Archives & History

Celebrating United Methodist Heritage Sunday

This stained glass window at Wesley Memorial Methodist Church in Epworth, England features John and Charles Wesley. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications
This stained glass window at Wesley Memorial Methodist Church in Epworth, England features John and Charles Wesley. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

Editor’s Note: The Rev. Alfred Day’s message and the other resources for Heritage Sunday can inspire and strengthen your congregation now or when you return to in-person/online worship later this spring or summer. If you are not able to observe Heritage Sunday on the official day, include it in your worship planning for later in the year.

United Methodist churches observe Heritage Sunday on Aldersgate Day (May 24), or the Sunday preceding that date. During 2020, the church has experienced the health and economic crises resulting from the COVID-19 global pandemic. Easter celebrations happened in our homes. General Conference 2020 was postponed. Our ways of doing ministry have been upended and – in many cases – expanded. It is for this time that the Rev. Alfred Day III, general secretary of the General Commission on Archives and History, shares a message of history and hope.

Summarizing his Heritage Sunday 2020 message, Day says:

Heritage Sunday 2020 was to focus on highly anticipated divisions to our beloved Church post General Conference 2020 in Minneapolis, giving consideration to what our history might offer to ‘just such a time as this.’ The COVID-19 pandemic may have changed the special Sunday’s context but not how the denomination’s legacy will inspire, support and serve the Church in a different, now pandemic-driven 'new normal' we did not expect. 

“The next few years of The UMC’s life will be both challenging and formative. What insight does our shared history offer to United Methodists’ thoughts and feelings at ‘just such a time as this?’  What stories do we need to remember and retell?  What lessons may be learned from the church's actions in past pandemics?”

Share this 20-minute sermon with your church on Heritage Sunday. Or use this abbreviated video message on your church website or via social media on Facebook and other platforms. The videos were produced by United Methodist Communications in partnership with the General Commission on Archives and History.

Also available for download is “Credo,” a virtual choir anthem. Produced by Discipleship Ministries and United Methodist Communications for Heritage Sunday, it is also appropriate for Pentecost, Trinity Sunday or confirmation worship services.


Heritage Sunday resources