St. Peter's United Methodist Church
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Grow - Praise - Serve

 Click the pic to learn more about United Methodist Beliefs

 

Three Simple Rules of the Christian Life

I promise to do no harm to anyone;

And to do all the good I can as far as possible to all people;

and to stay in love with God.

 
 
Click on the Handbook to view or download
 
 
 
"Offer Them Christ"
     In 1784 John Wesley was worried about his Methodist enthusiasts in the new United States because the Church of England had been sent home after the Revolutionary War. Methodism was a subset of Anglicanism, and without the mother church the Methodists were without the benefit of the sacraments and other pastoral oversight. So, Wesley irregularly ordained (he did not have the authority to do it, but he did it anyway because the people for whom he had responsibility needed clergy), he ordained Thomas Coke, Richard Whatcoat, and Thomas Vasey. And as they set sail to America from near Bristol, Wesley’s last words were, “Offer them Christ.”  Today as we face a complex and confusing world those words still ring true.  When we offer Christ to the world we are offering life in which we find fulfillment as individuals and assume responsibility for the well-being of all.
 
 

Our Beliefs

     With Christians of other communions we confess belief in the triune God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This confession embraces the biblical witness to God’s activity in creation, encompasses God’s gracious self-involvement in the dramas of history, and anticipates the consummation of God’s reign. The created order is designed for the well-being of all creatures and as the place of human dwelling in covenant with God. As sinful creatures, however, we have broken that covenant, become estranged from God, wounded ourselves and one another, and wreaked havoc throughout the natural order. We stand in need of redemption.

     Prevenient Grace - We acknowledge God’s prevenient grace, the divine love that surrounds all humanity and precedes any and all of our conscious impulses. This grace prompts our first wish to please God, our first glimmer of understanding concerning God’s will, and our "first slight transient conviction" of having sinned against God. God’s grace also awakens in us an earnest longing for deliverance from sin and death and moves us toward repentance and faith.

     Justification and Assurance - We believe God reaches out to the repentant believer in justifying grace with accepting and pardoning love. Wesleyan theology stresses that a decisive change in the human heart can and does occur under the prompting of grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In justification we are, through faith, forgiven our sin and restored to God’s favor. This righting of relationships by God through Christ calls forth our faith and trust as we experience regeneration, by which we are made new creatures in Christ.


     This process of justification and new birth is often referred to as conversion. Such a change may be sudden and dramatic, or gradual and cumulative. It marks a new beginning, yet it is part of an ongoing process. Christian experience as personal transformation always expresses itself as faith working by love. Our Wesleyan theology also embraces the scriptural promise that we can expect to receive assurance of our present salvation as the Spirit "bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God."

     Sanctification and Perfection - We believe sanctification is the work of God's grace through the Word and the Spirit, by which those who have been born again are cleansed from sin in their thoughts, words and acts, and are enabled to live in accordance with God's will, and to strive for holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

     Faith and Good Works - We believe good works are the necessary fruits of faith and follow regeneration but they do not have the virtue to remove our sins or to avert divine judgment. We believe good works, pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, spring from a true and living faith, for through and by them faith is made evident.

     Service to the World - We believe personal salvation always involves Christian mission and service to the world. By joining heart and hand, we assert that personal religion, evangelical witness, and Christian social action are reciprocal and mutually reinforcing. Scriptural holiness entails more than personal piety; love of God is always linked with love of neighbor, a passion for justice and renewal in the life of the world.

     Nurturing and Serving of the Church - We emphasize the nurturing and serving function of Christian fellowship in the Church. The personal experience of faith is nourished by the worshiping community. For Wesley there is no religion but social religion, no holiness but social holiness. The communal forms of faith in the Wesleyan tradition not only promote personal growth; they also equip and mobilize us for mission and service to the world.'
     The outreach of the church springs from the working of the Spirit. As United Methodists, we respond to that working through a connectional polity based upon mutual responsiveness and accountability. Connectional ties bind us together in faith and service in our global witness, enabling faith to become active in love and intensifying our desire for peace and justice in the world.

     Social Justice - The United Methodist Church has a long history of concern for social justice. Its members have often taken forthright positions on controversial issues involving Christian principles. Early Methodists expressed their opposition to the slave trade, to smuggling, and to the cruel treatment of prisoners.
 

     The Social Principles are a prayerful and thoughtful effort on the part of the General Conference to speak to the human issues in the contemporary world from a sound biblical and theological foundation as historically demonstrated in United Methodist traditions. They are intended to be instructive and persuasive in the best of the prophetic spirit. The Social Principles are a call to all members of The United Methodist Church to a prayerful, studied dialogue of faith and practice.

     Our Social Creed
We believe in God, Creator of the world; and in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of creation. We believe in the Holy Spirit, through whom we acknowledge God’s gifts, and we repent of our sin in misusing these gifts to idolatrous ends.

We affirm the natural world as God’s handiwork and dedicate ourselves to its preservation, enhancement, and faithful use by humankind.

We joyfully receive for ourselves and others the blessings of community, sexuality, marriage, and the family.

We commit ourselves to the rights of men, women, children, youth, young adults, the aging, and people with disabilities; to improvement of the quality of life; and to the rights and dignity of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities.

We believe in the right and duty of persons to work for the glory of God and the good of themselves and others and in the protection of their welfare in so doing; in the rights to property as a trust from God, collective bargaining, and responsible consumption; and in the elimination of economic and social distress.

We dedicate ourselves to peace throughout the world, to the rule of justice and law among nations, and to individual freedom for all people of the world.

We believe in the present and final triumph of God’s Word in human affairs and gladly accept our commission to manifest the life of the gospel in the world. Amen.


Our Organization

     Local Churches - A local church is a community of true believers under the Lordship of Christ. It is the redemptive fellowship in which the Word of God is preached by persons divinely called and the sacraments are duly administered according to Christ’s own appointment. Under the discipline of the Holy Spirit, the church exists for the maintenance of worship, the edification of believers, and the redemption of the world.

     Districts - Districts are definite geographical and administrative subdivisions of an Annual Conference. The number of districts is determined by the Annual Conference. The boundaries of the districts is determined by the bishop after consultation with the district superintendents. A district consists of all the pastoral charges within its boundaries and is under the supervision of a district superintendent.

     Annual Conferences - The Annual Conference is the basic organizational body in The United Methodist Church. An Annual Conference includes all United Methodist churches in a geographically defined area. Lay and clergy members of the Annual Conference have the right to vote on all constitutional amendments and delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Members establish the budget for the Annual Conference and vote on all mater related to the organizational life of its agencies and institutions. The Annual Conference members are responsible for the program and administration of the work of the Annual Conference and its local churches. Only clergy members vote on all matters relating to clergy membership and ordination. The membership of the Annual Conference consists of an equal number of lay and clergy members, and at least one lay person from each pastoral charge is to be a member.

     Our United Methodist Emblem - Known informally as the cross and flame logo but formally known as the denomination's insignia, it has been in use nearly three decades. The insignia is a cross linked with a dual flame. This symbol relates our church to God by way of the second and third persons of the Trinity; the Christ (cross) and the Holy Spirit (flame). Apart from Wesleyan Trinitarian theology and warmth, the flame has two other connotations. The flame suggests Pentecost when witnesses saw "tongues as of fire." And the duality of the flame was meant to represent the merger in 1968 of two denominations: The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church.