Saturday, December 26, 2009

Are You Curious About The United Methodist Church?

There are numerous options these days when considering faiths or denominations. One option is the United Methodist Church, a large, relatively modern Christian denomination.

The United Methodist Church is the second largest Protestant church in the United States. About 8 million of its approximately 12 million members are in the United States or Canada.

The following is some information on the United Methodist Church which may help to guide you in your spiritual search.


The United Methodist Church started as a tiny group of fellow students at Oxford University in England in the 1700’s. The group, members of the Church of England, included two brothers who would eventually be known as the founders of the United Methodist Church, John and Charles Wesley. Because the group was extremely methodical in their studies and lives, they became known as Methodists.

The Methodist Episcopal Church in Maryland was formed in 1784, and is considered the first Methodist Church in the United States. The formation of this church officially severed ties between the Methodist Church and the Church of England.After several divisions, the churches came together in 1968 to form the United Methodist Church.


The United Methodist Church members believe in the Holy Trinity – that God exists in three persons: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost is God within the person, which comforts and guides him/her throughout life to live as Jesus Christ, the Son, lived.

Members believe that there is one God, the sovereign ruler of the universe and the creator of the universe. They also believe that Jesus Christ was human, lived as a man and was crucified.

They believe that he is the son of God and that he was raised from the dead on Easter Sunday.

They believe that Christ is savior, and a person’s forgiveness rests within Him.The church is considered an extension of Christ’s life and ministry, and that the church exists to make more disciples of Christ.

Members believe that God’s word is the Bible, and they study both the Old Testament and the New Testament. They believe that all people are sinners.

Sacraments:The church has two official sacraments – the Holy Baptism and the Holy Communion.The Holy Baptism is done only once in a person’s life, and can be accomplished by water immersion, pouring or sprinkling.

The Holy Communion is based on the Last Supper, and affirms the presence of Christ with bread – representing his body on the cross, and with unfermented grape juice – representing His blood shed for the sins of humans.

The United Methodist Church practices open Communion, which means that anyone is welcome to partake in Communion regardless of whether they are church members, so long as they seek peace, love Christ and repent of their sins.

Stands on Social Issues:

The United Methodist Church is considered relatively liberal and diverse. It appeals to a wide range of religious and political beliefs. Both George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton are members of the United Methodist Church. This allowance of diversity and opinion is considered one of the strongest points of the United Methodist Church.

The church does not officially affirm abortion as acceptable, but recognizes that circumstances may warrant an abortion. The church recognizes the right of women to choose after careful consideration of all options.The United Methodist Church opposes gambling and capital punishment and supports abstinence from alcohol.

The issue of gay rights has long been discussed and debated within the church, and has created quite a bit of controversy. Officially, the church considers the lifestyle to be contra to the teaching of Christ. However, it supports contractual relationships like guardianship, power of attorney, etc. for everyone, regardless of orientation. While it prohibits celebrating same-sex unions within its churches, it welcomes gay people into its congregations and requests its churches to refrain from making any judgments or distinctions regarding gay church members.

As with gays, the United Methodist Church includes and welcomes people of all ages, races and ethnicities. It is one of the most inclusionary Protestant churches.

If you have more interest in the United Methodist Church, I encourage you to find a church in your area and make a visit. I have always found their congregations to be outgoing, welcoming and friendly. You can also visit their official website at

***This article reflects my opinions and is not associated with the United Methodist Church or any other group.


  1. Thank you. As a lifelong United Methodist, I feel your article is on target and well written. It reinforced things I already knew and taught me new things. Thank you for writing it.

  2. Thank you, Peter. I grew up in the United Methodist Church (only about 30 members in my church!), and it was a great place to learn good life lessons.