United Methodist congregations operate in the evangelical tradition, others are similar to many mainline Protestant denominations. Although United Methodist beliefs have evolved over time, these beliefs can be traced to the writings of the church’s founders, John Wesley and Charles Wesley (Anglicans), Philip William Otterbein and Martin Boehm (United Brethren), and Jacob AlbrightAlbert C. Outler (Evangelical). With the formation of The United Methodist Church in 1968, theologian led the team which systematized denominational doctrine. Outler’s work proved pivotal in the work of union, and he is largely considered the first United Methodist theologian.
Summary of Basic Belief
The basic beliefs of The United Methodist Church include:
- Triune God. God is one God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost).
- Scripture. The writings in the Old Testament and New Testament are the inspired word of God.
- Sin. While human beings were intended to bear the image of God, all humans are sinners for whom that image is distorted. Sin estranges us from God and corrupts human nature such that we cannot heal or save ourselves.
- Salvation through Jesus Christ. God’s redeeming love is active to save sinners through Jesus’ incarnate life and teachings, through his atoning death, his resurrection, his sovereign presence through history, and his promised return.
- Sacraments. The UMC recognizes only two sacraments: Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. Other rites such as Confirmation, Ordination, Holy Matrimony, Funerals, and Anointing of the Sick are performed but are not considered sacraments. In Holy Baptism, the Church believes that “Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized; but it is also a sign of regeneration or the new birth. It believes that Baptism is a sacrament in which God initiates a covenant with individuals, people become a part of the Church, is not to be repeated, and is a means of grace. The United Methodist Church generally practices Baptism by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion and recognizes Trinitarian formula baptisms from other Christian denominations in good standing. The United Methodist Church affirms the real presence of Christ in Holy Communion, (the bread is an effectual sign of His body crucified on the cross and the cup is an effectual sign of His blood shed for humanity), anamnesis of Jesus’ death, believes the sacrament to be a means of grace, and practices open communion. believes that the celebration is an
- Free will. The UMC believes that people, while corrupted by sin, are free to make their own choices because of God’s divine grace.
- Grace. The UMC believes that God gives unmerited favor freely to all people, though it may be resisted.