These value statements were created from congegational responses during our Lighting Our Way Ahead small group meetings in the fall of 2015. Our members further parsed and prioritized the information, resulting in five statements of values for First United Methodist Church. Our value statements were institutionalized and approved during our 2016 Annual Conference and we regularly consecrate them as a collective reminder of our self-proclaimed identity as a church family.
As a congregation we value the history and roots of our United Methodist heritage, whether we were born into the denomination or found a church home here from another faith tradition.
Many in the congregation were born and raised in this church. It is home, and members feel and act like family. Others were raised elsewhere as United Methodist or a similar denomination. These members were familiar with the United Methodist or similar theologies and it "felt right" to become members here. There is a predominant feeling that this is "my church" and I belong.
As a congregation we value a theology that focuses on common ground, leaves room for differing opinions, and leads to increased love of God and neighbor.
In the Methodist tradition, theology is practical. John Wesley preached that theology should move us toward "holiness," which he defined as the increase in us of the love of God and love of neighbor. Holiness is both personal and social, yielding an increase of love personally and an increase in justice socially. We embrace ministry that does practical good for others, especially for people in our community and around the world who are suffering, poor, or marginalized. We practice lifelong learning in a variety of settings that provides a safe space to explore new and sometimes uncomfortable ideas about our faith and the challenges of living it out in the world.
As a congregation we value gathering together in meaningful worship.
From our worship experience we want to be inspired to leave the church pew and live out our Christian faith. We appreciate the feelings we receive through music that moves and lifts our spirits. We wish to hear sermons based in scripture that stimulate us, reinforce and strengthen us on our faith journeys, and show us how to apply God's word to our daily lives. We appreciate the familiar rituals of communion, baptism, Christmas Eve, and Easter Sunday services. We welcome the participation of children and youth in our services.
As a congregation we value the relationships that are formed between different generations that nurture each person's spirit and create a sense of belonging.
Relationships that have formed from intergenerational ministries are important to our church members. Families with school age children want a place where their children feel and know they belong. Children and youth want to have a role in the worship time and ministries of the church, but are often not sure how to find this themselves. They need to be asked and coached by adults. Our adults want connections with our children and young people, with the chance to watch them grow and develop. The youth and adults that connect with each other through ministry find a stronger sense of belonging to the church family.
As a congregation we value extending and receiving a welcoming hand of friendship and support.
Those who have called FUMC home for a number of years often experienced being invited to become part of this faith community, were asked to become part of a church ministry, and have found a supportive, friendly environment for spiritual growth. Others "church-shopped" and at FUMC they found a friendly and welcoming congregation. Our United Methodist community develops through conversations before worship and at coffee time, working together in small groups or in ministries, knowledge that women and men are received equally at FUMC, and the faith and forgiveness they feel from being with Christian friends. Members find and give support in everyday living in both good times and bad times. We value and appreciate a sense of belonging and inclusion no matter our age, ability, or life situation.