Apr 15, 2024 | John W. Coleman

Enjoy a timely video course on Methodist history

As we look forward to what will no doubt be a historic United Methodist General Conference, it’s a good time to also look back at the highlights and lowlights that brought us to this turning point in our Methodist story. “Radicle Methodism: Back to our Roots,” a four-part, in-depth history course, produced by the General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH), takes us on that fascinating journey

The course includes videos, discussion questions, suggested readings, a leader’s guide and more. It’s ideal for lifelong United Methodists, new members, confirmation classes, Sunday Schools and small groups. And even better, it’s available now at no cost to individuals, congregations, annual conferences and anyone interested in examining Methodism from its earliest days to the present.

Oh, and about that strange word “Radicle” in the title? “It’s not a typo,” says Dr. Ashley Boggan, GCAH general secretary, who developed the course, “but rather a word referring to the foundational part of a plant.” It’s the genesis, the first part of a plant’s seedling or embryo to emerge from the seed during the process of germination.

Hosts of “Radicle Methodism,” Dr. Ashley Boggan D. (seated, middle), general secretary of the General Commission on Archives and History), and Rev. Chris Heckert (seated, right), lead pastor at Haddonfield UMC, prepare to be video recorded by Haddonfield UMC staff (front) Megan Martin, director of communication ministries, and Aidan Murray, production intern. Crystal Caviness photo

“In the four modules, we look at the denomination’s heritage that is rooted in John Wesley,” Boggan explains, “journeying across centuries to follow the radicle of Methodism as it spread and its leaves and branches emerged.”

Greater New Jersey Conference users will see one of their own in “Radicle Methodism.” The Rev. Chris Heckert, senior pastor at Haddonfield United Methodist Church, joins Boggan as a co-presenter of the course. He and Boggan recorded video segments, with help from staff, in the church’s makeshift video studio. Then United Methodist Communications in Nashville completed the production work.

Haddonfield UMC also conducted a pilot study engaging 60 people to test the resource in a hybrid format, with 30 students in the room and 30 students participating via Zoom. “It was a pretty awesome experience,” said Heckert. To learn more contact Heckert at checkert@haddonfieldumc.org.

People love learning more about our Methodist DNA

In fact, he has been using the videos and course guides to teach a class of over 40 people for four weeks. “It has gone exceedingly well,” he said. “People are loving learning more about our Methodist DNA; and it is sparking good dialog around issues of race, gender, technology and the church of the future. I believe that any church could really benefit from learning more about Wesleyan/Methodist history.”

The class is available via GCAH’s Teachable.com site. In addition, the United Methodist Publishing House’s streaming media platform, Amplify Media, is now offering “Radicle Methodism” as free content to its subscribers.

Preview “Radicle Methodism” in the introduction video. You can also access the modules and other materials at for free at UM History Hub. One great idea is to use this resource to prepare for our United Methodist celebration of Heritage Sunday on May 19 (also Pentecost Sunday).

The UMC is at a crucial turning point,” said Boggan. “The goal of this course is to remind everyone what it means to be Wesleyan, to be Methodist, and to be United Methodist and how we move forward as a connected people.”