– From Paragraph 102 of “The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church”
These are our core beliefs, as members of The United Methodist Church:
(Four readers. Seated center of the chancel. A common microphone is passed as each reads)
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. We stand in need of redemption, the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.
4. We hold in common with all Christians
a faith in the mystery of salvation
in and through Jesus Christ.
At the heart of the gospel of salvation
is God’s incarnation in Jesus of Nazareth.
1. Scripture witnesses to the redeeming love of God
in Jesus’ life and teachings,
his atoning death,
his sovereign presence in history,
his triumph over the powers of evil and death,
and his promised return.
2. Because God truly loves us in spite of our willful sin,
God judges us,
summons us to repentance,
receives us by that grace
given to us in Jesus Christ,
and gives us hope of life eternal.
3. We share the Christian belief that
God’s redemptive love
is realized in human life
by the activity of the Holy Spirit,
both in personal experience
and in the community of believers.
4. This community is the church,
which the Spirit has brought into existence
for the healing of the nations.
1. Through faith in Jesus Christ we are forgiven,
reconciled to God,
and transformed as people of the new covenant.
2. “Life in the Spirit” involves diligent use
of the means of grace
such as praying, fasting, attending upon the sacraments,
and inward searching in solitude.
It also encompasses the communal life of the church
in worship, mission, evangelism, service, and social witness.
3. We understand ourselves
to be part of Christ’s universal church
when by adoration, proclamation, and service
we become conformed to Christ.
We are initiated and incorporated
into this community of faith
receiving the promise of the Spirit
that re-creates and transforms us.
4. Through the regular celebration of Holy Communion,
we participate in the risen presence of Jesus Christ
and are thereby nourished for faithful discipleship.
1. We pray and work
for the coming of God’s realm and reign to the world
and rejoice in the promise of everlasting life
that overcomes death
and the forces of evil.
2. With other Christians
we recognize that the reign of God
is both a present and future reality.
3. The church is called to be
that place where the first signs
of the reign of God
are identified and acknowledged in the world.
4. Wherever persons are being made new creatures in Christ,
wherever the insights and resources
of the gospel are brought to bear on the life of the world,
God’s reign is already effective
in its healing and renewing power.
1. We also look to the end time
in which God’s work will be fulfilled.
This prospect gives us hope
in our present actions
and as the Church.
2. This expectation saves us from resignation
and motivates our continuing witness and service.
3. We share with many Christian communions
a recognition of the authority of Scripture
in matters of faith,
the confession that
our justification as sinners
is by grace through faith,
and the sober realization that
the church is in need
of continual reformation and renewal.
4. We affirm the general ministry
of all baptized Christians
who share responsibility
for building up the church
and reaching out in mission
and service to the world.
1. With other Christians,
we declare the essential oneness
of the church in Christ Jesus.
This rich heritage of shared Christian belief
finds expression in our worship, sacraments, words, and music.
2. Our unity is affirmed
in the historic creeds
as we confess
one holy, catholic, and apostolic church.
3. 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 ever-present Holy Spirit.
4. While the grace of God is undivided,
it precedes salvation as “prevenient grace,”
continues in “justifying grace,”
and is brought to fruition in “sanctifying grace.”
1. We assert that God’s grace is manifest in all creation
even though suffering, violence, and evil
are everywhere present.
2. The goodness of creation
is fulfilled in human beings,
who are called
to covenant partnership with God.
3. God has endowed us with dignity and freedom
and has summoned us to responsibility for our lives
and the life of the world.
4. In God’s self-revelation, Jesus Christ,
we see the splendor of our true humanity.
Even our sin,
with its destructive consequences for all creation,
does not alter God’s intention for us—
holiness and happiness of heart.
Nor does it diminish our accountability
for the way we live.
1. Despite our brokenness,
we remain creatures
brought into being
by a just and merciful God.
The restoration of God’s image in our lives
requires divine grace
to renew our fallen nature.
All: We are united,
We are united as disciples of Jesus Christ.
We are united as United Methodists.
We are united as members of the Rush United Methodist Church.
Our New Year’s Resolution is
to lead people to Christian discipleship
for the transformation of the world;
To love the Lord our God with all our mind, soul, body, and strength,
Through worship, praise, and thanksgiving;
And to love our neighbor,
Near and far,
Friend or foe,
To love without expectation of anything in return.
If you are not yet one of us,
Won’t you join us?