The #BeUMC campaign reminds us of who we are at our best — the spirit-filled, resilient, connected, missional, faithful, diverse, deeply rooted, committed, disciple-making, Jesus-seeking, generous, justice-seeking, world-changing people of God called The United Methodist Church.
United Methodists are deeply rooted in our Wesleyan heritage and values. Learn more about these roots and explore the roots of your own story. Consider the past sins embedded in our Wesleyan roots and how they contribute to ongoing systemic injustices.
Use the resources here to consider:
- The Roots of The United Methodist Church
- Exploring Your Story
- The Roots of Injustice in The United Methodist Church
The Roots of the UMC
Use these resources to learn more about the history of John and Charles Wesley, Methodism, and The United Methodist Church. Additional resources are listed in the UMC History and UMC History for Children pathfinders.
Methodist Identity: Our Story by Justo González. In eight sessions, the speakers describe the 18th-century Wesleyan revival in England and the growth of Methodism in the United States and around the world.
Revival: Faith as Wesley Lived It by Adam Hamilton. This study features Adam Hamilton guiding us through a six-week Bible study tracing the life of John Wesley throughout England.
Wesley: A Heart Transformed Can Change the World. Wesley’s fascinating spiritual struggle is presented in this award-winning feature film based on John’s own private journals.
Sweet Singer: A Musical about Charles Wesley with Eight Study Sessions by S. T. Kimbrough. This musical drama tells the story behind many of Wesley’s greatest hymns which were born out of crisis, conflict, violence, oppression, opposition, and great faith, and which are still timely today.
Submitting to Be More Vile: The Illustrated Adventures of John & Charles Wesley by Charlie Baber. NC Conference Pastor Charlie Baber teaches Wesleyan theology, history, and practice through his Wesley Bros Comics. You can find more of his work in his online webcomics.
Mothers in Israel: Methodist Beginnings Through the Eyes of Women by Donna L. Fowler-Marchant. Discover the richness of the legacy of early Methodist women through this exploration of their own theological writings and reflections and their message for the Church today in this book by NC Conference Pastor Donna Fowler-Marchant.
Praying with the Wesleys: Foundations of Methodist Spirituality by John R. Tyson. This book looks at the roots, impact, and trajectories of early Methodist spirituality.
Wesley for Armchair Theologians by William J. Abraham. This book is an excellent, entertaining, and expert guide to the work of this John Wesley.
The Making of Methodism by Barrie Tabraham. This book tells the story of the beginning and early growth of Methodism, with extracts from original sources such as John Wesley’s Journal, letters, and church statements.
Reclaiming the Wesleyan Social Witness: Offering Christ by L. Faye Short and Kathryn D. Kiser. This book explores the roots of the Wesleyan tradition and traces Methodism’s fusion of soul-seeking gospel proclamation with a focus on social witness and political matters.
John Wesley for the 21st Century by John O. Gooch. This book connects contemporary readers to their Wesleyan heritage by comparing contemporary issues to topics Wesley addressed during his day.
Reclaiming the Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today by Douglas M. Strong and others. In this 13-week study, the authors return to the roots of Methodist tenets of salvation and help people understand and apply Wesley’s teachings to their lives.
Exploring Your Story
Use these resources to discover your own story as a United Methodist Christian so that you can share your story with others.
What’s Your Story? Seeing Your Life Through God’s Eyes (DVD) by Sarah Heath. In exploring Joseph’s life, you’ll discover how to see your life through God’s eyes and learn how to co-create a real page-turning story of your own.
The Rewritten Life: When God Changes Your Story (DVD) by Jessica LaGrone. God wants you to rewrite your story so that you may become and do all that is planned for you—all for God’s glory.
God’s Story, Your Story: When His Becomes Yours (DVD) by Max Lucado. Lucado reveals how your life story is part of a grand, overarching narrative, and helps you see between the lines to witness God’s hand at work.
Remembering Your Story: Creating Your Own Spiritual Autobiography by Richard L. Morgan. A guidebook for people working in small groups in a process of reflecting on individual faith stories.
Spoken Into Being: Divine Encounters Through Story by Michael E. Williams. In this book on storytelling as spiritual exploration, Williams shares stories from his life and offers practical prompts that guide us to tell our own stories.
Living as United Methodist Christians: Our Story, Our Beliefs, Our Lives by Andy and Sally Langford. These six sessions will help learners hear and claim for themselves the Christian story, particular emphases and beliefs of United Methodists, and ways to live as a United Methodist Christian.
Know Your Story and Lead with It: The Power of Narrative in Clergy Leadership by Richard L. Hester & Kelli Walker-Jones. The aim of this book is to show leaders how to explore their story of reality, tell it to other group members, and consider how it can be used as a resource for leadership.
Lay Speakers Tell Stories by Ray Buckley. Participants will learn what makes a good story, discover their own style as a storyteller, study the techniques of effective storytelling, and practice creating stories from their own experiences. This course is designed for Lay Servant Ministries but can be useful to others. The companion book is Dancing with Words: Storytelling as Legacy, Culture and Faith.
