United Methodists profess the historic Christian faith in God as Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We experience God as Creator/Provider, Redeemer/Savior, Sustainer/Comforter. We affirm that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and the Lord of all.
The Mission of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by proclaiming the good news of God’s grace and by exemplifying Jesus’ command to love God and our neighbor in all that we do. In carrying out this mission, we are seeking the fulfillment of God’s reign in the world.
- proclaim the gospel, seek, welcome and gather persons into the body of Christ;
- lead persons to commit their lives to God through baptism by water and the spirit and profession of faith in Jesus Christ;
- nurture persons in faith and Christian living through worship, the sacraments, spiritual disciplines, and other means of grace, like Christian fellowship, study and prayer
- send persons into the world to live lovingly and justly as servants of Christ.
As United Methodists, we believe it is critical not only to believe, but to live out our faith in our personal lives, our communities and the world. In order to bear a faithful Christian witness to Jesus Christ, we believe we must reflect critically on our biblical and theological inheritance, striving to express faithfully the witness we make in our own time.
The way we reflect critically on matters of faith is somewhat unique. Our primary source for encountering God and understanding faith is Scripture. If our beliefs or understandings of God’s activity in the world run counter to Scripture, they cannot be sustained. Although Scripture is primary and authoritative, it is not the only way to encounter God or to come to an understanding of faith. We begin with Scripture and also use the Christian tradition (creeds, affirmations of faith, belief statements, hymns), our own experience (personal and collective) as well as our ability to reason (think). All of these sources work together to help us decide matters of faith.
Scripture, tradition, reason and experience also serve as ways we can encounter and know the living God. Through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, we can encounter the Risen Christ in so many ways – worship, the sacraments, bible study, prayer and Christian fellowship, to name a few.
Grace pervades our understanding of Christian faith and life. By grace we mean the undeserved, unmerited, and loving action of God in human existence through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
United Methodists believe that we are saved by God’s grace through our faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation is both a moment and a process. We are saved from our sins and given the assurance of eternal life when we profess our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. This moment begins a lifetime of growing more Christ-like and becoming more and more able to truly love God with our heart, mind, soul and strength and our neighbor as we love ourselves.
Sacraments of the United Methodist Church
Baptism: A Sacrament of the United Methodist Church
What is Baptism?
In Matthew 28 Jesus says to the disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”
Baptism marks the beginning of the journey of discipleship. It is fundamentally a gift of God’s grace (unearned love and mercy). It is a sign of our acceptance by God and our entrance into the Body of Christ, the church. It is one of two sacraments recognized and practiced in the United Methodist Church.
“Through the Sacrament of Baptism we are initiated into Christ’s holy church. We are incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation and given new birth through water and the Spirit. All this is God’s gift offered to us without price. (Baptismal Covenant I, UM Hymnal p. 33)
Why is Baptism important?
“Baptism is at the heart of the gospel of grace, and it is at the core of the church’s mission. When we baptize we say what we understand as Christians about ourselves and our community: that we are loved into being by God, and lost because of sin, but redeemed and saved in Jesus Christ to live new lives and look for his coming again in glory…As baptized people of God, we therefore respond with praise and thanksgiving, praying that God’s will be done in our own lives.” (By Water and the Spirit Study Guide, p. 49) We are baptized into the church universal, rather than into an individual local church; therefore baptism always precedes church membership.
Forms of Baptism
While sprinkling of water from the baptismal font is the most common form, pouring and immersion are also practiced. All three of these forms have scriptural bases.
At what age is Baptism appropriate?
Baptism is available to persons of all ages. Infant baptism is the predominate form in our church because it is the perfect expression of the reception of God’s amazing grace, offered to us out of God’s loving Spirit, not in response to our faith or worthiness. As a sacrament, infant baptism is about what God is doing in the life of the child. The parents make a commitment to raise the child in the church. Baptism, as a sacrament, is distinct from “dedication” or “christening.” At any age, baptism is God’s gift of grace to us and is distinct from our profession of faith.
What is Confirmation?
