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United Methodist Church

The United Methodist Church (UMC) is a mainline Protestant denomination and a major part of Methodism. In the 19th century, its main predecessor, the Methodist Episcopal Church, was a leader in evangelicalism. The present denomination was founded in 1968 in Dallas, Texas, by union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church. The UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley in England, as well as the Great Awakening in the United States. As such, the church's theological orientation is decidedly Wesleyan. It embraces liturgical, holiness, and evangelical elements.

The United Methodist Church has a connectional polity, a typical feature of a number of Methodist denominations. It is organized into conferences. The highest level is called the General Conference and is the only organization which may speak officially for the UMC. The church is a member of the World Council of Churches, the World Methodist Council, and other religious associations.

With at least 12 million members as of 2014, the UMC is the largest denomination within the wider Methodist movement of approximately 80 million people across the world. In the United States, the UMC ranks as the largest mainline Protestant denomination, the largest Protestant church after the Southern Baptist Convention, and the third largest Christian denomination. In 2014, its worldwide membership was distributed as 7 million in the United States and 4.4 million in Africa, Asia and Europe. In 2015, Pew Research estimated that 3.6 percent of the US population, or 9 million adult adherents, self-identify with the United Methodist Church revealing a much larger number of adherents than registered membership.

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