Brentwood Methodist Church is part of the worldwide Methodist Connexion and we support the key tenets of the denomination’s beliefs and doctrine (see http://www.methodist.org.uk/ for more details). One of the joys of the church founded by John Wesley is that we can each individually emphasise and apply those core elements of our faith.
We respect the beliefs and practices of other Christian denominations and those who hold other world faiths. We acknowledge that it possible to see and honour God in many ways.
The following summarises some of our key beliefs and describes how we apply them to Church and our personal lives. We respect the views of our members who choose, personally, to apply the teaching of the Bible more rigorously or differently to the core beliefs below - we are an inclusive Church. We hope you find the following informative and you will be most welcome to join our worship each Sunday so that, together, we can explore our belief in God.
- What we believe about God
- What is Heaven?
- Sin and Forgiveness
- Who can be a Christian?
- Who can be a Methodist?
- Leading Worship
- Taking Communion
- Alcohol and Gambling.
What we believe about God
We believe there is only one God and that he caused the world to be formed. Whilst we tend to say ‘he’, God is so much more than male or female that no pronoun is truly appropriate. To help our understanding of God, we have different views of him to describe what, for most of us, is incomprehensible as a whole.
- God the Father – one view is of a creating God who is a spiritual parent to each and everyone of us. He caused us to be, loves us, knows us and cares for us.
- God the Son – one part of God who came to earth in the form of a man, Jesus, to teach us what God (as a whole) is like. In the form of Jesus, God also showed himself prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for us, his creation, through death.
- God the Spirit – to help us understand how we can talk with God and understand God's personal message for us, we call part of God the Holy Spirit. He is an ever present guide and conscience which we can turn to for help. It is the filling of this Spirit which distinguishes a Christian.
What is Heaven
Like many people, we find the concept of life after death difficult to comprehend and we all have our own ways of picturing heaven. What we share is the belief that although our earthly body may die, the life within us (our spirit, emotions, mind or however you wish to describe it) can continue in a different way. We believe that for all of us this new existence will be in closer unity with the God we believe in.
We believe that no-one is beyond God's love and care and whatever someone's
past life, they have the opportunity to receive God's gift of a place in
Sin and Forgiveness
We know that everyone makes mistakes and does things which are wrong, some things are small, others are large, but we believe that forgiveness is possible and we see the route to the bad things being wiped out as being in four stages.
- Acknowledgement – like with many other organisations, we believe that the first step is to admit that we have done something wrong.
- Repentance – we say sorry for what we have done wrong and ask for God's mercy.
- Forgiveness – we gain the assurance that the love of God can forgive our sins whatever they are.
- Change – we intend to change for the better and not repeat past errors or mistakes.
Who can be a Christian?
We know that God is available to every man, woman and child in the world and that he cares for them whether they know or believe in him. We believe that every child, from the moment of birth, is able to go to heaven and do not believe that only those who are christened or baptised are safe.
Becoming a Christian is not a test nor a public affair, it is the realisation
that you believe in God, trust him to guide you and that you will try to
follow the teaching of the Bible.
Who can become a Methodist?
Whilst we recognise that being a Christian is a personal decision, we believe that to be a member of the worldwide Methodist Church that faith should be professed. We happily accept, on transfer, members of any other Christian Church who can accept the key beliefs of Methodism.
For new members we offer an opportunity to develop your faith before
confirming your beliefs in front of the family of the Church in a service
of confirmation and reception.
Who can lead worship?
We require anyone wanting to lead worship to be trained and to demonstrate their calling. Before anyone starts their training they must explain why they feel it is God’s will and get the support of the local Church and Circuit (the group of local Methodist Churches). Those who we invite to lead our worship include:-
- Ministers – trained at college and ordained to lead worship, conduct marriages and funerals, to baptise children and to preside over the Communion service.
- Deacons – trained in a similar way to Ministers, and also ordained. Their calling is to pastoral work and outreach. Some lead worship, others serve through missions, social work and chaplaincy.
- Local Preachers – lay people learning through part time courses and demonstrating their calling through trial services. When the training period is complete the Circuit will receive a recommendation that they are accepted as Local Preachers.
- Worship Leaders – people who feel called to help with the service on a regular basis and who have been trained and accepted.
- Other Denominations – we also recognise Ministers and appointed preachers of other Christian denominations.
Who can take communion?
God, in the form of Jesus, encouraged all who believe in him to share in the sacrament of communion. We invite all who have a personal faith in him to join with us and share the bread and (non-alcoholic) wine.
We cannot judge who’s faith is adequate for them to be considered Christian
and so we leave it to personal conscience who takes part. For children
it is up to them and their parents to decide when they are ready. Whether
young or old, those who feel unable to share the bread and wine, are welcome
to join with others around the table and receive blessing.
Alcohol and Gambling
There is no doubt that alcohol in excess damages health and causes social problems. Methodists do not allow the consumption of alcohol on Church premises and some believe that for them, personally, abstinence is the correct way of life. For those who wish to consume alcohol, the Church’s teaching is that moderate and responsible drinking is permitted but that excesses must be avoided.
For many Methodists the idea of winning prizes in games of chance or
where skill plays little or no part is wrong. As a local Church we do not
allow games of chance except where the prime reason is to raise money for
good causes and the prize is not large and not the reason for taking part.
This also applies to organisations using our premises and we treat each
occasion on an individual basis, and part of the consideration is that
no person must feel forced or obliged to take part.
We hope you have found this information interesting and would like to join us for worship, you will be assured of a warm welcome at our Church on Warley Hill each Sunday.