The Methodist Church History

The Methodist Church was founded by John Wesley (1703 – 1791). Wesley was born into a strong Anglican home: his father, Samuel, was priest, and his mother, Susanna, taught religion and morals faithfully to her 19 children. Wesley attended Oxford, proved to be a fine scholar, and was soon ordained into the Anglican ministry. At Oxford, he joined a society on campus (founded by his brother Charles) whose members took vows to lead holy lives, take Communion once a week, pray daily, and visit prisons regularly. It was during one of these society meetings on May 24, 1734, that Wesley had an experience that changed everything “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death”. 

Wesley did not intend to find a new denomination, but historical circumstances and his organizational skills conspired against his desire to remain in the Church of England. Wesley’s followers first met in private home “societies.” When these societies became too large for members to care for one another, Wesley organized “classes,” each with 11 members and a leader. Classes met weekly to pray, read the Bible, discuss their spiritual lives, and to collect money for charity. Men and women met separately, but anyone could become a class leader. Critics mockingly labeled these societies “methodists”, however, Wesley proudly embraced the label. Throughout his lifetime, Wesley during his ministry traveled over 4,000 miles annually, preaching some 40,000 sermons in his lifetime. 

Wesley had when he died: 294 preachers, 71,668 British members, 19 missionaries (5 in mission stations), and 43,265 American members with 198 preachers. Today Methodists number about 30 million worldwide.

St Paul's UMC and Wesley Foundation

There is a detailed history of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation on this link to St. Paul’s website

Wesley Foundation

The Wesley Foundation is a United Methodist church ministry for college students. The first Wesley Foundation was established October 13, 1913 at the University of Illinois. Today, they are found all over the world serving students of all backgrounds and faith traditions!

Abba Java Coffeehouse

Abba Java first opened it’s doors in 2003 with the intention of creating community and providing radical hospitality to all Penn State Students. Within recent years the ministry has grown providing coffee and snacks to an average of 750 student vistors a week during the semester.