1. We believe God is Triune. What that means is that we believe God is one, but He also exists in three persons. Narly, huh? They all exist together to make one God, but they also have their separate identities as Father (Who is normally what is referred to as "God"), Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who we believe is living and working among us in our world today. They are all eternal as there has never been a time where they all did not exist. Each member of the Trinity is distinct yet coexisting in mutuality.
2. We believe Jesus Christ conquered death more than 2,000 years ago and has opened the doors of salvation to all humanity. Jesus was sentenced to death and bore the sins of humanity in his death. However, more importantly, when He was raised from the dead and left the tomb, He conquered death and we now can join Him in His resurrection because of that. Jesus conquering death means we do not have to wallow in our sin or "brokenness" and can have life abundantly now. We believe Jesus was and is fully God and fully human. The divine and human natures are united.
3. We believe in the Holy Spirit who rushed down from the heavens after Jesus ascended back to be with the Father. The Spirit is at work in all of our world. He draws us to faith. He grows us after we have come to faith. He reveals to us our identity as beloved children of God. There is no place the Spirit cannot go and nobody who the Spirit cannot reach.
4. We are Bible people. Our denomination's founder John Wesley said he was a man "of one book", referring to our Holy Scriptures. That doesn't mean Wesley only read one book his whole life (He read a lot actually!) but that everything else is guided by God revealed in the Bible. While we recognize that Scripture was written by human hands, we believe they were under the inspiration of God. The historical witness of the Scriptures reveal to us the person of Christ and who He is calling us to be. Scripture reveals how God has worked throughout history and whose character is a merciful and loving Savior. While the Bible has been greatly misused to do damage to people throughout our human history, we seek to use it as a way to communicate God's love to people and one of the chief tools to bring people to faith.
5. We believe the Church is God's chosen vessel to transform the world. We get it. The church has done a lot of hurt and has shut out vulnerable people. We have a lot to repent of. However, when done right, the church can transform the world, and it is what God has chosen to use. We believe we need to come together as a community to learn and that God does something special when we come together to praise our merciful Creator in worship. That's the type of church we strive to be for our community.
6. We are sacramental people. What the heck is a sacrament? It's when God takes something ordinary and does something extraordinary. It's when God becomes present in something tangible. For United Methodists, there are two sacraments: baptism and communion. Baptism is about walking through the front door of faith. It is an entrance into God's house. Do you have to be baptized to go to heaven? No. We don't believe that. But baptism can sure make your current life much more abundant. It is God's grace and mercy washing over you and cleanses you as water is poured over you. Then as you come out of the water, we believe you are made a new person in Christ. That Christ has sealed Himself to you.
Our communion table is open to all people at all time. The communion table does not belong to our pastor. It does not belong to the church and not even to our denomination. It belongs to God, and God welcomes all. Communion is the real presence of a real God when God makes Godself known in the form of bread and juice to transform us and heal us. It does not mean you are actually eating God. You're still ingesting bread and grape juice, but God uses ordinary elements to transform us. In a bit of a divine mystery, God becomes present in the elements and nourishes anybody willing to come to the table.
Sacraments are means of grace by which God strengths and continues to confirm our faith.
7. While we acknowledge that all humanity is broken and in need of redemption, we also are all bearers of God's image. There is not a person who has or will ever walk the earth who does not bear God's image. Granted, sometimes it takes a lot of work to have and every person is of divine worth and able to accept God's gift of salvation. As God desires relationship with us, just like any relationship, we have a part to play. While God is the one to seek us first, we make an active choice on whether we want to respond to God's grace. We can accept Him or reject Him. He does not force Himself on us. That means we also have the ability to walk away from God at any time as being in relationship with someone is a choice. However, when we stay and persevere in relationship with God, we become more fully human than ever before and truly get to become who God created us to be for eternity.
8. We believe in freedom from the power of sin. Does that mean we are perfect people without flaws? No way. But it does mean that God > Sin. Through the presence of the Holy Spirit, we can actually overcome the power of sin in our life and live a life fully in love with God and others. Does that make us all-knowing? No. We are still ignorant in some ways and will always have room to grow and learn. But it does mean that in all areas of our life we can see that God has drawn us to that by His love and that sin did not take us off course. This is a process and does not happen overnight, but through God's grace we believe that we can be perfected in love in the here and now.
You can check out more information about what we believe at the United Methodist Website here.