John Cennick was born in Berkshire, England in 1718. At the age of 17 he joined the Methodist church and became a preacher.
George Whitefield (1714-1770) was one of the great names in evangelism. He was born in Gloucester, England, and entered Oxford in 1733.
John Wesley (1703-1791), the founder of Methodism, attended Oxford University in 1720 and was ordained deacon in 1725. He returned to Oxford in 1729 and became the leader of the “holy club” or Methodists, which had been organized during his absence by his brother, Charles.
Charles Wesley (1708-1788) has been called “the poet of Methodism.” Born in Epworth, England in 1707 he was educated at Westminster School and Oxford University, where he took his degree in 1728.
Augustus Montague Toplady (1740-1778) was born in Surrey, England to an affluent family. He visited Ireland at the age of 16 and converted to Christianity at a service held in a barn – an experience he considered both ironic and providential since he had felt no spiritual yearnings at the grand cathedral his family attended.
Edward Perronet (1726-1792), an Independent English clergyman, was the son of Vincent Perronet, vicar of Shoreham, who was a friend and supporter of the Wesleys.
Adam Clarke (c. 1762-1832) was a Methodist minister, commentator, and theologian. He was born in Ireland and, after receiving a very limited education, was apprenticed to a linen manufacturer.
The United Methodist Church has a complex heritage that has predisposed it toward an eclectic style of worship and given it an openness to influences from many Christian traditions and contemporary worship renewal movements.