United Methodists recognize that faith is lived out through devotion to God (often called Piety) that's lived through loving others (often called Mercy). We believe that love is an action, evidenced by our encouraging, building up and ministering to one another. It's more than something we say, but something we live every day.
We began as a movement in the life of the Church, and, at Community, we still see the movement unfolding. John Wesley was a priest in the Church of England when he began to view the Church as a body that was disconnected from the world around it. He began sharing his own faith where people gathered in their ordinary lives - in open fields and town squares, speaking to working people in a way they could easily understand. Recognizing that just going to church on Sunday offered little in advancing personal understanding, acceptance or involvement in nurturing faith at an individual level, Wesley developed small groups that met together regularly to examine their lives, pray for one another and study Scripture more intently. These groups set out to know God more intimately - through acquisition of knowledge and sharing with one another the experiences of their lives.
Seeking to follow in their footsteps, we find that individual faith is nurtured best through relationship with others, hence the name, Community. We see our faith informed by and developed through four simple means:
We look to Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, as the source material we have for beginning to know God's story. We draw from the text an understanding of the early Church and value the Tradition of those who have come before us in the faith - not only recently, but throughout the course of history. We examine all that we learn through the use of Reason, recognizing that God gave us brains and desires for us not to check them at the door. We recognize that some truths are universal, there are truths particular to specific places, times and circumstances. Finally, we draw on Experience - within our everyday life and personal history, as well as from those around us, as one way we can better understand how our stories are wrapped up within God's story.
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