As United Methodists, we affirm the unity of all Christians in the Body of Christ. To that end, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, often quoted St. Augustine, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
The common heritage we share with other Christians includes the conviction that God has mercy and love for all people, the belief in a triune God-Father, Son and Holy Spirit, faith in the mystery of salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ, and the celebration of the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.
United Methodists baptize by sprinkling, immersion, or pouring, and both infants and adults may be baptized. Baptism is the sacrament of initiation that joins us with the church and with Christians everywhere. It’s a symbol of new life and a promise of God’s saving love, and a sign of God’s forgiveness for our sins.
The Lord’s Supper, also referred to as Holy Communion, or the Eucharist, is a holy meal of bread and wine (juice is used in the United Methodist Church) that symbolizes the body and blood of Christ. By sharing this meal, we give thanks for Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins and receive grace to empower us to go on in Christian living. Holy Communion recalls the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and celebrates the unity of all the members of God’s family. We observe open Communion, which means there are no qualifications or requirements of membership in our congregation or our denomination to receive Communion. All those who love God and seek to follow Jesus Christ are welcome at the Lord’s table.
We believe that faith and good works go hand in hand. Personal salvation leads to involvement in Christian mission in the world. As the Holy Spirit shapes us more and more into the image of Christ, personal holiness and social holiness are intertwined.