The United Methodist Church was formed in 1968 when the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church combined. However, our heritage goes back much further. On May 24th, 1738, John Wesley met with a group of believers on Aldersgate Street in London. Wesley came to understand that faith in Christ alone would bring salvation. He and his brother, Charles, soon began to organize Methodist societies throughout rural areas and small towns in England. The Methodist Church through the years has provided opportunities for millions to know and follow Jesus Christ. The United Methodist Church has the following spiritual emphasis:
Salvation is restored relationship with God, which comes through faith in Christ.
Scripture is sufficient for guiding every believer in Godly living.
True faith in Christ will be expressed in deed of love, witness, service, and holiness.
The United Methodist Church, as a denomination, is a democratic and representative organization. The manner by which the church is organized, the selection of leaders, and the way it uses its resources are determined by a majority of voting members at local, regional and international meetings called “conferences.” Fairview is a member of the Holston Conference.
A bishop is an ordained elder, elected by the jurisdictional or central conference, to serve in one of the top offices of the church. The district superintendent is an ordained clergy person appointed by a bishop to supervise a region of about 50 churches.
The United Methodist Church recognizes only baptism and Holy Communion as sacraments because they were the only acts ordained by Christ. Through baptism, we accept God’s gift of grace through Jesus Christ and yield our lives to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Baptism ushers you into the Christian church universal, the family of Christ. If you have not been baptized you will be asked to repent of your sins and profess your faith in God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Christian faith as contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. To be received into United Methodist membership, you will be asked to be loyal to the church and “do all in your power to strengthen its ministries.” You are asked to commit yourself to “faithfully participate in the church’s ministries by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service, and your witness.” Sprinkling is the most common method of baptism in the United Methodist church. However, Fairview offers baptism by sprinkling and immersion. Those being baptized can choose their mode of baptism. If you have been baptized in another Christian denomination, you will only take vows of church membership.
When an infant is baptized, the parents promise to raise the child in a Christian home and the congregation recognizes its responsibility in the Christian nurture of the child. While baptism is an important sacrament, it is not absolutely necessary for salvation. An infant who dies without having been baptized is as much within the love and care of God as the baptized infant.
The Lord’s Supper, also referred to as Communion or Eucharist, is open to all persons. Anyone may participate who responds affirmatively to the invitation, “Christ our Lord invites to His table all who love him, who earnestly repent of their sin, and seek to live in peace with one another.” You do not have to be a member of the church to participate.