What is a “United Methodist” church?
The United Methodist church is a unique and richly diverse denomination. Churches within the United Methodist denomination range from large metropolitan congregations to small country churches. Our worship styles vary from “high church” or traditional formats to free flowing contemporary services and our theological emphases range from conservative to liberal, and every shade in between. In short, we are the most ethnically and socially diverse as well as the most evenly distributed denomination in America. Whatever your needs and interests, there is a United Methodist Congregation for you. We are all members of God’s family. We are brothers and sisters who love the same God, proclaim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and believe in the Holy Spirit.
What do Christians believe?
Christians, since the time of Jesus, have believed in one God who came to this world in the divine/human form of Jesus Christ so that all humanity could receive salvation from sin, and remains active and present in our lives as the Holy Spirit.
Do I have to be a member to attend your worship?
No, all are welcome to worship with us. Anyone who desires a closer relationship with Jesus Christ is invited to take Communion in our church. We do our best to make all who enter our church feel welcomed and invited just as God has welcomed and invited us to be part of the Body of Christ.
What makes United Methodism different from other Christian denominations?
Although we think of ourselves as part of Christ’s universal church, we have some distinct ideas of God’s grace. God’s grace, the undeserved loving action of God in our lives, is understood in three forms:
•Prevenient Grace is the grace of God that precedes salvation, meaning that God seeks to be in relationship with us even before we acknowledge God.
•Justifying Grace is the way God reaches out to us with accepting and pardoning love, especially through baptism. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the prompting of grace, we can receive forgiveness for our sins and be made right with God through faith.
•Sanctifying Grace is the continued work of God’s grace in our lives even after we are justified. By the Holy Spirit’s power, we are able to increase our knowledge and love of God and each other.
Methodists are also known for our strong emphasis on unity between our beliefs and our lives. We strive to serve God personally through our spirituality, and publicly through our mission work. Faith and good works go hand and hand for Methodists.
Do Methodists have a creed?
We believe in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, but there is no “Methodist” creed. United Methodists do have three General Rules: 1. “By doing no harm, by avoiding every of every kind…” 2. “By doing good of every possible sort…” 3. “By attending upon all the ordinances of God.”
Methodists are called upon to avoid doing harm, accomplish all the good they can, and show their desire for salvation through the following:
•The public worship of God
•Ministry of the Word, read or spoken
•The Lord’s Supper/Communion
•Family and private prayer
•Studying the Scriptures
Where did the United Methodist Church come from?
The United Methodist Church is descended from the Church of England (Anglicanism). The Church of England formed when King Henry VIII broke away from the Roman Catholic Church in the 1500s, starting a new Protestant church.
One of the founders of Methodism, John Wesley, was an Anglican priest. Wesley never intended for the Methodist Movement to start a new church. In fact, John Wesley never became Methodist; he died an Anglican. Methodism began as a movement within the Church of England that emphasized holiness in Christians’ personal lives. John Wesley, his brother, Charles Wesley, and others at Oxford University were the first “Methodists.”
The Methodist Church was born when the American colonies declared their independence from England in 1776. John Wesley felt compelled to ordain the first Methodist Bishops so that Americans would be able to be baptized and receive communion since they were no longer connected to the Church of England. Since that time, the United Methodist Church was formed when the Methodist Church joined together with the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1968.
What is a “Sacrament”?
In the Christian church a “sacrament” is a certain rite instituted by Jesus Christ and regarded as a visible sign of inward grace.
Which sacraments does the United Methodist Church celebrate?
The United Methodist Church celebrates two sacraments:
Holy Baptism is the sacrament of initiation that joins us with the church and with Christians everywhere. It’s a symbol of new life and a promise of God’s saving love and a sign of God’s forgiveness for our sins. Water is the special symbol of baptism. Any Christian baptism is recognized by the United Methodist Church.
Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper is a holy meal of bread and wine (juice) that symbolizes the body and blood of Jesus Christ. By sharing this meal, United Methodists give than for Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. The Lord’s Supper recalls the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and celebrates the unity of all the members of God’s family. Every United Methodist should receive Communion when given the opportunity. People from other denominations are welcome to receive Communion within a United Methodist church. Children may receive Communion in a United Methodist church.