OUR WESLEYAN HERITAGE
We are a Christian community of the Wesleyan tradition. We embrace all as beloved children of God. Building on a rich heritage, we follow the teachings of Jesus, sharing God's grace through words, actions and service in order to create a better community, society and world.
Historically, First United Methodist Church has been strongly Wesleyan in Christian faith...
- WORSHIP-CENTERED whose worship was shaped by historical Wesleyan themes and under-girded by the influence of Southwestern University faculty.
- PROVIDED LEADERSHIP in addressing social justice issues.
- ENGAGED in "good works" in our community
- COMFORTABLE with intellectual discourse guided by the Wesleyan quadrilateral (scripture, tradition, experience, reason)
Since 2000, the purpose of The United Methodist Church has been stated as "Making Disciples of Jesus Christ." This statement of purpose was clarified in 2008 with the addition of "...for the transformation of the world." At First United Methodist Church we are learning to live into that purpose.
Currently, we are theologically diverse with members from a broad variety of Christian denominational backgrounds and differing theological foundations. In the midst of this diversity, we are a United Methodist congregation -- a part of a world-wide connectional system -- bridged by...
- WORSHIP - We are a worship-centered congregation. We recognize the value of diverse worship styles and offer different worship opportunities. The worship is shaped by historical Wesleyan themes: grace, embracing each person as a beloved child of God, personal holiness (spiritual transformation), social holiness (involvement in the community).
- SMALL GROUPS - Relationships and connection are found in small groups based on common interests. These small groups naturally function out of their own organizing interests, yet they are asked to continually examine their role in the purpose and process of discipleship at First United Methodist Church.
- TRADITIONAL WESLEYAN EMPHASIS - We continue to live out "good works" in our community and are moving toward transformative missions through trust-based relationships.
OUR WESLEYAN ROOTS
The United Methodist Church traces its roots back to the ministry of Rev. John Wesley and Rev. Charles Wesley, priests of the Anglican Church in England during the 1700s. The Wesleys never intended to start a new denomination. Their objective was to reach the impoverished masses who were not being touched by the Anglican Church at that time. They were very methodical in their approach to guiding believers in becoming and living as disciples, hence the nickname "Methodists." Their methodical way centered in small groups of mutual support and accountability, designed to foster spiritual growth and transformation of life.
The Wesleyan movement was marked by several key theological principles:
- centrality of grace - salvation is the work of God from beginning to end, embraced by faith
- that God's saving work in an individual's life led to a lifestyle marked by personal holiness and good works addressing the needs of others
- that personal holiness (personal salvation) led to social holiness (good works within the community). The Wesleyan movement in England created hospitals, schools, banks to help the poor avoid debtors prison. It led an anti-slavery movement in English politics as well as policies advocating for the poor.
- ecumenical - that different Christian groups can work together for the good of the community without having to agree on doctrine or church structure or religious practice.