We, here at East Jordan, believe that love is at the core of our faith and that God’s love is available to all. We strive to “Know Christ and to make Christ known.” We do this through study and outreach. Praise be to God for all that we have been provided.
Who are United Methodists? At the risk of stating the obvious, we’re Christians. There are 8 million of us in the United States and another 3.5 million in countries around the world. Our congregation is deeply involved in our own community and in outreach far from home. Both women and men are our clergy/pastors. We believe we are all in ministry together. Our decision-making bodies always include clergy and lay church members. We have two sacraments – baptism and communion – and our communion table is open to all. (Yes, that really means everyone.) We believe that many of the things that separate people from each other are more important to them than they are to God.
Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew, was born in what we now call the Middle East between 7 and 2 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era). The human Jesus walked around ancient Israel preaching, teaching, healing and causing great consternation to the power structure. He invited everyone (that means women and children, too, in a male-dominated culture) to participate in the coming kingdom of God. He welcomed the social rejects and big sinners of his day. His challenge of the power structure led to his arrest by religious authorities – after his closest friends betrayed and abandoned him. Roman authorities crucified him (a horrible, but common, execution method) as a criminal sometime between 26-36 C.E. He forgave his enemies with his dying breath and after burial, he rose from the dead and appeared multiple times to his followers.
To continue this story of how Christianity evolved – and how United Methodism entered the picture – you have to start grappling with the idea of the Trinity, a belief shared with other Christians. The concept of the Trinity is that there is one God who is revealed to us in three forms: God, the loving father and creator of the universe, Jesus Christ, God's son and our redeemer, who was fully human and fully divine, and the Holy Spirit, God actually with us, awakening us to God's will and helping us carry it out.
Who can be baptized? People of any age, from infancy through adulthood, but once is sufficient because it is God's act, not a denomination's. (If you were baptized in another faith and later join a United Methodist church, you can "confirm" or "reaffirm" that baptism, but God got it right the first time.) Ordinary water and the hands of a minister are the tools. (Most people get sprinkled, but some prefer pouring or immersion – so, yes, you can get dunked.)
Just what is it? Communion is an act of worship that uses bread and wine (unfermented grape juice, actually) to open ourselves to God's love, to remember Christ's life and to be bound to a bigger community. United Methodists have an "open table." It's not "our" table, but the family table to which Jesus welcomed everyone and a sacred time of inclusion. (You don't have to be a member. You don't have to be baptized. You don't have to be an adult. It really is open to all.)
A Sunday morning worship service is everyone's initial concept of being part of a church. Indeed, Sunday service is a fixture, but John Wesley himself would tell you that worship happens every day – and in many ways. Today's United Methodists are affirming to everyone that a church has many doors – literal and figurative. Church might include: a daycare program, a youth basketball league, a Bible study class, a "Habitat for Humanity" build team, a choir, a mentoring program for at-risk teens, a soup kitchen for the hungry, a food bank, a fund-raising project to end malaria, a wintertime homeless shelter, and any of thousands of ways people connect with others through the church.
A basic concept is that Christianity is not practiced alone but in a community of believers who understand that "love" and "church" are both verbs. Jesus reminded the people of his time that the two great rules of life were to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. That's good advice to live by today.
Almost 150 years ago, East Jordan congregation started as God’s plan for church members, our community, our society, our world, and our time. In the years since, the church has change locations, changed names, changed pastors and changed enrollment.
What has not changed is that we believe this church is God’s plan and we are part of God’s plan - the body of Christ. We at East Jordan United Methodist Church identify our goal as to grow spiritually through involvement in Christian education, community and small groups.
Also, we identify our congregation as friendly, outgoing Christians, with intergenerational fellowship, and a variety of programs, Sunday School and study groups.