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Our Faith

We seek to live out our faith in the present and look to the future, but always conscious of our past. Have a look at our History page to find out a bit about the development of our church and the history of Methodism in our area. But by our history we also mean our traditions and our beliefs as a part of the Methodist Church.

Two or three years ago the national church has promoted A Methodist Way Of Life. On this link you will find various videos and resources aimed at helping Methodists apply our calling to be part of Methodism into our daily life. If you are interested in starting or continuing the journey described on those pages there will always be someone at our church who would be happy to answer your questions or support you. Get in touch with us in any way that is comfortable for you. 

But who are Methodists? What's different or special about Methodism?

Things you might know about Methodism could be:

Singing: John and Charles Wesley recognised the value of communal singing both for fellowship and for learning. Charles wrote something like 6,000 hymns, and many are still sung today by Christians of all denominations. Methodists still sing. A lot. A typical Sunday morning service at our church will have at least 5 hymns. Some of us even sing well, but that's not a requirement - as anyone who sits near our website editor on a Sunday morning will be able to confirm!

Social activism: Many well known charities have had a Methodist beginning, including Action for Children and All We Can, both charities for whom we have a long tradition of fundraising in our church.

 

Covenant Prayer: Methodists annually renew their commitment to God with a prayer which some other denominations now sometimes use as well. A common version of the prayer goes like this:

I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.

Amen

Alcohol: The Methodist Church was involved in the Temperance movement and traditionally Methodists were opposed to drinking alcohol because of the damage it caused to the working class communities where Methodism first grew. Nowadays, although alcohol is still not permitted within Methodist churches (you will receive alcohol-free wine at Holy Communion) church members regard it as a personal matter whether or not they drink. 

Gambling: This was traditionally opposed by the church for much the same reasons. More recently you may recall that Methodist churches did not apply for funding grants from the National Lottery when it began. That restriction was later lifted but the church still expresses concerns about the addictive nature of the National Lottery, especially the scratch cards, and save for small raffles gambling remains prohibited on church premises.

Committees: We know we are famous amongst fellow Christians for our attachment to organisation, meetings, committees and working groups. We even formed a committee to analyse the jokes about that (not really, or not yet anyway...). We're not sure we do actually form more committees than other denominations, though if we do it may be a by-product of that social activism.

All need to be saved.

All may be saved.

All may know themselves saved.

All may be saved to the uttermost.

All Can be Saved

At the heart of Methodism is the understanding that no-one is beyond the reach of God's love. Salvation is there for everyone who turns to God, not just a chosen few, but that only by turning to God can salvation be assured because nobody can resist the evils of the world on their own.

This summary is one that Methodist publications often mention:

The Methodist Quadrilateral

You might have heard of this expression, perhaps especially if you're visiting this page because you have an assignment to complete (and if so, welcome, and good luck with it!). Methodism traditionally recommends a fourfold approach to learning about our faith and making it relevant in the world. This has sometimes come to be called the Methodist Quadrilateral, or Wesley's Quadrilateral, although the expression wasn't used until long after his time. 

In short the four approaches are:

Scripture: discovering the word of God through reading the Bible. Methodists may have differing views about the Bible's authority in our lives, may favour different translations from each other, but for all of us it is a fundamental starting point to understanding God's story and working out our place in it.

Tradition: studying the accumulated learning, wisdom and interpretations of Christians over the centuries. This may include Bible commentaries, the text of hymns and poems, even the publications of our annual Methodist Conference, but also Christian art and devotional material.

Reason: loving and seeking God with our minds as well as our hearts. Methodists are encouraged and expected to approach their faith in a clear headed way, thoughtfully and rationally. This means becoming aware of other opinions and comparing them honestly, applying common sense.

Experience: gaining wisdom and understanding from appreciating God's work in our own lives. Methodism stresses the importance of our own experience of God's grace and to that end Methodists are encouraged to share their stories with each other and pray and reflect on their own and others' lived experience.

Our Calling

Our belief in these principles is reflected in Our Calling which is explained in the video, and through all the stories you can read if you click this link. New stories are added to that page regularly, so revisit the the blog on that link again for more examples of Our Calling in action in today's society here in Britain and around the world.

Click the Tell Me buttons for more about what these aspects of Our Calling mean to us in practice and why we think they are so important.

Worship

Learning and Caring

Service

Evangelism

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