At the very core of our faith, we believe that we all carry with us the capacity to love that comes from a God of love. This capacity to love transcends religion and is at the very heart of our Christian tradition. We find it in every step Jesus took during his earthly journey. It is echoed in our early writings. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God.” John 4:7. We strive to make love the central part of lives.
As a United Methodist Church, we are proud of our Wesleyan heritage and the connection this offers to the broader United Methodist Church. That being said, within our congregation you will find people who grew up in various denominations and religious traditions – Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, Jewish, Unitarian, and those who grew up with no formal religious training at all. We strive for unity with our ecumenical partners in faith. We do not have all the answers. In fact, many times we live in the mystery of the questions themselves and help one another to wrestle with the questions of life and faith.
The United Methodist Church traces its ancestry back to 18th century England when John Wesley, his brother Charles (author of many hymns including “Hark, the Herald! and Christ the Lord is Risen Today“), met with a small group to practice spiritual disciplines of prayer, study and and serving the poor at Oxford University. An ordained Anglican priest, John Wesley kept searching for a deep, heart-felt faith that seemed to elude him. After a difficult time in his life, he began worshiping with some Moravians where eventually he felt “his heart strangely warmed“. With an assurance of faith, Wesley began a ministry of Social Justice by preaching in the fields and the mines, where working class people worked and lived, reaching out to provide for their daily needs.
The theology of Grace was central to Wesley’s faith. He introduced the theology known as Prevenient Grace – that grace of God that goes before us, working through us even before we are even aware of God’s presence in our lives.
While the Bible serves as our primary source of our theology, we also rely on church tradition, personal experience, and reason (Wesleyan Quadrilateral) to help inform our faith on difficult issues. We understand that we won’t all come up with the same understanding of faith.
John Wesley had a number of sayings that continue to be relevant today:
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
“Earn all you can, Save all you can, Give all you can”
“Though we cannot think alike, may we not all love alike. May we be of one heart, even though we are not of one opinion? Let us each think, and let others think for themselves.”
“Do no harm, Do good. Stay in love with God.”
As a community of faith, we are ultimately called to live out Micah 6:8:
“What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.”