What We Believe
Baptism marks the beginning of our lifelong journey as disciples of Jesus Christ. The water and the work of the Holy Spirit in baptism convey God’s saving grace, the forgiveness of our sins and new life in Jesus Christ. Persons of any age may be baptized in a variety of ways – immersion, pouring or sprinkling. A person receives the sacrament of baptism only once in his or her life.
The Lord’s Supper (also called Holy Communion or Eucharist)
The Lord’s Supper involves offering praise and thanksgiving to God for all He has done, is doing, and will do to save us and renew all things in Christ. Receiving the bread and cup, symbolic of the body and blood of Christ, nourishes and sustains us on our journey as followers of Jesus. Communion is open to all who love Christ, earnestly repent of their sins and seek to live in peace with one another regardless of age or church membership.
United Methodists share with other Christians the conviction that Scripture is the primary source and criterion for Christian doctrine. We are convinced that Jesus Christ is the living Word of God in our midst, whom we trust in life and death. The Bible bears authentic testimony to God’s self-disclosure in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as well as in God’s work of creation and in the Holy Spirit’s ongoing activity in human history. As we open our minds and hearts to the Word of God through the words of human beings inspired by the Holy Spirit, faith is born and nourished, our understanding is deepened, and the possibilities for transforming the world become apparent. Our standards affirm the Bible as the source of all that is “necessary” and “sufficient” for salvation. We interpret individual texts in light of their place in the Bible as a whole. Thus, the Bible serves both as a source of our faith and as the basic criterion by which the truth and fidelity of any interpretation of faith is measured. While we acknowledge the primacy of Scripture in theological reflection, our attempts to grasp its meaning always involve tradition, experience and reason. Like Scripture, these may become creative vehicles of the Holy Spirit as they function within the Church. They quicken our faith, open our eyes to the wonder of God’s love, and clarify our understanding.