"In the essentials, unity; in the non-essentials, diversity; in all things, love." --John Wesley
Our basic beliefs are shared by most Christians:
There is one God, revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, both human and divine, and He is the one Savior of the world.
The Bible is the inspired Word of God, and it contains all things necessary for salvation.
We believe that becoming a Christian is not a matter of simply going through a ceremony or believing a certain set of doctrines; rather we enter a relationship through faith with God in Christ, and then begin a lifelong process of growth in that relationship.
We practice open communion; this means you don't have to be a United Methodist to receive Holy Communion with us, just one who loves God and seeks to live at peace with your fellow man.
We believe in "the trained mind and the warmed heart"-- that is, education and spiritual formation are important, but these must be coupled with a personal commitment to God. In other words, one can study the bible and gain information (which is not bad in and of itself), however, the true aim of faith is always tempered by a personal relationship and willingness to follow Jesus in loving God and others.
We believe the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) is the inspired Word of God and that Scripture is the primary source and criterion for Christian doctrine. Through Scripture, the living Christ meets us in the experience of redeeming grace.
We believe in one God who exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus Christ is the second member of the Trinity (the Son of God) who became flesh to reveal God to humanity and to become the Savior of the lost world.
We believe that men and women were created in the image of God to have fellowship with Him, but we became alienated in that relationship through sinful disobedience. As a result, we are incapable of regaining a right relationship with God through our own effort alone.
We believe that the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the cross, provides the sole basis for the forgiveness of sin. Therefore, salvation occurs when people place their faith in the death and resurrection of Christ as sufficient payment for their sin.
We believe that Christians should live for Christ and not for themselves. By obedience to the Word of God and daily yielding to the Spirit of God, every believer should mature and be conformed to the image of Christ.
We believe that the church is the body of Christ, of which Jesus Christ is the head. The purpose of the church is to glorify God by loving Him and by making Him known to the world.
"The living core of the Christian faith is revealed in Scripture, illumined by tradition, vivified in personal experience, and confirmed by reason."
- John Wesley
What we know now as the United Methodist Church began as a movement in the 1700's in England by John Wesley and other students at Oxford University. Wesley and the other students, themselves a mixture of other groups (e.g. some Roman Catholics and some Protestant, although most were Anglican or the Church of England) formed a group originally called "The Holy Club." Members agreed to attend their own church regularly, pray and read their Bibles daily, do good deeds for others daily, and attend their Holy Club group (or "class") weekly.
Other students made fun of Holy Club members and considered them religious fanatics. Among the jibes they made up was the term "Methodist," because the Holy Club insisted on being so methodical in their study of the Bible and in scheduling their daily prayer. The name stuck.
John Wesley and the early Methodists did not set out to create a separate church. Their vision was to encourage all Christians to "grow in holiness," that is, to grow spiritually and to put that spiritual growth to practical use in making a better world. To this day, Methodists do not think we are part of the only or best church; we believe that all Christians are part of one family of God.
To learn more about our rich theological heritage, see UMC.org.
The following are links to the different parts of the United Methodist Church that our local church falls under: