History of the Conference

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The World Methodist Council finds its origins in a conference held in London, England at Wesley’s Chapel in 1881 where some 400 delegates from 30 Methodist bodies around the world gathered in an Ecumenical Methodist Conference.  Thereafter, World Methodist conferences were held every ten years until 1931.   In 1931 a decision was made to organize a Council – a new agency to express the common ideals and objectives of worldwide Methodism. Due to World War II, the Conference would not meet again until 1947 and the organization plans were delayed.   At the 1951 Conference, two decisions were taken to ensure the stability of the conferences: 1) that the name be changed to the World Methodist Council; 2) that the Council should meet at five-year intervals.  In 1956, the World Methodist Council established a permanent headquarters in the United States.

The meetings of the Ecumenical Methodist Conference and, after 1951, of the World Methodist Council have been:

1881 – London, England 1891 – Washington, DC, USA
1901 – London, England 1911 – Toronto, Canada
1921 – London, England 1931 – Atlanta, USA
1947 – Springfield, Mass., USA 1951 – Oxford, England
1956 – Lake Junaluska, USA 1961 – Oslo, Norway
1966 – London, England 1971 – Denver, USA
1976 – Dublin, Ireland 1981 – Honolulu, USA
1986 – Nairobi, Kenya 1991 – Singapore, Singapore
1996 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2001 – Brighton, England
2006 – Seoul, South Korea 2011 – Durban, South Africa
2016 – Houston, Texas USA 2024 – Gothenburg, Sweden

The 2016 World Methodist Conference in Houston, Texas USA aims to continue the legacy of Conferences past and chart course for the next quinquenium.