What We Believe
Grace is a gift given by God to open the door for us to again become one with God.
When God created each of us, He left a divine imprint upon us, regardless of whether we recognize it or not. In our pursuit of happiness, contentment in life, or satisfaction in our relationship, God’s presence, known among United Methodists as “prevenient grace”, nudges us back to God.
Once we realize that any right we have to stand before God comes from the love Jesus showed us by dying for our sins, and not by our own actions, everything in this world ceases to have power over us. As believers, we know that everything we do is in response to this grand gift by a generous God.
United Methodists call this response sanctification, or more simply put, it is the process of becoming the person God intended one to be at the moment of creation. We believe that this process is a life-long, joy-filled, adventure with God that ultimately allows the believers to attain the seemingly impossible – perfect love in this lifetime and the fullness of God in the life to come.
About Holy Communion
We believe that Holy Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper, is a miracle of God’s love. It is a reenactment of Jesus’ last meal on earth in which we celebrate with God, the giving and receiving of a great gift. God shares Christ with those who believe Jesus is Lord and Savior, and we share our lives with God.
In the United Methodist tradition, Holy Communion is a meal of bread and grape juice as a Sacrament, which means that it is important to Christians because Jesus called us to remember and receive the power God gives us to change from who we are to who God wants us to be. Such change can only happen with God’s help.
We celebrate an “open table” during Holy Communion, which means that on our side, everyone is welcome to come before God as long as your head is bowed down honestly promising to stop doing the things that disgrace God. On God’s side, we receive God’s promise to forgive us everything we have done wrong and provide us with the help of the Holy Spirit to fulfill our promises and live our lives joyfully in God’s presence.
We believe that Baptism is a sacred encounter with God in which God washes the sin from our hearts and souls. God then asks for a thankful response born out of love for what God has done, rather than out of a sense of obligation.
Baptism is a Sacrament received and initiated by Christ, as a public announcement that that baptized individual has entered into an agreement with God about how they will love the rest of their life. Believers fulfill their promise by steering their daily conduct, helped by God’s Holy Spirit, away from the things that disgrace God. They also receive God’s forgiveness and the power to forgive others.
In the United Methodist tradition, we believe that because it is God’s power and grace at work in baptism, and not ours alone, we are able to accept people of all ages (including infants) for baptism. We trust that the presence and grace of the Holy Spirit will meet people wherever they are in their understanding of God and move them closer to living the life God expects them to live.
United Methodists sprinkle or pour water over one’s head to conduct the actual baptism, although occasionally we will go “down to the riverside” to submerge an individual in a biblical fashion.