Our Beliefs

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As a United Methodist congregation, we share a common heritage with all other Christians that can be traced all the way back to Jesus’ disciples. We believe in a triune God (the Trinity), the need for forgiveness and reconciliation caused by sin, salvation through Jesus Christ, and the primacy of scripture.

As Methodists we are also shaped by our distinctive Wesleyan heritage – first articulated by John Wesley in 18th century England. We believe a lifetime, however long it happens to be, is an opportunity to grow in the knowledge and love of God, discover our true identity as a child of God, and get better and better at loving our neighbors. We never stop growing! Our lifelong growth happens interacting with God’s Spirit.

We call God’s involvement in our lives “grace”  – the unearned, undeserved love of God. Following Wesley’s example, recognizing God’s grace is a big deal for Methodists. Our description of God’s grace changes as our relationship with God changes and as we acknowledge grace at work in our life. When God’s grace becomes especially visible to us, for example, through the sacraments of baptism or holy communion, or any experience of the sacred, we call it a “means of grace.”

The Christian faith is always experiential, faith and action must go hand in hand. After we confess our faith in God as known through Jesus Christ, we still must face the questions, “What about the rest of our life?” “How should we live our life as a Christian?” Faith is never a private matter, it always involves working together with others, as a community, to share Christ in word and deed with the world. For Methodists all religion is social religion, there is no such thing as private religion. We live our lives accountable to God and accountable to one another.

There are some practical things we can do to grow as followers of Christ, pray, read the scripture, share our resources generously, obtain the best possible education, serve others, forgive others, participate in worship – including the sacraments, John Wesley said we should avoid doing harm, do all the good we can, and fall deeper in love with God. Wesley called these the three simple rules. By doing these practical things we hold Christ at the center of our lives and are shaped by him.

Pastor Bill is happy to have a conversation about the beliefs Christians share in common and the distinctive Wesleyan heritage of Methodists. You are invited to explore these beliefs in a confirmation class or Bible study.

Holy Communion

At Portage Faith Church, as part of our Wesleyan tradition, we practice an Open Communion Table. When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, Christ is our host. Christ invites everyone, all people of all ages and all religious backgrounds, to share in the Eucharist.

As a “means of grace” people may experience God’s grace at the table in a life-shaping way, a way that causes them to commit their life to Christ or change their course in life.

We use grape juice – unfermented wine – for communion so that no barrier is placed between anyone and communion with God.

As a sacrament, participation in regular Holy Communion is encouraged; however, participation is always a matter of individual choice.