Confirmation is a course offered during the 6th grade year (and periodically for youth) wherein children learn the fundamentals of the faith and Christian history. The Confirmation year culminates in a worship service where children have the opportunity to publicly profess their faith in God through Jesus Christ and join the church. We believe that we are saved by God’s grace through our faith, so this public profession marks the moment of justification/salvation that begins the lifelong process of sanctification – growing more and more like Christ until we genuinely love God and our neighbor in all that we do.
Children who are baptized as infants are expected to attend Confirmation. Children who have not yet been baptized can receive baptism in the Confirmation worship service. For more information about Confirmation, click here.
What do we believe about re-baptism?
Where Holy Communion is a sacrament that is repeated over and over, Baptism is done only once in someone’s life. This is based on the belief that Baptism is a covenant between the person baptized and God and God never breaks God’s side of the covenant. If we fall away from faith and break our side of the covenant, we can participate in a remembrance of our baptism and a recommitment to our faith. We recognize and honor the baptism of anyone baptized in a Christian denomination.
Is there a Baptism class required?
Yes, for all who are interested in baptism for themselves or their children we ask that you attend a baptism class. In this class, we discuss the meaning and significance of Christian baptism as well as the United Methodist understanding of the sacrament. We also address questions about the logistics of the worship service.
How do I schedule a Baptism?
Please contact, Gayle Saunders, Membership Secretary and Administrative Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 434-525-6612.
Holy Communion: A Sacrament of the United Methodist Church
Holy Communion is one of two sacraments recognized and practiced in the United Methodist Church. “Holy Communion is a sacred meal in which the community of faith, in the simple act of eating bread and drinking juice, proclaims and participates in all that God has done, is doing, and will continue to do for us in Christ.”* In Holy Communion, we remember God’s gift of Jesus Christ and Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. We also remember God’s grace given to us in our baptism and partake of the spiritual food necessary for sustaining us in the journey of faith. As a sacrament, we believe Holy Communion is a means of God’s grace. It is not solely a memorial meal, but is also a time we encounter the Risen Lord through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
Who Can Partake of Holy Communion? “Because the table at which we gather belongs to the Lord, it should be open to all who respond to Christ’s love, regardless of age or church membership.”* [By Water and the Spirit, Book of Resolutions, p. 875]
Method: We receive Holy Communion by “intinction”, the method whereby the bread is given and then the cup is offered. The bread is then dipped in the juice and both elements are received at the same time.
Weekly: Holy Communion and Prayer are offered during the Ascent Wednesday Worship service held on Wednesday night in the Sanctuary at 7:00 pm
Monthly: The sacrament of Holy Communion is served on the first Sunday of each month at the morning worship services and is open to all who seek a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Special Events: Holy Communion is served as part of the Candle lighting Christmas Eve Service and as part of the Maundy Thursday service during the Easter Season.
Communion loaf bread is used during the communion service. Often times this bread is baked by church family members and given as a gift to be used in the Holy Communion service. Gluten Free Bread is being offered as well.
Grape Juice is used during the Holy Communion service. Often times the grape Juices is Welch’s Grape juice.
Children of any age are welcome to take part in Communion. See Children and Communion for more information.
Children and Communion
At what age can my child attend Communion?
Any age! United Methodists practice an “open table.” We do not exclude people based on age or religious tradition.
We do understand that the concept of Communion is a tough topic (even for adults!). For this reason when the Communion servers get to children, they may not say the formal phrase “The Body of Christ …” but rather a more age-appropriate phrase such as “This means that God loves you very much.” Younger children are literal, and talking about the “body” of Christ and eating is weird! Instead, focus on this wonderful traditional ritual of our church. Help your child feel comfortable even when standing in line. Quietly explain what is happening. If you are going to pray after being served, prepare your child for this quiet moment by telling him or her, “Let’s pray for a second.” (But keep it quick for their sake.)
My own daughter called Communion “Snack Time” in worship. Not an altogether bad idea – it is a community of God’s children gathered for a meal, just like in Sunday school.
Communion is taught throughout the years in the Sunday school curriculum as well as extensively during sixth-grade Confirmation.
Reverend Steven Propst– Senior Pastor