The United Methodist Church is a world wide Protestant denomination founded at the Christmas Conference in Baltimore, Maryland in 1784. It's founder was John Wesley, a priest in the Church of England, who originally founded the Methodist movement with his brother Charles and other friends with the intent to revive the Church of England. The Church is divided into regions called Annual Conferences, each presided over by a bishop. The General Conference of the church meets once every four years and is the only body that can speak on behalf of the whole denomination through a democratic process of amending the Book of Discipline and making other Resolutions.
The New England Annual Conference
Click here for the NEAC Website
The New England Annual Conference got underway in 1789 when Jesse Lee came to the region determined to spread Methodism. With the help of other Circuit Riders from the south, and then with some converts from New England the church spread and grew through the region. The Board of Ordained Ministry is responsible for oversight of the formation and ordination of new clergy, while Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar has the power to appoint clergy to specific congregations. NEAC is divided into 9 districts, each with a superintendent who assists with the work of the Bishop.
SWUMC follows the basic pattern of worship, and the Christian Year outlined in the UM Book of Worship. We generally used the Revised Common Lectionary to guide the theme of each service. We typically celebrate Holy Communion on the first Sunday of each month. We draw from traditional and contemporary sources for our music. Children are encouraged to be with us in worship. We baptize people of all ages, confirm those who were baptized as infants and small children and remember our baptisms at other times during the year. We make an effort for the Sunday School to coordinate with worship, so that what children hear in the first part of worship connects to what they learn in Sunday School which begins at the same time as the sermon.
Rev. Rene Perez, our District Superintendent, has dubbed our district the "Movers and Shakers." Stretching from North Reading in the north, to Orange and Brookfield in the west, to Attleboro in the South our District includes 63 churches. Besides visiting our congregations in person once a year for our Charge Conferences (Annual Meetings), Rev. Perez oversees a range of District events including training courses for laity called Lay Servant Ministries (formerly Lay Speakers).