Methodism began as a renewal movement in the 1700s, led by John Wesley, a Church of England priest. Historians have credited the Methodist renewal with sparing England from the bloody revolution that France endured.
After failing as a missionary to America, the young Wesley returned home discouraged. One night at a Bible study in London, Wesley said, "I felt my heart strangely warmed." It was the assurance of salvation he had been seeking and the initial spark of the Methodist movement.
With most of the Anglican clergy leaving the United Stages following the Revolutionary War, Wesley realized the American Methodists needed to be a church. With his blessing, they organized in 1784 as the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Today, Methodism represents many denominations around the world. FaithWestwood is part of the United Methodist Church, a world-wide body of 12.5 million members, with about 60 percent of them living in the United States.