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Weekly Scripture

After reading the weekly scripture here, I invite you to be in prayer for vulnerable people around the world (Haiti, Chile, Afganistan, Pakistan, African countries and others from the global south).

~Pastor Roger Hudson

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The UMC

As United Methodists, what do we believe? How are we organized? What mission projects do we support? And what in the world is a “faith community?” Answers to these questions – and a whole lot more – can be found at the website of the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Methodist Church, home to 266 congregations in Washington and northern Idaho. If you have questions about our denomination, The United Methodist Church, we have a link for that as well.

Visit our Pacific Northwest Conference site:  www.pnwumc.org

Visit The (global) United Methodist Church site:  www.umc.org

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What We Believe

Beliefs held in Common With Other Christians (we draw upon many streams of our heritage):1

  • From Judaism, we understand God as creator of the world, that God has entrusted this world to our keeping, that God has (and continues) to act through human history…
  • From the early Christian church, we see that in Jesus as the Christ, God is made known in the fullest way possible – in the flesh as a human person; God restores health and wholeness, and our forgiveness is made concrete and real in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus as the Christ; We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the affirmation that God reigns over death as well as life; We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, although we have different ways of understanding the meaning of this vital affirmation.
  • With the later Christian church, we affirm a belief in the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer); We recognize how rituals, signs, and symbols can help us to reach toward God in Christ; We understand that our faith can be given direction, and our discipleship can be expressed within the world church and its organization.
  • From the Reformation (from Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other voices of the Protestant Reformation), we recognize salvation as a new and restored relationship with God, and it comes through our response in faith to God’s grace; Scripture is the primary source and guideline for each doctrine, or teaching, of the church; we each have the opportunity and responsibility to read the Bible, and we read it as members of the Christian fellowship even when we study alone; the church is the “priesthood of all believers.”  We don’t need an intermediary for communion with God, and we are all in ministry with each other;  Proclamation of God’s Word (Christ) through preaching is an important part of worship.
  • From the Church of England, we recognize that the church’s theology and decisions must be soundly based upon Scripture, tradition, and reason; we also stress the two sacraments affirmed by most Protestants – Baptism and Holy Communion.

Distinctive Emphases of United Methodists:2

  • Diversity - We respect diversity in theology. As long as our beliefs are rooted in the essentials of the Christian faith, then these differences enhance our understanding of God and challenge us to grow in faith.
  • Prevenient Grace – We acknowledge God’s prevenient grace is God’s love that awakens us to God’s purposes.
  • Justification and Assurance - We believe that God reaches out to us with an accepting and pardoning love, often with a decisive change in the human heart through the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
  • Sanctification and Perfection - God’s acceptance and pardon does not end God’s saving work, which continues growing in grace.  Through this “sanctifying grace,” we move ever closer toward Christian perfection and wholeness.
  • Faith and Good Works – God’s grace and human activity work together, as God’s grace calls forth a human response of devotion and discipline.  The evidence of salvation is seen in works of piety and works of mercy.
  • Mission and Service – Personal salvation always involves Christian mission and service to the world.  Heart and hands are joined as we strive for personal and social holiness.  The love of God is always linked with love of neighbor.
Past, Present, and into the Future:

We know we do not have all the answers.  We also know that we don’t yet have all of the necessary questions.  How we interact with one another in this ongoing journey is vitally important, and witnesses to our faith.  Difficult and challenging times face Christ’s church.  As we confront the issues facing the Christian church today, we pray that God will help us grow in every way, empowering us to truly be Christ’s hands and feet for a hurting world…
To learn more about any aspect of our denomination, or to read more from our Book of Discipline, go to www.umc.org

Footnotes:

1. Branson L. Thurston, “The United Methodist Way: A Brief Overview of the History, Beliefs, Mission, and Organization Of The United Methodist Church,” (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2000), pages 17-21.

2. “The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2004,” (Nashville: United Methodist Publishing House, 2004), ¶101.