The people of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church value spiritual growth and Christian service in the context of a broad-based, inclusive, spiritually progressive Christian tradition.
Our theological statement is based on 7 basic Christian principles, using the acronym
B=BIBLE-CENTERED We do not take all of the Bible literally, but encourage people to become Biblically “literate” by reading, studying, and praying for insight, individually and in groups. The Bible is an open door to an encounter with God’s inspiration, love, wisdom and direction. We use tools that John Wesley (founder of Methodism in the 1700s) used in interpreting the Bible – including reason (techniques of Biblical scholarship), tradition (how the church through the ages has interpreted the Bible), life experience, and spiritual revelation.
A=ACTS From programs to projects at home and abroad we serve God by serving people.
S=SPIRITUALITY Spirituality is our awareness of what God’s Spirit is doing in us and in the world. In the Bible, the Spirit also inspires, awakens, informs, and moves people into stirring action or quiet calm. Spirit bestows special gifts and qualities of each of us, not just for ourselves but also for the upbuilding of family and community. The spiritual practices of daily prayer/meditation and weekly worship are of utmost importance in keeping us tuned in to God’s presence, guidance, and protection.
I=INVITATION Invitation starts with making a welcoming place within our hearts for the Spirit of God. Through prayer, worship, fellowship, service, and study, we become aware of how powerful that Spirit is and invitation becomes more natural, and we begin to invite people in our lives, our homes, our church. At the end of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus gives what has been called “the great commission”, saying: “Go, therefore into all the world and make disciples…” We are called to be invitational, not in a spirit of arrogance or coercion, but with the deepest sense of hospitality – sincerely wanting to share with others that which is most precious to us.
C=CHRIST-CONSCIOUSNESS CHURCH As Christians, our main claim is the belief in Jesus Christ. The root word of believe means “to give one’s heart to.” In the Bible, the heart is the deepest place of the self. To believe in Jesus means to give our heart to his teachings, his consciousness, his living Spirit. We do not claim all other religions or spiritual practices are wrong, inferior, or outside of God. Rather, our belief is that everything that is needed for the journey with and in God is present in the path of Jesus Christ, now and throughout eternity Consciousness – another word for awareness, or world view – expresses the Christian’s desire to enter the same awareness as Jesus had, To be “like Christ,” His words summarize this state of consciousness: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27). We treasure the Biblical concept of the Church as the Body of Christ. God loves us, is with and in us, and wants us to:
* love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind;
* be boldly compassionate towards others, including the poor;
* confront or turn away from everything that is not of God;
* share his message with others.
S=SUPPORTIVE, INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY Part of the mission of St. Paul’s is to help people experience Christian fellowship, accountability and extended family in a church that seeks to be an intentional spiritual community. St. Paul’s welcomes people of different ages, races, genders, nationalities, health conditions, abilities, economic status, educational backgrounds, sexual orientations, religious backgrounds, political philosophies, theological opinions, and personality types into the life of St. Paul’s. We are a “reconciling congregation,” one of 226 welcoming congregations within the United Methodist Church which has 33,000 congregations . We welcome people of all God-given sexual orientations into full participation in the community of faith. Although life in community is complex and imperfect, we seek to be “at home” with its challenges, allowing the spirit of Christ to inform and transform us. All of us needthe grace of God and the loving support of people who care about us. We give and receive that support as Christ’s community.
+= PLUS The “plus” sign in BASICS+ represents the sign of the cross, the symbol of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial love for us. The amazing grace of God’s unconditional love is the “plus” of life. Our great legacy is to experience this love as our life, and to share this love with the world! The cross reminds us, also, that we encounter suffering, injustice, death, and shadowy parts of the human condition.. It reminds us that the power and love of Christ’s resurrected Spirit, working through us, can, and will, bring forth “shalom,” the Biblical word for wholeness, peace, and salvation.