Provisional General Conference
The Free Methodist Church was assigned to minister in central India in the state of Maharashtra. The work was difficult and slow. During the famine years, beginning in 1899, church orphanages were built in Yavatmal district for homeless children.
In 1937 the first annual conference was organized. Two years later, a Bible college was opened which became Union Biblical Seminary (UBS), one of the first evangelical seminaries in Asia. Umri Christian Hospital opened in 1951.
From the late 1970s, indigenous movements to Christ among the Indian tribals have grown rapidly. Two of these groups, Agape Fellowship and Immanuel Fellowship, have joined the Free Methodist family, adding nearly 100,000 members and 1,000 churches.
A missionary training Bible college operates on the Yavatmal campus, formerly occupied by UBS, which moved to Pune. Umri Christian Hospital has expanded its ministries to include an English school and nursing school. Through International Child Care Ministries, hundreds of children are being cared for in six hostels. Many sponsored children have become pastors and church leaders. A growing literary program works primarily with deprived women in villages. Micro-enterprise projects empower members to support their families.
In September 2005, 125 years of Free Methodist ministry were celebrated in India. At that time the formal inauguration of the church as a Provisional General Conference was held, along with the consecration of three bishops.
These funds help provide a number of training programs each year, support a number of church planters, provide bicycles for pastors in rural areas, as well as aiding in the purchase of plots of land for worship facilities