What We Believe Our Belief in GodGod is as a Trinity—three persons in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.God, who is one, is revealed in three distinct persons.God is transcendent (over and beyond all that is), God is omnipresent(everywhere at once), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omniscient(all-knowing). God is absolute, infinite, righteous, just, loving,merciful…and more.What God doesGod works in at least these seven ways:God creates. In the beginning God created the universe, and the Creationis ongoing. From the whirling galaxies, to subatomic particles, to theunfathomable wonders of our own minds and bodies—we marvel at God'screative wisdom.God sustains. God continues to be active in creation, holding all in"the everlasting arms." In particular, we affirm that God is involved inour human history—past, present, and future.God loves. God loves all creation. In particular, God loves humankind,created in the divine image. This love is like that of a parent. We'vefollowed Jesus in speaking of God as "our Father," while at times itseems that God nurtures us in a motherly way as well.God suffers. Since God is present in creation, God is hurt when anyaspect of creation is hurt. God especially suffers when people areinjured. In all violence, abuse, injustice, prejudice, hunger, poverty,or illness, the living God is suffering in our midst.God judges. All human behavior is measured by God's righteousstandards—not only the behavior itself but also the motive or theintent. The Lord of life knows our sin—and judges it.God redeems. Out of infinite love for each of us, God forgives our ownself-destruction and renews us within. God is reconciling theindividuals, groups, races, and nations that have been rent apart. Godis redeeming all creation.God reigns. God is the Lord of all creation and of all history. Thoughit may oftentimes seem that the "principalities and powers" of evil havethe stronger hand, we affirm God's present and future reign.JesusSon of GodWe believe that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, and was fully God andfully human. That Jesus is God's son.Son of manWe believe that Jesus was fully human. He was tempted. He grew weary.He wept. He expressed his anger. In fact, Jesus is God's picture of whatit means to be a mature human being.ChristChrist is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word Messiah, which meansGod's Anointed One. For years before Jesus' time the Jews had beenexpecting a new king, a descendant of the revered King David, who wouldrestore the nation of Israel to glory. Like kings of old, this one wouldbe anointed on the head with oil, signifying God's election; hence, theChosen One = the Anointed One = the Messiah = the Christ. The earlyJewish Christians proclaimed that Jesus was, indeed, this Chosen One.Thus, in calling him our Christ today, we affirm that he was and is thefulfillment of the ancient hope and God's Chosen One to bring salvationto all peoples, for all time.LordTo claim Jesus as Lord is to freely submit our will to his, to humblyprofess that it is he who is in charge of this world.SaviorWe believe in Jesus as Savior, as the one through whom God has freed usof our sin and has given us the gift of whole life, eternal life, andsalvation. We speak of this gift as the atonement, our "at-oneness" orreconciliation with God. We recognize Jesus' sacrifice on the cross andhis victory over sin and death in the Resurrection.Holy SpiritThe Holy Spirit is God's present activity in our midst. When we senseGod's leading, God's challenge, or God's support or comfort, we say thatit's the Holy Spirit at work.In Matthew's account of Jesus' baptism, Jesus "saw the Spirit of Goddescending like a dove and alighting on him" (3:16) and he "was led upby the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted" (4:1). After hisResurrection Christ told his disciples, "You will receive power when theHoly Spirit has come upon you" (Acts 1:8). A few weeks later, on the Dayof Pentecost, this came to pass: "And suddenly from heaven there came asound like the rush of a violent wind....All of them were filled withthe Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:2, 4). As the Book of Acts and Paul's lettersattest, from that time on, the early Christians were vividly aware ofGod's Spirit leading the new church.In guidance, comfort, and strengthToday we continue to experience God's breath, God's Spirit. As one ofour creeds puts it, "We believe in the Holy Spirit, God present with usfor guidance, for comfort, and for strength" (The United MethodistHymnal, No. 884).The Holy Spirit renews us and by strengthening us for the work of ministry.Fruits: Jesus said, "You will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16).What sort of fruit? Paul asserts that "the fruit of the Spirit is love,joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness,and self-control" (Galatians 5:22).The Holy Spirit empowers us for ministry in the world.Human BeingsWe believe that God created human beings in God's image.We believe that humans can choose to accept or reject a relationshipwith God.We believe that all humans need to be in relationship with God in orderto experience eternal life and to live the life that God created for us.The ChurchWe believe that the church is the body of Christ, an extension ofChrist's life and ministry in the world today.We believe that the mission of the church is to make disciples of JesusChrist for the transformation of the world.We believe that the church is "the communion of saints," a communitymade up of all past, present, and future disciples of Christ.We believe that the church is called to worship God and to support thosewho participate in its life as they grow in faith.The BibleThe Bible is God speaking to us about salvation.We say that God speaks to us through the Bible and that it contains allthings necessary for salvation. This authority derives from three sources:We hold that the writers of the Bible were inspired by God, that theywere filled with God's Spirit as they wrote the truth to the best oftheir knowledge.We hold that God was at work in the process of canonization, duringwhich only the most faithful and useful books were adopted as Scripture.We hold that the Holy Spirit works today in our thoughtful study of theScriptures, especially as we study them together, seeking to relate theold words to life's present realities.