Methodist Church in Austria
The Evangelical Methodist Church in Austria is part of the worldwide Evangelical Methodist Church (UMC). Its beginnings go back to 1870. Today it has about 1500 members. It stands in Wesleyan tradition, which goes back to John Wesley .
On its website, the UMC in Austria formulates as follows: “The focus of our church life is God's love, which is expressed in Jesus Christ and applies to all people.” Methodist missionary work in Austria was characterized by great social commitment. The Methodists baptize infants, but they only become members when they join. There are male and female pastors.
In an introductory brochure with the title Evangelical Methodist in Austria from 2013, the Evangelical Methodist Church in Austria presented its understanding of the Christian faith. In doing so, it also addressed the process of biblical interpretation by - following the "Quadrilateral" ( square ) by John Wesley - named "four criteria" which "contribute to the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures", namely the Bible (ie the consideration of other biblical passages, ultimately the dogmatic image obtained from previous Bible reading), the tradition (ie the previous interpretation of the Christianity, as it is reflected for example in Bible commentaries) and (life) experience ; the participation of reason as an aid in "processing" affects all of these factors.
In the 2001 census, which also recorded religious affiliation, 1263 people (Austrian citizens plus foreigners living in Austria) stated that they were Methodists. In Austria there are ten Methodist churches: four in Vienna and one each in Bregenz , Graz , Linz , Ried im Innkreis , Salzburg and St. Pölten .
In 1951 the Methodist Church in Austria became a legally recognized church . The name was changed to the United Methodist Church in Austria in 2004.
Bishop Patrick Streiff is responsible for the Central Conference Central and Southern Europe . In addition to Austria, this region also includes Belgium, France, Switzerland and some Eastern European countries as well as currently two North African countries. The delegates of this region meet every four years for the central decision-making conference, which is chaired by the bishop. The Austrian district meets for an annual conference, chaired by the superintendent (currently Pastor Stefan Schröckenfuchs in Vienna).
Until about 1970 Methodists were heavily involved in the Evangelical Alliance ; Superintendent Hinrich Bargmann worked on its board for a long time, during the Second World War as its chairman. Since about 1970 (the year in which the Roman Catholic Church in Austria became an “observer” in the World Council of Churches in Austria (ÖRKÖ)), cooperation within the framework of the ÖRKÖ has come to the fore for the Methodists. For the period from 2014 to 2017, the Evangelical Methodist Superintendent Lothar Pöll was elected chairman of the ÖRKÖ. In the meantime there is church fellowship with the Evangelical Churches AB and HB , which is practiced as pulpit and communion fellowship and in joint religious instruction.
In 2013, the free churches in Austria were legally recognized as an independent religious community. The UMC does not fall under this legal concept. The UMC in Austria therefore does not use the term free church for itself, even if the UMC is often classified as such in the German-speaking area.
The Austrian Methodist Church was a founding of the British Wesleyan Church . In January 1870 the South German Methodists sent a lay preacher to Vienna: Christian Dieterle. At that time there was already a Baptist church in Vienna . As religious communities not recognized by the state, both free churches were repeatedly suppressed by the authorities at the end of the Habsburg monarchy. The full-time preacher was essential for Methodist missionary work. In 1876 Christoph Beutenmüller succeeded Dieterle. This was followed by Johann Rück in 1880 and Friedrich Rösch in 1888. Rösch got in contact with Baroness Amelie von Langenau, who joined the Methodists and was very important in the 1890s, also through her wealth. She supported the establishment of the union between the Wesleyan congregations and the Episcopal Methodist Church in 1897, also financially.
From 1911 FH Otto Melle worked in Vienna; later he had important functions in Germany: director of the theological seminary, then bishop. The Alliance prayer week in the war year 1917 stuck in his memory.
Through a strong membership growth after 1900, several Methodist congregations emerged in Vienna. The large number of Methodist preachers at that time is striking: at the meetings of the Evangelical Alliance in Vienna in the 1920s, around ten Methodist preachers and a few deaconesses were named.
- Helmut Nausner: The Methodist Church in Austria until 1920. In: Communications of the Study Community for the History of the Evangelical Methodist Church, New Series, vol. 20 (1999), no. 1, pp. 3–21.
- Helmut Nausner: The Episcopal Methodist Church in Austria and National Socialism. A critical and appreciative inventory of the years 1933 to 1945 based on letters, minutes, reports and articles in independent church journals . In: Yearbook for the history of Protestantism in Austria. 124/125 (2008/09), pp. 246-269.
- Manfred Pöll: Milk coffee with skin. Memories, essays, testimonials [memories from the post-war period]. Methodist Church in Austria, Vienna 1996.
- Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer : Free churches in Austria since 1846. On the sources and on questions of method . In: Yearbook for the History of Protestantism in Austria, 124/125 (2008/09), pp. 270–302.
- Patrick Streiff: Methodism in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. Media work of the UMC (Germany), o. O. 2003.
- Paul Ernst Hammer: Baroness Amelie von Langenau [1830–1902]. Methodist Church in Austria (self-published), Vienna 2001.
- http://www.emk.at/ (accessed on July 2, 2012).
- Methodist in Austria , Vienna 2013, p. 20.
- As explained by Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer in the preface: Why Christians have different opinions on Peter Streitenberger: The five points of Calvinism from a biblical perspective. VTR, Nuremberg 2011, pp. 7-10. There, the psychological disposition (e.g. tendency to fear) of the Bible reader is mentioned as a further criterion.
- Statistics Austria: 2001 Census.
- Ordinance of the Federal Ministry of Education of February 24, 1951, regarding the recognition of the followers of the Methodist creed as a religious society (recognition of the Methodist Church) . Federal Law Gazette No. 74/1951 , i. d. F. BGBl. II No. 190/2004 (name change).
- Renaming of the Methodist Church in Austria , Livenet (Christian web portal), News .
- http://www.umc-europe.org/belgien_d.php (accessed: March 26, 2016)
- Frank Hinkelmann: denominational studies. Handbook of the Churches, Free Churches and Christian Communities in Austria . OM Books, o. O. 2009, pp. 107-110.
- Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer (ed.): Evangelical Alliance in Vienna from the First Republic to the Nazi era (1920–1945). Edition of the meeting minutes and programs (= studies on the history of Christian movements of the Reformation tradition in Austria , 2), VKW, Bonn 2010.
- So with Hans Schwarz : Art. Free Church . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie XI (1983), pp. 550-563, esp. 554, 558. The yearbook Free Church Research includes the Methodists in comparative studies and in the bibliography.
- Klaus Schneider (ed.): Footprints of God in my life [Melle's autobiography]. Selbstverlag, 2005, pp. 229–235.
- Graf-Stuhlhofer: Evangelical Alliance , register.
- Some of his statements at the time with Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer: Jews and Free Churches in Austria. The attitude of the free churches in Austria at the time of National Socialism, illustrated above all by the example of the preachers Arnold Köster (Baptist) and Hinrich Bargmann (Methodist). In: Daniel Heinz (Ed.): Free churches and Jews in the “Third Reich” (Church - Denomination - Religion; 54). V&R unipress, Göttingen 2011, pp. 311-330.