Who are we?
John Wesley was very much a folk theologian who wanted to speak 'plain truth to plain people'. He took seriously the working people of his day. He addressed his preaching to them, and drew great crowds in the street or on hillsides.
He also trusted them with responsibilities. In building the local Methodist groups or 'societies', he trained many lay people who then maintained the meetings and gave pastoral care and challenge to the members. He also trained preachers, who led worship locally, rather than travelling the country like himself.
It is a strong feature of Methodism that ordinary lay people play a major part in the running of the Church. Local lay people called 'stewards' take responsibility for the fabric of church buildings and manses and for the handling of money. They share with ordained ministers the role of setting direction for the churches in a particular area or 'circuit'.
Worship each week is not always led by an ordained minister, but often by a Local Preacher - a lay person who has been trained and authorized to lead worship and preach. Every ordained minister in the Methodist Church was first a Local Preacher.
At all levels of the Methodist Church, lay people are involved in decision making, and the vice-president of the Conference is always a lay person. This emphasis goes back to the roots of Methodism.
Methodists are well known as enthusiastic singers, in choirs and congregations. Singing is still an important means of learning about, sharing and celebrating our faith.
Methodist churches have home fellowships, Bible studies and house
groups. It was from small groups like this that the Methodist Church of
today has grown.
Christians read the Bible as part of a faith community and read the Bible to put ourselves into the story of God's dealings with humanity. The Bible can be puzzling but it is continually a source of inspiration and direction in our lives.
Methodists belong to local churches or ecumenical partnerships, but also feel part of a larger connected community, the Connexion.
In the Methodist Church decisions are made as openly as possible, giving opportunities for all to contribute. It is important for all views to be heard and taken seriously, especially where Christians disagree.
What we believe
We believe that there is one God who made all things, and in Jesus Christ his Son.Jesus preached the Gospel - the good news of the Kingdom of God. Through Jesus' death on the cross, and his resurrection, Christians believe that God has broken the power of all that is evil, in the world and in ourselves. If we accept forgiveness and liberation from sin, and are willing to be open to the Holy Spirit, God can enable us to resist evil and to live life to the full.
Methodists have always been clear that no-one is beyond the reach of God's love. Salvation is there for everyone who turns to God, and not just for a chosen few.
The longing for holiness is not about wanting to be 'holier than thou'. It is about wanting the love of God to permeate all of our life, and for that love to be shown through our lives to other people.
God gives us the Holy Spirit, and when we accept that special gift , there is no limit to what the grace of God is able to do in our lives. John Wesley taught about 'Christian perfection.' He believed that a mature Christian can reach a state where the love of God reigns supreme in our heart. We can't be perfect in an absolute way, as God is, but we can be made perfect in love.
Living as a Christian means much more than going to church. It involves a life-long journey to follow in Jesus footsteps. This will mean trying to apply what we know of God through Jesus to all the different aspects of our life, and make choices in life based on this rather than just our self-interest