Sharing #BeUMC Stories
The NC Conference has recorded videos of our members telling why they are #BeUMC. Share these videos in your congregation and consider making your own. Here is how to share your #BeUMC story with the NC Conference and on social media.
Your Story and Racial Injustice
Use these resources to guide you in considering how your story has intersected with racial injustice.
Healing Haunted Histories: A Settler Discipleship of Decolonization by Elaine Enns and Ched Myers. Part memoir, part social, historical, and theological analysis, and part practical workbook, this process invites settler Christians (and other people of faith) into a discipleship of decolonization.
Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North (DVD) by Katrina Browne. This personal documentary tells the story of Katrina Browne’s New England ancestors, the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. At Browne’s urging, nine fellow descendants of her prominent family agree to journey with her to retrace the steps of the Triangle Trade.
Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving. As Irving unpacks her own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, she reveals how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived ideas about race. Exercises at the end of each chapter prompt readers to explore their own racialized ideas.
What Does It Mean to Be White? Developing White Racial Literacy by Robin DiAngelo. DiAngelo describes how race shapes the lives of white people, explains what makes racism so hard to see, identifies common white racial patterns, and speaks back to popular narratives that work to deny racism.
The Roots of Injustice in the UMC
The United Methodist Church has been and continues to be complicit in injustice. Use these resources to explore this history and inform your present-day response.
We’ve Come This Far By Faith: A History of Black Methodism in the Southeastern Jurisdiction (DVD). This DVD represents the history of African Americans in the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the UMC.
Black Methodism: Legacy of Faith Revival (DVD) by The General Commission on Religion and Race. Celebrates the end of the racially segregated Central Jurisdiction in 1967; the founding of Black Methodists for Church Renewal in 1967; the birth through merger of The Methodist Church in 1968; the establishment of the General Commission on Religion and Race in 1968.
Race and Christianity in the United States (Online) by Sarah Ruble. This free online video curriculum focuses on the history of black/white relations in the U.S. and considers how race and Christianity have interacted, for good and for ill. Several of the sessions specifically address Methodism.
I’m Black. I’m Christian. I’m Methodist. edited by Rudy Rasmus. Ten Black women and men explore life through the lens of compelling personal religious narratives. These narratives include much information about the history of race relations in the UMC.
Just Us or Justice? Moving Toward a Pan-Methodist Theology by F. Douglas Powe, Jr. Powe lays the foundation for a Pan-Methodist theology, which will draw from the strengths of African American and Wesley theologies.
Methodism’s Racial Dilemma: The Story of the Central Jurisdiction by James S. Thomas. History of the Central Jurisdiction that was created for African American members of the merger in 1939 of The Methodist Episcopal Church, The Methodist Episcopal Church South, and The Methodist Protestant Church.
Massacre at Sand Creek: How Methodists Were Involved in an American Tragedy by Gary L. Roberts. At dawn on the morning of November 29, 1864, Colonel John Milton Chivington, a Methodist pastor, gave the command that led to the slaughter of 230 peaceful Cheyennes and Arapahos–primarily women, children, and elderly–camped under the protection of the U. S. government along Sand Creek in Colorado Territory and flying both an American flag and a white flag.
First White Frost: Native Americans and United Methodism by Homer Noley. The history of the Methodist’s attempt to evangelize Native Americans is riddled with spectacular failures and dramatic successes. Noley writes a rich understanding of Methodist missionary activities with Native Americans from the 1600s.
Gender and Sexuality Injustice
The books about Black women fall into both this and the above category but are included here to more evenly distribute the number in each category.
Pioneer Black Clergywomen: Stories of Black Clergywomen of the United Methodist Church 1974-2016 by Josephine Whitely-Fields. Black clergywomen have endured many challenges and injustices in the predominately white male vocation. However, they have also experienced accomplishments and victories, despite the opposition, that were made possible by the intervening power of God through prayer, hard work, perseverance, and the efforts of other women and men of various races and cultures in the United Methodist Church, other faith persuasions, and members of the greater society.
Breaking Barriers: An African American Family & the Methodist Story by Angella P. Current. On July 19, 1984, Leontine Current Kelly was elected bishop of The United Methodist Church, making her the first African-American woman to become a bishop within a major American religious denomination. This book recounts the story of her journey and that historic achievement.
Women Bishops of The United Methodist Church: Extraordinary Gifts of the Spirit by Sharon Zimmerman Rader and Margaret Ann Crain. Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader and Dr. Margaret Ann Crain interviewed the women bishops of The United Methodist Church, the first denomination to elect women to the episcopacy. Their stories reveal how these clergywomen changed the church, blazing leadership trails both before and after their elections.
Journey of Women Toward Ordination in the United Methodist Tradition by Carrie W. Parrish. A history of the ordination of United Methodist women with special attention to the North Carolina Conference.
Entangled: A History of American Methodism, Politics, and Sexuality by Ashley Boggan Dreff. This book maps how American Methodists have responded to sexual change since World War II.
A History of Incompatibility (Online) by Charlie Baber. NC Conference Pastor Charlie Baber has created this webcomic series that details the history of the debate around the passage in the Book of Discipline that reads that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian doctrine.”