United Methodist Men plan centennial celebration

April 03, 2007

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- United Methodist Men across the United States are planning a yearlong celebration during 2008 in honor of the 100th anniversary of men's ministry in the church.

Men's ministry has been a part of the Methodist heritage since Charles and John Wesley established holy clubs in 1729 at Oxford University. The 1908 General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, meeting in Baltimore, authorized the creation of Methodist Brotherhoods, making men's ministry a part of the denominational structure.

Meeting in early March, annual conference presidents of the United Methodist Men's organization approved plans to focus on a different aspect of men's ministry each month. The 2008 celebrations will emphasize:

  • January – Men's ministry with various ethnic groups.
  • February – Scouting and youth-serving agencies. In 2006, there were 373,242 Boy Scouts meeting in more than 8,000 United Methodist churches.
  • March – Women's contributions to men's ministries.
  • April – United Methodist Men's relationships with other churchwide agencies.
  • May – Publication and free distribution of the World War II book Strength for Service. The commission has printed 250,000 copies, and 230,000 have been delivered free to U.S. troops.
  • June – John Wesley's birthday, the Holy Club and John Wesley Fellows.
  • July – Mission projects, including hunger-relief efforts with the Society of St. Andrew. Through the society, volunteers glean food for America's hungry, and United Methodist Men provide financial support to the Meals for Millions program.
  • August – Local units of United Methodist Men.
  • September – The Upper Room Prayer Line. The prayer line received 382,795 calls in 2006, and United Methodist Men provides a $25,000 annual gift to the ministry, which is housed at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.
  • October – Expressing appreciation to pastors and bishops.
  • November – Evangelism and spiritual life, including mentoring through Big Brothers/Big Sisters and giving Faith-Sharing New Testaments and Philmont Bibles.
  • December – Looking to the next 100 years with men's ministry specialists with funding through Legacy Builders, a program that challenges men to step up in their financial support of United Methodist Men's missions and ministries.

The Rev. David Adams, top staff executive of the churchwide Commission on United Methodist Men, called on conference presidents to focus on image and promotion; structure or connection with others; and funding for the commission. The commission raises three-quarters of its own budget.

In other business at their March 1-4 meeting, the conference presidents:

  • Planned for the 10th national gathering to be held in 2009 at Belmont University in Nashville and learned of plans for four 2007 regional gatherings of United Methodist Men in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Washington and North Carolina.
  • Learned that men in the Southeastern Jurisdiction will induct former President Jimmy Carter into the John Wesley Society.
  • Noted that nine annual conferences are participating in Amachi, a program linking United Methodist men with children of incarcerated parents.
  • Received a preliminary report of a study of United Methodist Men.