The United Methodist Church is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination that shares in common with other denominations the core beliefs of Christianity.
In addition, we emphasize the following:
Primacy of Grace – Grace is God’s loving action through the Holy Spirit, unearned and undeserved. No matter where we are in our spiritual lives, we got there by grace, and we can only move forward by grace. Because we believe this so firmly, we try not to be judgmental of others.
Free Will – We believe that, by God’s grace, humans have the ability to say yes or no to God’s love.
Social Consciousness – While we do not teach a works-based salvation, we do believe that faith should express itself in good works. United Methodists have always felt that concern for the poor, needy, and hurting of society is part and parcel of being a Christian.
Baptism – This is a once-in-a-lifetime sacrament of initiation into the church. When we baptize infants, we are recognizing that, as children of believing parents, they have a place in the covenant community of God’s people. We do not believe that infant baptism alone is sufficient for salvation; the child must one day accept the gift of salvation for himself or herself and then be confirmed as a professing member of the church.
Holy Communion – Communion in the United Methodist Church is an open table: one does not have to be a member of this church to participate. The bread of Holy Communion represents the broken body of Jesus Christ, given for us. The cup represents the blood poured out to give us new life. We believe that Christ is present in a special way when we celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion.
A “Connectional” Church – Every UM pastor and every local church belongs to an “Annual Conference.” This group meets once a year. It is made up of all the pastors, plus one lay member for each pastor. It is presided over by the Bishop. Its goal is to oversee the ministries of United Methodism for its particular region. Every church pays “apportionments” to support the world-wide mission of the UMC. Every pastor is “appointed” to a local church, or to a ministry beyond the local church, for one year at a time. We belong to the Western North Carolina Conference.