History of the Methodist Church of Mexico
Bishop Gilbert Haven was sent to explore possibilities for work in Mexico until Dr. Butler arrived. Haven landed in Veracruz December 28, 1872, making his way to the Capital on the new railroad's first run from the port city.
As John Wesley had organized the first Methodist Society in 1739 with 10 persons, so, likewise, did Bishop Haven organize the first class of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Mexico on January 26, 1873, with ten persons. From this group Gabriel Ponce de Leon and Dr. Ignacio Ramirez became the first two national preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Mexico.
Dr. William Butler and part of his family were welcomed to Mexico on their arrival February 23, 1873, by Bishop Gilbert Haven and Dr. Julio A. Skilton, American Consul in Mexico City. The Bishop and Butler, the Superintendent, visited Pachuca, Puebla, Cuernavaca and other places, making plans for the work.
Southern churches in Texas became aware of the events in Mexico.
In 1868 an American traveler brought word to Reverend John Christian Keener, then editor of the CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE about an opportunity for spreading the Gospel in Mexico through a group of people meeting spontaneously to study Christian literature and The Bible.
It was not until after the Rev. Keener was elected Bishop at the 1870 General Conference, however, that anything could be done, because of the United States' Civil War. In 1873 Bishop Keener attended the Anniversary of the Board of Missions and was invited to speak. Seizing the opportunity, he spoke of “the Macedonian Call” that had reached him five years before.
When this report by Bishop Keener was finished, a layman called to him from the back of the congregation, saying, “Would you go to Mexico to start work there if the money were available?”
The Bishop's answer was, “Yes!”
Bishop Keener arrived at the port of Veracruz, made the trip to the Capital by train and arrived January 21, 1873. He soon related himself to a group of liberals who were meeting in the side street of “Las Capuchinas”. Sostenes Juarez and Elias Mota were in the group, and Juarez was elected president. Soon they purchased the chapel of the recently destroyed Convent of the Capuchinas on the corner of Calle 57 and Conceles, repaired the building, and adapted it to its new use. In time it became the home of the first Southern Methodist Church in Mexico with the name “El Mesias”.
1885 marks the organization of the first Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Mexico.
On February 25, 1886 Bishop J.C. Keener crowned his work by organizing the Central Mexican Conference with five Districts: Mexico, San Luis Potosi, Puebla, Morelos, and Guadalajara. These Annual Conferences continued in operation until 1930 when they became part of the autonomous national Methodist Church of Mexico.
Over the years the Methodist Episcopal and the Methodist Episcopal Church South, which entered Mexico in the 1870s, have had the opportunity to work together in many ways.
In 1923, the Bishop of the Central Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church was George A. Miller, an estimable person who spoke Spanish well. It was he who presented a plan to accomplish union of the two Methodist Churches in Mexico. Both Conferences readily accepted the idea and named commissions to study ways of implementing the plan.
On the 7th and 8th of July, 1930, official representatives of the Mother Churches and of the Mexican Annual Conferences gathered in one of the rooms at the Union Evangelical Center located on the Fifth Street of Nuevo Mexico No. 110 in Mexico City.
After four sessions presided over by Bishop Candler, some important decisions were made, among them these: --
that the two Conferences should be united in the METHODIST CHURCH OF MEXICO
then, the date and place of the first General Conference of the new church were decided; the Constitution and Discipline were approved , as well as the form of election and consecration of the bishops.
The First General Conference of the Methodist Church of Mexico was celebrated on Tuesday, September 16, 1930. There were ninety-two charter members under the presidency of Dr. Victoriano D. Baez. On September 21, after being duly elected , Juan Nicanor Pascoe was consecrated the first Bishop.
The Methodist Joint Commission for Church Extension in Mexico
In September 1964 Bishop Alejandro Ruiz made a survey of conditions and needs in Sonora and Baja California.
In May of 1965 the Bishop visited the Mexicali Valley to see the expanding Methodist work in the area. He met the Reverend Lyman Ellis, then Pastor of Calexico United Methodist Church, who had been very active in work across the Border. Bishop Ruiz indicated to the Reverend Ellis that he would like for him to serve as co-ordinator of a committee to give guidance, direction, and support to the Districts of the Northern Conference of the Methodist Church in Mexico.
Bishop Ruiz suggested that the Committee include persons from both sides of the border. Such a committee was duly organized in September of 1965, with Reverend Lyman Ellis of the Southern California-Arizona Annual Conference, and the Reverend Ernesto Mellado, a pastor from the Mexican Methodist Church, as co-chairmen.
This group was first called the JOINT COMMISSION FOR CHURCH EXTENSION IN THE BAJA-SONORA DISTRICT.
The space for this web site has been provided courtesy of the General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church . The content of these pages is the responsibility of the Joint Commission for Church Extension in Mexico .