The UMC in Bulgaria has more than 150 years of history behind it. As a minority denomination, it often struggled to survive – especially in the 40 years after the Second World War when almost all church activities were forbidden.
By 1989, only three of the original 16 local churches had survived. But as a result of a huge commitment, the Church was again structurally organized and filled with life. At the center of this, yet to be finished, growth process, the founding of new churches exists side by side with the consolidation and stabilization of the existing ones.
Many local churches and individuals have recognized that in a society going through a radical transition they are only credible when the proclamation of the Gospel goes hand in hand with practical help. Their current activities therefore combine both words and deeds in many different ways (e.g. soup kitchens, social centers etc.). Children and youth as well as people from the margins of society – particularly members who come from minority groups (Roma, Armenians, Turks) – are given special attention.
One of the results of this service is the fact that the UMC in Bulgaria has succeeded in becoming a model of peaceful coexistence and collaboration of people belonging to various ethnic groups – and this is a very important Christian witness in a region still challenged by ethnic and religious tensions
Population: 7.3 millions
Area: 110,910 km2
UM congregations: 27
Professing members: 1,189
Active Clergy: 19
The Bulgarian parliament passed the final version of the new religious law – after having dropped the most prohibitive provisions. Methodists and adherents of other minority denominations expressed their thankfulness and relief.
The proposed changes to the Bulgarian Religious Law, which would have drastic consequences not only for The United Methodist Church in Bulgaria, cleared a first hurdle.
Proposed amendments to Bulgaria’s Religious Denominations Act could affect financial support for United Methodist pastors, as well as who could serve.
The first ordination of a Romanian United Methodist elder took place on Sunday, March 25, 2018, and was one of the highlights of the 2018 session of the Annual Conference Bulgaria-Romania.