United Methodist Basics

 
United Methodists come in all sizes, shapes, colors, dispositions, outlooks and life experiences, but they share a unique outlook forged in the shared experience of a church. No matter how or where they serve Jesus Christ around the world, United Methodists do God’s work in a unique connectional covenant.
 
This ‘connectionalism’ bears a striking resemblance to the United State’s government of the people, by the people. Our General Conference is the legislative branch. Our Council of Bishops functions as the executive branch. Our Judicial Council interprets the United Methodist Book of Discipline in the same manner that the Supreme Court rules on U.S. laws. The Book of Discipline is subject to revision every four years by our General Conference.
 
We are a covenant community, concerned about God’s children everywhere, embracing different cultures and ethnic traditions. In life’s clouds of doubt and division, we see the sunlight of God’s purpose that brings healing, hope and harmony.
We welcome people who are searching for answers to life’s tough questions, because we know what it is like to feel alone and unsure, to need a welcoming place with open hearts, open minds and open doors.
 
We live the promise we made the day we joined The United Methodist Church, the promise of our prayers, our presence, our gifts and our service.
 

What is expected of me as a member of a United Methodist Congregation?

You are asked to declare your commitment to follow Jesus Christ with your life… to participate faithfully in the life of the church with your prayers, your presence, your gifts and your service.
 

Where did the word Methodist originate?

John and Charles Wesley and a few other young men attending Oxford University met regularly in the 1720s to improve themselves intellectually and spiritually and to help others become better Christians. So systematic were their habits of religious duty and their rules of personal conduct that other students began to refer to them as Methodists.
 

Where can I find the basic positions and regulations of The United Methodist Church?

Two books are helpful “The Book of Discipline” and “The Book of Resolutions.” Both are updated every four years following General Conference. The Book of Discipline covers every aspect of church life’s doctrine’s guidance for Christian behaviors the procedures for becoming a church member of minister’s protocols for organizing and administering local churches, annual conferences, districts and church wide boards and agencies, as well as rules of church laws. The Book of Resolutions includes statements on social, ethical and moral concerns adopted by the delegates at General Conference.

What are the sacraments of The United Methodist Church?

United Methodists recognizes two sacraments  Holy Baptism and Holy Communion                                      

Baptism

Baptism symbolizes our recognition of God’s acceptance and love for us, as well as our entrance into the family of faith. Because it is God who takes the initiative to love us, even before we can think or learn, then we are able to baptize infants. It is the parent(s) of the child who speak on behalf of the children, pledging themselves to help nurture and teach the child about the faith into which they were baptized. As a child is placed in God’s love through baptism, she or he is also received into God’s family as a baptized member of the church. 

 
As a part of God’s family, the child is supported and nurtured by the church.The family of the child is the primary source for nurturing the child within the faith. Extended families are encouraged to be present for baptism. Sponsors are welcome, but are not required for baptism. When the child becomes a teenager, they are old enough to become responsible for their own faith. They decide whether or not to confirm the statements made for them by their parents. 
 
The church offers a Confirmation Class” each year, to help youth make this important faith decisions for their lives.Baptism is also available for adults who have never been baptized into the faith. If a person has been baptized in another church setting, we recognize the validity of their faith action and do not require a second baptism for entrance into the United Methodist family of faith. Requests for baptisms are made through the pastor. Baptisms are scheduled with a sensitivity to the family situation and to the church worship emphasis for any given Sunday. The pastor will need to meet with the family prior to the baptism in order to discuss the meaning of the sacrament.
 
Holy Communion
Whether it is called Holy Communion, the Eucharist, or the Last Supper, this sacrament reminds us of God’s love for us and for all of creation. Receiving communion allows us to claim God’s grace in our lives and challenges us to live out a life of grace in service to others.
 
The Sacrament of Holy Communion is open to all people, regardless of church membership or affiliation. Under the guidance of their parents, children are welcome to participate. In the desire to make the Lord’s Table open to everyone, including those who suffer from alcohol abuse, we use unfermented grape juice, rather than wine.  Gluten-free Bread is also available when this sacrament is observed at the 11:00 service and at special services.
 
Communion  is usually served on the first Sunday of every month at the 11:00 service. Communion is also served on special worship occasions, such as Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and Christmas Eve (11:00 pm service).