We believe that God is Love
It was out of Love that God created the world. It was out of love that God gave humans free-will to return the love of God and love their neighbors. It was out of love that God sent Jesus Christ into the world in order to unite us to God, to teach us how to live, and ultimately to die and be resurrected to show us the way to eternal life. It was out of love that God sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts to draw us back to God, to transform our lives, and to form God's community of love on earth: the Church.
We believe that humans are created in the Image of God.
Humans were created to love like God loves, to love boundlessly, to love self-sacrificially, and to love creatively. But we've all failed. Too often we have let our fears, our insecurities, and our hatreds get in the way of our love for God and for one another. And so all have sinned and fallen short of the glory that God has intended for our lives. Yet where we are weak, God is strong. God sent Jesus Christ, who was himself both fully God and fully Human, into the world to restore God's image of love in humanity, to usher us back into relationship with God, and to teach us the way of peace.
We believe that human life is sacramental.
In Christianity, sacraments are "sacred moments." They are holy times when we come into the presence of God in a special way. Baptism and Communion are the two official sacraments of The United Methodist Church. In baptism, we use water to symbolize the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we are claimed to be God's beloved children. In communion, we believe that the risen Christ is somehow mysteriously present in simple things like bread and wine, and there, when we gather around his table, we receive our identity as the "Body of Christ, redeemed by his blood."
Even though there are only two sacraments, God can use anything to make a "sacramental" moment. Often these things happen in the form of what we call "spiritual disciplines" - things like prayer, worship, and silent solitude. But any number of things, from the smile of a child, to the warm hands of a grandparent, to the steam rising from a shared pot of late-night coffee can communicate God's love to us. The life of a United Methodist at First Church is a life that looks for and recognizes these sacred moments in all aspects of life.
United Methodists believe that our faith is never a solitary thing.
Our founder, John Wesley, said that there is no such thing as a "holy solitary," someone whose religion is totally private. We believe that our relationship with God has something to say about all of our relationships - relationships with our family members, with our friends, with our community, and our world. That is why we have drafted a list of "Social Principles" which help us think about how God wants us to relate to the wider society.
Social Principles of the United Methodist Church