Who We Are
We are diverse in the particularities of theological beliefs, but we are united in our inclusivity of all people as sacred creations. We recognize that we are all on a spiritual journey, and our paths have brought us together through a variety of landscapes. We do not say a single creed or insist that everyone has to believe the same thing.
The diversity we bring is a beautiful reflection of the vastness of God. Therefore, questions are valued more than absolutes. Together, we strive to live out the fullest expression of love, justice and care for all people and all creation. The Way of Jesus calls us to grow our awareness and deepen our experiences of the Holy within and beyond all.
Saint Paul United Methodist Church will be a fertile place of personal growth and transformation; a downtown center of prayer, song, joy, and hope-filled spirit; a diverse and caring people of grace and compassion.
Our Vision is expressed through our logo. The initials for Saint Paul, SP, weave together forming an infinity symbol which reflects the infinite God that holds all of us together as one. The colors allude to the flame image of God’s Spirit, Divine Energy, enlivening our days. They also harken to the flames of the United Methodist Church. The colors are reflective of our historic building which honors our strong tradition while moving us towards God’s future.
What We Believe
We believe we are called to live the Jesus way, to live with love, compassion, and justice in all that we do and say. We believe that all of us are loved and valued and welcomed by God, who calls us to “love God with our heart, mind, soul, and strength; and to love our neighbors as ourselves.”
Faith and Justice:
The United Methodist Church believes God’s love for the world is an active and engaged love, a love seeking justice and liberty. We cannot just be observers. So we care enough about people’s lives to risk interpreting God’s love, to take a stand, to call each of us into a response, no matter how controversial or complex. The church helps us think and act out a faith perspective, not just responding to all the other ‘mind-makers-up’ that exist in our society.
United Methodist Church Social Creed:
We believe in God, Creator of the world; and in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of creation. We believe in the Holy Spirit, through whom we acknowledge God’s gifts, and we repent of our sin in misusing these gifts to idolatrous ends.
We affirm the natural world as God’s handiwork and dedicate ourselves to its preservation, enhancement, and faithful use by humankind.
We joyfully receive for ourselves and others the blessings of community, sexuality, marriage, and the family.
We commit ourselves to the rights of men, women, children, youth, young adults, the aging, and people with disabilities; to improvement of the quality of life; and to the rights and dignity of all persons.
We believe in the right and duty of persons to work for the glory of God and the good of themselves and others and in the protection of their welfare in so doing; in the rights to property as a trust from God, collective bargaining, and responsible consumption; and in the elimination of economic and social distress.
We dedicate ourselves to peace throughout the world, to the rule of justice and law among nations, and to individual freedom for all people of the world.
We believe in the present and final triumph of God’s Word in human affairs and gladly accept our commission to manifest the life of the gospel in the world. Amen.
What We Believe:
- The United Methodist Church affirms “that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons” in the denomination’s Social Principles. The Church affirms that all people are of sacred worth and are equally valuable in the sight of God. It is committed to be in ministry with all people.
At the 2016 General Conference, the Council of Bishops proposed that a commission review every paragraph of the Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality. In February 2019, delegates to the Special Session of General Conference voted to uphold the church’s statements about homosexuality, same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBTQ persons.
- The United Methodist Church recognizes, embraces, and affirms all persons, regardless of country of origin, as members of the family of God. We urge society to “recognize the gifts, contributions, and struggles of those who are immigrants and to advocate for justice for all.
- We recognize racism as a sin. We commit to challenging unjust systems of power and access. We will work for equal and equitable opportunities in employment and promotion, education and training; in voting, access to public accommodations, and housing; to credit, loans, venture capital, and insurance; to positions of leadership and power in all elements of our life together; and to full participation in the Church and society.
- God unconditionally loves women and children of all nationalities, ethnicities, races, abilities, socio-economic statuses, gender identities and sexual orientations. We understand our gender diversity to be a gift from God, intended to add to the rich variety of human experience and perspective; and we guard against attitudes and traditions that would use this good gift to leave members of one sex more vulnerable in relationships than members of another.
The United Methodist Church is rich in diversity and beliefs. At Saint Paul, you will find that diversity. There is not one statement or creed that all must ascribe to in order to be a part of our community. Much of our teachings reflect the following:
- Following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Onesness and Unity of all life.
- The teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey.
- Our community is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:
- Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics
- Believers and agnostics
- Women and men
- Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities
- Those of all classes and abilities
- The way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe.
- Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes.
- Strive for peace and justice among all people.
- Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth.
- Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.
We welcome you to worship with us and participate in our many opportunities for spiritual growth, learning, fellowship and ministry to the community. Membership is not required to participate, but if you are ready to go to the next level in your faith walk and make a deeper commitment, we invite you to consider becoming a member of Saint Paul United Methodist Church.
Members commit themselves to be Christ’s representatives in the world and participate in their church by:
- Praying for the church and for the world, and participating in opportunities to grow in the spiritual life.
- Attending worship, participating in fellowship and learning opportunities and caring for others in the Saint Paul community.
- Giving regular financial support to the church, as you are able, and supporting the church with your time and talent.
- Being involved in ministries of compassion and justice, either sponsored by Saint Paul or with community partners.
The United Methodist Church recognizes two sacraments: Holy Communion and Baptism.
Holy Communion is served on the first Sunday of each month in our regular worship services. All are invited to share in this means of experiencing God’s grace. You do not need to be a United Methodist or a member of Saint Paul. There are no prerequisites for receiving communion. Simply come forward when the pastor indicates it is time to do so. You will be given a piece of bread and the server will say something akin to, “The grain of God’s love” or “the bread of new life”. You will be offered a small cup of juice and the server will say something akin to “the cup of God’s love for you” or “the cup of hope”. We serve grape juice for communion in solidarity with all who may have difficulties with alcohol consumption. Gluten-free wafers are also available. Holy Communion is a recognition of our connection to all persons in all time in all places who share in the grain and cup, the fruits of the earth. It is a remembrance of who we are as God’s beloved and God’s love poured out for all.
Baptism is naming and a claiming of the Grace of God already present in the life of all people. It is a sacrament of initiation into the church which joins the new member to all Christians everywhere. It is a vow of commitment to live out God’s love, justice and mercy, to resist evil in the world, and to grow in faith and service. All ages are baptized in the United Methodist Church. Adults who come for baptism claim the grace and make the vows for themselves. When children are brought for baptism by their parents, the parents pledge to raise the child in the faith by example and participation in the church. When the child reaches Middle School age, a class of confirmation will prepare them to make those vows for themself. We understand that God is the giver of grace, the one who ‘performs’ the action in baptism, so we do not re-baptize. Baptism is an act of incorporation into the universal presence of God, not a particular denomination. When someone who has already been baptized ( in any faith tradition) joins the church, we ‘remember our baptism.’ We observe the sacrament of baptism during Sunday worship services so that the entire faith community can welcome and join in their vows to support the newly baptized.
Parents who desire to have a child baptized should contact the pastor to schedule a meeting. These are the vows parents make at a child’s baptism: Do you confess your faith in God, Source of life, Word of love? Do you commit yourselves, by the grace of God, to follow in the way Jesus lived and taught, a way of love and justice for all? Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves? Do you promise to share in the life of the church in its worship and its witness and its work ? Do you promise, by the grace of God, to nurture your child in the Christian faith, through the love you show, through the life you lead, through the witness of your faith, and through your participation with [him/her/them] in the life of this community?