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Near-Insurmountable Challenges and Persistent Hope

Methodism did not function in a void. It was carrying out its mission in an environment charged with dynamic change. To fully understand the history of Methodism in Southern California, one has to find a way to allow one’s mind to alter as far as possible into the conditions and events of the period.

As we are so keenly aware today, these circumstances determine the success or failure of the church to carry out its mission. While Methodism was an early arrival in California, within fifty years, the environment was changing to one that was highly competitive. In addition, the political environment was changing to a more conservative one while Methodism’s leadership and ministerial training of its clergy were more liberal. Added to these external complexities, there were internal difficulties unique to Methodism that needed to be resolved. The task ahead is to examine the challenges and accomplishments of California-Pacific Conference from 1945 to the present.