Connection and Connectionalism

Russell E. Richey

in The Oxford Handbook of Methodist Studies

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199696116
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Connection and Connectionalism

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Connection and connectionalism have multiple, complex, interlacing, and changing meanings. The terms designate Methodism's origins; relationships that existed among the preachers and peoples and between them and Mr Wesley; ordained ministerial status and conference membership; conference structures that governed whatever the actions or measures or processes that held the movement together, i.e., that connected; the evolving movement as institution or polity; a theology, or, specifically, an ecclesiology, often more implicit than explicit; an organisational classification; the consequent presumption that Methodism and Methodists would adhere or connect; and therefore a denominational self-understanding. This article explores these complex meanings, looking at connectionalism as (i) commitment; (ii) competing connectional principles, specifically those of work, authority, and power; (iii) adhesive or connective mechanisms – what actually connected period to period; (iv) denominational classification; and (v) Christian conferencing as practice and ecclesiology.

Keywords: Methodism; Methodists; commitment; correctional principles; connective mechanisms; denominational classification; Christian conferencing

Article.  7515 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Christianity

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