What it Means to be a United Methodist
The United Methodist Church grew out of the ministry of John Wesley, in Great Britain, who was a pastor in the Church of England. Through his commitment to proclaim the world for Jesus Christ, Wesley started churches in the United States in the late 1700’s. Today, the UMC is the largest mainline protestant denomination in the country. Under the theme, “Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors”, United Methodists are curious about and committed to their faith. For more information go to www.umc.org.
United Methodists Are:involved, committed, diverse, open; a people who try to be accepting, caring, hospitable, and inclusive; family - and community - oriented; a people who are concerned about those beyond their communities and around the world; active in mission and responsive; a people who love music, church suppers, and a sense of community; initiators, with a history of creating ministries related to education, employment, health and other issues; a people who like to tell the story of God’s redeeming grace.
We are A Covenant People
When you join a United Methodist congregation, you become a member of the United Methodist connection. Members promise God and the congregation to uphold the church with their prayers, presence, gifts, and service.
We are A Diverse Community
The United Methodist Church was formed when the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged in 1968. United Methodists trace their spiritual heritage back to 18th-century leaders including John and Charles Wesley, Jacob Albright, Philip Otterbein, Martin Boehm, and Francis Asbury.
All persons are welcome in the United Methodist Church. We are committed to inclusiveness. Celebrating a diversity of people, ideas and cultures, we are enriched by our history.
We are Biblical in Faith
United Methodists trust free inquiry in matters of Christian doctrine. Our faith is guided by Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason. Of paramount importance is Scripture. For United Methodists, the Bible is the recorded experience of God’s people living out God’s promise.
We are Mission-oriented, Socially Conscious
United Methodists are mission-oriented and socially conscious. This is important to our faith. We are aware of world events and strive to help those in need. United Methodists are one in faith and tradition with Methodist Christians around the world.
Through the World Methodist Council, Methodists from 68 member churches cooperate in support of ecumenical, educational, evangelical and other ministries.
We are Ecumenical
For generations, United Methodists have cooperated with other churches to spread the Gospel, care for those in need, alleviate injustice and foster peace. In national and interfaith groups, United Methodists reach beyond our own churches and communities to express concern and to share God’s love with people of many faiths.
We are Involved
For more than 200 years, the United Methodist Church and its predecessor bodies have expressed concern for the worker, the sick, the poor, the orphaned, the aged, the impaired, the oppressed and the imprisoned.
Our church participates in the struggles of women, people with physical and mental impairments, and racial-and-ethnic-minority persons. Helping them to attain equality in the church and society.
United Methodists positively influence the world through responsible social action.
We are Connectional
United Methodists took form as an organized church in the United States during the revolutionary period of our history. Its structures parallel those of the U.S. government. Church leadership is shared by executive, legislative and judicial branches.
The highest legislative body – the only organization that can speak for the church – is the General Conference. An assembly of up to 1,000 delegates, it is composed of equal numbers of laity and clergy and meets once every four years. Delegates are chosen by regional units (annual conferences) throughout the United States and in 15 other nations. Non-voting representatives come from affiliated churches in 25 other countries.
Annual conferences respond to needs in their regions by developing programs and ministries that carry out the work of Christ and support the policies set by General Conference.
We are Evangelical
The United Methodist Church continues its strong, evangelical heritage. Within each congregation is a vital center of biblical study and evangelism – a blending of personal piety and discipleship.