Belief, Mission, and Vision
The distinguishing marks of a United Methodist are probably best illustrated by a commitment to the basics of Christianity and by a Christian lifestyle, rather than by assenting to a particular scheme of beliefs. United Methodists share a common heritage with other Christians:
-conviction that God has mercy and love for all people
-belief in a triune God--Father, Son and Holy Spirit
-faith in the mystery of salvation through Jesus Christ
-celebration of the sacraments
In these and many other ways, Methodism affirms the unity of all Christians in the Body of Christ. United Methodists also share four main guidelines for belief. Theses guidelines help them understand their faith, and include:
For United Methodists, baptism is the sacrament of initiation that joins us with the church and with Christians everywhere. It's a symbol of new life, a promise of God's saving love and a sign of God's forgiveness for our sins. Both infants and adults can be baptized. A person receives the sacrament only once in his or her life. Water is the special symbol of baptism. United Methodists baptize by sprinkling, immersion or pouring.
A holy meal of bread and wine symbolizes the body and blood of Christ. By sharing this meal, United Methodists give thanks for Jesus' sacrifice for our sins and receive grace to empower us to go on in Christian living. The sacrament of Holy Communion recalls the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and celebrates the unity of all the members of God's family. United Methodists also celebrate other religious ceremonies. United Methodists embrace liturgical services, preaching, prayer, confirmation, marriage, funerals, and family devotions.