Wesleyan Reform Union

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The Wesleyan Reform Union is an independent Methodist Connexion founded in 1859 and based in the United Kingdom. The Union comprises around one hundred individual self-governing churches in England and Scotland. Beliefs are set out in a nine point Confession of Faith.



The Wesleyan Reform Union was founded in 1859 by members of the Wesleyan Reform movement. [1] The leaders of the Wesleyan Reformers had been expelled from the Wesleyan Methodist Church at its Manchester Conference in 1849. [2] The expelled ministers and first leaders of the Wesleyan Reformers were James Everett, William Griffith and Samuel Dunn. [2] In 1857, the major part of the Wesleyan Reformers joined other Methodist groups to form the United Methodist Free Churches but a minority joined together to establish the Wesleyan Reform Union two years later.

Wesleyan Reform Union communicants were reported to number 8,147 by 1876. [3] Membership statistics from 1903 show the Union had 17 ministers, 193 churches, 7,858 members and 20,953 pupils. [4] A proposal to unite with the Methodist Church was overwhelmingly rejected at the 1936 conference. [5]

Confession of Faith

The Wesleyan Reform Union Confession of Faith was accepted at a conference in 1970, and later modified by conference of 2008:


The head of the Wesleyan Reform Union is the Union President, who presides over the General Committee. The General Committee consists of up to 20 elected members plus representatives from various Union committees. There is also a President Designate. People are elected to each of these positions annually by delegates to a Conference. The General Secretary takes care of business matters.

At the local level, churches follow one of two schemes. A church may elect a President and a Vice President, or it may elect a Leadership Group. These positions are generally voted on annually. In the case of a Leadership Group, a Minister may also be elected. The Union maintains a list of approved ministers although churches are at liberty to appoint others not on the list. Some churches have had women pastors for a number of years and in 2016 the Union ordained and received a female minister onto its approved list for the first time. The position of Trustees may be implemented as well.[ clarification needed ]

Wesleyan Reform Union churches are self-governing, this being the principal point of difference with the Methodist Church. [1] Local leadership has final authority in local matters. Many churches are organized into Circuits which have four Quarterly Meetings each year.

The WRU's headquarters are in Jump, Barnsley, [6] and it has around 100 congregations across Yorkshire, the Midlands, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Cornwall, and Scotland.

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  1. 1 2 "A Brief Introduction to the History of the Wesleyan Reform Union of Churches". Wesleyan Reform Union of Churches. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  2. 1 2 David Barton, "By Schisms Rent Usunder": The Wesleyan Reform Movement in Derbyshire, Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society, May 1999
  3. "Industrial, Statistical and Technical". Crawfordsville Star. 27 July 1876. p. 6. Retrieved 21 November 2022 via Google Books.
  4. "Recent Methodist statistics for Great Britain and Ireland". Boston Evening Transcript . 9 September 1903. p. 17. Retrieved 20 November 2022 via Google Books.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. "No union with Methodist Church". The Glasgow Herald. 8 July 1936. p. 8. Retrieved 21 November 2022 via Google Books.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. Wesleyan Reform Union, WRU Headquarters, accessed 15 March 2018