Statements of Belief from local churches. From St. George’s United Methodist Church, located at the corner of 4th and New Streets, in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia, is the oldest Methodist church in continuous use in the United States, beginning in 1769. The congregation was founded in 1767, meeting initially in a sail loft on Dock Street, and in 1769 it purchased the shell of a building which had been erected in 1763 by a German Reformed congregation. At this time, Methodists had not yet broken away from the Anglican Church and the Methodist Epicopal Church was not founded until 1784.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._George%27s_Methodist_Church)
Methodism’s founders, brothers John and Charles Wesley, believed that faith makes a practical difference in daily living. We still hold to this, the heart of United Methodist tradition and identity.
We believe in experiencing God in the heart. The Wesleys experienced faith as something more than dogma. From earliest times, Methodists yearned for people to feel the depth and breadth of God’s love for the world. We still believe that warmth, joy, acceptance, inclusion, peace and justice flow from experiencing God’s love in life.
We believe in finding guidance in the Bible. Methodists believe the Bible tells the story of God’s never-ending love, providing guidance and inspiration for putting grace and love into practice. The Bible says, “We love because God first loved us.”
We believe in practical theology. Methodists are activists, applying a theology of love and justice to all areas of life. We stand for equality and the basic rights of all people. This practical theology is expressed in the United Methodist Social Creed.
We believe in a disciplined Christianity. We believe Bible study, prayer, worship, regular holy communion and acts of kindness and service to others, with others shapes faith with the energy of love.
We believe in an ecumenical Christianity. Congregations are knit together in mutual concern and responsibility. We are better together than we are alone. We join with all of God’s people, of every faith and denomination, to do God’s bidding and Christ’s work. As John Wesley said, “If we cannot believe alike, can we not love alike?”