Today people are more likely to move far away from where they grew up or where their family is located, which means people are more likely to try a new type of church. Many have grown up without a church affiliation at all! Finding a church to call home can be confusing. Our church staff are happy to meet with you to talk one-on-one about questions you may have, but here are some basics that may be useful.
United Methodist churches might seem different from each other in some ways in which they express their beliefs. Some UMC churches are organized around a small group ministry, and some are so small that worship itself is a small group. Some send people to do missions in far-off lands, and some are organized around a specific ministry right in their own neighborhood. Some UM churches have traditional-style worship services, and some have not seen an organ or pew in decades. However they differ in the way they express their beliefs, United Methodists do have some agreement on what those beliefs are. And we also agree to disagree; after all, Jesus called us to community, not to uniformity! Here's where you can explore what our denomination affirms.
St. Paul's is a diverse congregation, with a range of political and cultural viewpoints among our church family. And like the best of families, we welcome this diversity, respect each other, and work hard to find common ground. In our case, common ground is holy ground, as we bring our differences and similarities together in worship of the One who gives grace to us all.
In the United Methodist system, everyone can have a voice, everyone can take responsibility for the health of our church, everyone is welcome to information of the various church committees, and everyone can use their gifts to bless our church family.
You may notice other denominations that have the 'Methodist' in their title, but St. Paul's belongs to the United Methodist type of Methodism. You can tell a lot about the values of an organization based on how it is structured. We are a part of the Christian religion, and all United Methodist churches together form what is called a denomination. Our denomination is sort of arranged like the United States of America - there are local churches that together make up a larger body, similar to towns in a county. Those larger bodies form yet another level of organization, like counties form a state, and so on. At each level, representatives from the smaller levels talk, pray, and listen to each other to make decisions. The largest body, the General Conference, has representatives from all over the world and meets every four years. The delegates to General Conference are both ordained ministers and regular church members. The United Methodist denomination has some good resources here if you want to read more.
At St. Paul's our minister and our committees work together to help our church be strong and healthy. Once a month, representatives from each committee, members-at-large, staff members, and clergy meet together at Church Council to conduct business of the church. Minutes from this committee are available to any church member of St. Paul's; inquire at the church office.
Once a year, we have a Charge conference to look at an overview of how our congregation is doing. Church members are asked to vote at the Charge Conference on the minister's salary. Once a year, we send a delegation to the Annual Conference to represent St. Paul's at the larger body.