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Photo courtesy of General Board of Church and Society

An actor recounts the history of the United Methodist Building and that of its original occupant, the Methodist Board of Temperance and Public Morals.

Timeline illustrates living faith


March-April 2016

1879: Francis Willard, a Methodist from Chicago, becomes leader of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union

1904: General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church establishes "Temperance Society;" Bishop William McDowell named president

1908: General Conference adopts "Social Creed of Methodism" supporting abolition of child labor, a "living wage in every industry," the "highest wage that each industry can afford" and use of arbitration and reconciliation in industrial dissentions

1910: The Rev. Clarence True Wilson appointed as first field secretary of Temperance Society; office is in Chicago

1912: Church Temperance Society becomes Board of Temperance; relocates to Topeka, Kansas

1912: Federal Council of Churches adopts "Social Creed of the Churches" based on the 1908 Social Creed; affirms care of "workers in their old age"

1916: General Conference approves "Child Welfare Society;" declares it a sin to obtain a liquor license

1916: General Conference moves Board of Temperance, Prohibition and Public Morals to Washington, D.C.

1920: Prohibition signed into law

1924: Methodist Building on Capitol Hill opens on Jan. 16

1924: General Conference approves new section of The Book of Discipline on "World Peace"

1932: General Conerence affirms "conscientious objector" option

1932: Federal Council of Churches approves "Social Ideals," including statements on agriculture, race relations, free speech and humane prison reform

1934: Methodist Episcopal Church, South amends and approves Federal Council of Church's "Social Ideals"

1939: Merger of Methodist Episcopal Church, Methodist Episcopal Church, South and Methodist Protestant Church; new Social Creed created based on the "Social Ideals"

1940: General Conference establishes Commission on World Peace

1944: General Conference passes resolutions on immigration, war and economic justice

1952: General Conference establishes Board of Social and Economic Relations

1956: General Conference declares "capital punishment" incompatible with Christian teaching; approves full clergy rights for women

1960: General Conference forms Board of Christian Social Concerns consolidating temperance, world peace and economic relations to be located in Washington, D.C.

1963: Division on World Peace establishes office at The Church Center for the United Nations in New York

1960s:  Board of Social Concerns supports Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Immigration and Nationality Act; opposes war in Vietnam and nuclear weapons proliferation

1968: Union of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church creates The United Methodist Church

1972: General Conference creates General Board of Church and Society (GBCS); adopts new "Social Principles," including a section on "The Natural World"

1992: General Conference supports right to "job at a living wage"

2002: GBCS and National Council of Churches convene faith and peace organizations in effort to head off invasion of Iraq; GBCS joins coalition supporting McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act (passed)

2004: General Conference changes stand on alcohol to allow "judicious use ... with Scripture as guide"

2008: General Conference adopts "A Companion Litany to Our Social Creed"

2010: GBCS active in coalition of faith groups supporting the Affordable Care Act (passed)

2014-15: GBCS leads consultations as a first step toward drafting new "Social Principles"

Based on information provided by the Rev. Clayton Childers, director of annual conference relations, General Board of Church and Society, and Kurt Karandy, Ph.D. candidate in American religious history at Princeton University