When I am asked what Methodists emphasize or how we might be different from other denominations, it has to do with our view that God loves everybody, wants everybody to be in relationship with him…
Even people whose way of life we disagree with.
It was our founder John Wesley who, in the 18th century, coined the phrase, “agree to disagree.” We believe the love of Christ that binds us together is more powerful than any disagreements we might have about doctrine, social issues, or politics.
More than that, We believe that God offers his grace, that is, his unconditional reconciling love, to each and everybody.
And even more than that, we believe God calls his church to be those who show this loving kindness of God through our actions and attitudes, through our acts of mercy, through having a special care for those who often feel left out or live on the margins of society.
We do understand that this is indeed an imperfect world, filled with sin to be sure. But we believe God has chosen gracious love as His way to win the victory over evil.
At our best, that’s how we Methodists try to transform the world… Not through scorn or hate, judgment or condemnation, but simply by offering to others the merciful grace which God has offered to us.
Back in 1627, long before the Methodist movement even started, a theologian named, of all things, Rupertus Meldenius, wrote his vision of a church: In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity.
That became a watchword of us Methodists, and in that spirit I promise you will find love and acceptance within our congregation, no matter what your journey.