United Methodist Free Church
United Methodist Free Church an English branch of the Methodists which was formed in 1857, when the Wesleyan Methodist Association and the larger portion of Wesleyan Reformers amalgamated. The origin of this Church dates back to 1827, when trouble arose in Leeds in reference to the introduction of an organ into Brunswick Chapel. This resulted in the organization of the Protestant Methodists, who had a separate existence until 1836, when they became merged in the denomination formed in that year, and known subsequently as the Wesleyan Methodist Association. The immediate occasion of the formation of the latter body was the determination of the conference to establish a theological seminary. The Wesleyan Methodist Association retained its separate identity till 1857, when, by uniting with the Wesleyan Reformers, it became merged in the United Methodist Free churches. The union was completed, and the name adopted, in the town of Rochdale. This body is the third in numerical importance of English Methodist denominations, having its seat principally in England. Only three of its circuits are in Scotland, and it has no footing in Ireland. It has missionary stations in Jamaica, Victoria, Queensland, New Zealand, Eastern Africa, and China. The constitution of the body is democratic, the members of its annual assembly being freely chosen representatives. This assembly does not regulate the internal affairs of circuits, they being independent, except on matters of connectional import. The home circuits are divided into districts; but the district meetings do not wield any important functions. The various schemes, funds, and institutions of the body are entrusted during the year to committees which are, for the most part, elected annually. It is so with the Collectional Committee (which may be regarded as the executive of the body), with the Foreign Missionary Committee, the Chapel Fund Committee, the Superannuation Committee, and the Book- room Committee. Ashville College is governed, by a body of trustees elected for life, and a committee of six elected for three years, but so arranged that two retire each year. The Theological Institute is governed by a body of trustees elected for life, and nine others chosen annually. The connectional officers are the president of the assembly, the connectional secretary, the connectional treasurer, and the corresponding secretary.
In 1883 their statistical report showed as follows:
See Simpson, Cyclop. of Methodism, s.v. SEE METHODISM, 8.