Charles Doud/The Madera Tribune
Counterclockwise from upper left are Methodists Carl Janzen, Bobby and Alice Carter, John Sudduth, Nancy and David Simpson and Bonnie Mazzoni.
The congregations of two venerable Madera churches — Madera United Methodist Church and Trinity Lutheran Church — are contemplating a merger.
About 70 of the congregants met Saturday afternoon at the Methodist social hall on Sunset Avenue to get to know one another better, share a potluck and learn the lore of the two Protestant denominations which trace their roots back to Martin Luther and John and Charles Wesley.
John Wesley was born in 1703 and lived to be 87. His brother, Charles, was a prominent Methodist clergyman best known for writing some 6,000 hymns, many of which remain in use today. One of them, “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” is the first hymn in the Methodist Hymnal.
Martin Luther, a German Catholic priest, college professor and composer, who was born in 1483 and lived to be 62, was one of the founders of the Reformation on which most of Protestantism is based. His most widely published hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” is possibly the most-sung hymn in Christendom, and is regarded as the single most powerful hymn, the “battle hymn of the Reformation.” The words are a paraphrase of Psalm 46.
Another congregation also has found a home with the local Methodists. They are the remnants of Madera’s Trinity Episcopal Church, which was dissolved by Bishop John David Scofield in 2012. The Episcopalians and the Methodists often worship with one another now, sharing facilities and services, especially during Lent and in celebration of other movable feast days.
For example, Ash Wednesday this year will be observed on Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. at Madera United Methodist Church.