The Methodist Church is a global denomination that opens hearts, opens minds and opens doors through active engagement with our world. The mission of The United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. A United Methodist is someone who joins in that mission by putting faith and love into action. We believe that God loves all people, and that we share in expressing that love. So the United Methodist tradition emphasizes God's grace and in serving others. We believe that Jesus Christ is the fullest expression of God's love--showing us the fullness of God's care through Jesus' teachings, death and resurrection.John Wesley started the Methodist movement in 18th century England. His teachings on practical divinity (living out our faith) and appeals to reason and experience form important aspects of United Methodist practice today.

What do United Methodists believe?

We believe God's grace is open to all, and therefore practice "open Communion"--meaning that anyone may participate in receiving Communion. We believe salvation is an open gift from God, accepted by individuals according to their own free will. The United Methodist denomination is a "big tent" theologically, providing space for theological discourse and, at times, disagreement. Like many other Christian groups, we affirm the beliefs expressed in the Apostles Creed. These include:

  • The belief in one God, who is the Creator and sustainer of the universe.
  • The belief in the Trinity, that there is one God in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
  • The belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is fully human and fully divine.

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, taught that we pursue our faith in community and action with others. We practice a social holiness. We insist that personal salvation always involves Christian mission and service to the world. The United Methodist Church has a long history of action and advocacy for social justice. United Methodists are active in their communities and in the world through a variety of ways, including:

  • Participating in local mission projects and service initiatives

  • Supporting global mission efforts through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and other mission organizations

  • Advocating for social justice and working to address issues such as poverty, hunger, and inequality

  • Providing educational and vocational training opportunities

  • Offering counseling, support groups, and other forms of pastoral care

  • Creating and supporting community development programs 

The Leadership of the Methodist Church

  • We are governed by a Council of Bishops from around the world and through a publication known as the Book of Discipline. When possible, there is a General Conference every four years for the purpose of updating policy and practice.  Representatives from each Annual Conference – both clergy and lay members are chosen by their local gatherings.  Covid made it impossible for a recent/ timely General Conference.  There is a provisional split in governance with those churches wanting to adhere to “Homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” needing to apply and be released to join the Global Methodist Church.  Those of us who stay, will remain the United Methodist Church.  

  • As with other mainline denominations, the division over full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ individuals have consumed resources since the 1970s.  In a desire to make clear statements of welcome, the Reconciling Ministries Network was started. This is a denomination-wide effort to educate and support groups and congregations wanting to oppose practice or theology that is exclusive. 

Ridgefield Community UM Church took an overwhelming vote at the end of 2022 to become members of the Reconciling Ministries Network.  

  • This is the statement we voted upon: 

    We celebrate God’s gift of diversity and value the wholeness made possible in community equally shared and shepherded by all. We welcome and affirm people of every gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, who are also of every age, race, ethnicity, physical and mental ability, level of education, and family structure, and of every economic, immigration, marital, and social status, and so much more. We acknowledge that we live in a world of profound social, economic, and political inequities. As followers of Jesus, we commit ourselves to the pursuit of justice and pledge to stand in solidarity with all who are marginalized and oppressed.” 

We have a new bishop – Rev. Dr. Cedrick Bridgeforth. He leads the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area which includes the Pacific Northwest (us), Oregon-Idaho, and Alaska Conferences.  We celebrate his intelligence and practical approaches to ministry. We celebrate that he is helping us all negotiate important and challenging conversations.