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Methodism 101

United Methodists share a common heritage with other Christians. Central to our faith is:

  • The conviction that God has mercy and love for all persons

  • The belief in a triune God--God the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of the world

  • Faith in the mystery of salvation through Jesus Christ

  • A commitment to the Bible as the primary authority of our lives

  • The celebration of the sacraments of Holy Communion and Baptism

General Beliefs: 
In these and many other ways, Methodism affirms the unity of all Christians in the body of Christ. The distinguishing marks of a United Methodist are best illustrated by a commitment to the basics of Christianity and by an emphasis on a Christian lifestyle, rather than to a particular scheme of beliefs or dogmas. 

Therefore, we share four main guidelines that help us understand faith:

  • Scripture

  • Tradition

  • Experience

  • Reason


These are interdependent and allow for individual differences in theological interpretation of our basic beliefs.  


Key Theological Points:


  • Grace: Grace is God’s loving action in the world through the activity of the Holy Spirit. It is undeserved and unmerited. grace is a gift from God. It works in us even before we come to believe.

  • Conversion: God endows each person with dignity and moral responsibility.  The fullness of true humanity is seen in Jesus Christ, God’s personal revelation.

  • Human Worth: Through the Holy Spirit, we are made into new, changed creatures, and restored to into the relationship with God for which we were created. We are in constant need of renewal and conversion can happen continuously throughout our lifetime. Christian experience may be expressed in many different thought forms and lifestyles.

  • Faith and Good Works: They belong together. Personal faith and social action are mutually reinforcing; they cannot be separated.  While we are saved by grace through faith, we also affirm that faith without works is dead.  Methodists believe that personal conversion and social transformation are keys to a healthy, honest spiritual life.

  • Baptism: For United Methodists, baptism is the sacrament of initiation that joins us with the church and Christians everywhere.  It is a symbol of new life and a promise of God’s saving love, God’s forgiving love and our intention to live a life of faith and holiness.  We baptize both infants and adults. Water is a symbol of baptism; United Methodists baptize by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion.  A United Methodist receives the sacrament of baptism only once in his or her life.

  • The Lord's Supper: Jesus told his disciples that whenever they broke bread and took the cup in his name, he would be present among them.  Through the sacrament of Holy Communion, we experience the real and immanent presence of the one who desires to be with us, to walk with us, to dwell within us in Spirit and Truth.  We celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, reaffirm our need for continued grace and reclaim our calling to be “for the world the body of Christ redeemed by his blood.”  At PUMC, we celebrate Holy Communion once a month, on the first Sunday of each month.  All Christians (children, members, non-members, visitors) are welcome at the Lord’s table.

For additional information about the United Methodist Church, go to:


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