The Orchard: A United Methodist Church
We’ve had some people wonder why we don’t put the word “methodist” on our sign on in our logo. They think that perhaps we are trying to intentionally hide the fact that we are, in fact, United Methodist or that we are even a “church”. This is not true. We are a church. We love being a church. Throughout human history, the Church (universal term for the gathering of believers worldwide) has been a beautiful thing. On many occasions, it was the place of hope and peace within the communities that it was a part of. Although the Church has fallen short at times, we still believe that God has given it an incredible job to do and we are honored to be a part of it. We also believe that John Wesley’s perspective on Scripture and community are as important and inspired today as they have ever been. We enjoy the connection and support of the Methodist conference in MS and we are blessed to be able to see what God is doing in churches all throughout the state and the World.
At the same time, we also recognize the fact that in Oxford, MS, there are many people for which the Church has failed. Many went there searching for peace and wholeness and were unable to find it. This has been especially true for many seekers in the Bible belt. Because of this, we are desperately trying to bring fresh ideas and a fresh face (a different name, different terminology) into the conversation about faith, with the hope that they will give pursuing a lifelong relationship with God another try.
As methodists, we largely agree with John Wesley’s perspective on Scripture. The main points of his perspective are centered on the immeasurable grace of God. By grace, we mean the undeserved, unmerited, and loving action of God in human existence through His ever-present Holy Spirit.
It is by grace that we hear God’s call to enter a relationship with Him; by grace that are made right with God (through His son, Jesus’ death and resurrection); and by grace that we are transformed more into His likeness. It is by grace that we can know the assurance of God’s love and our secure relationship with Him. Finally, it is by grace that God empowers us to work for his purposes in the world.
In interpreting life and arriving at standards for what we think about God and how we live in His world, Wesley believed that we were to consider four influences:
- Scripture – Primary above all. All other influences were subjected to the rule of Scripture’s Standards.
- Tradition: when confused, we should ask, “How has the community of faith interpreted this passage, or this issue through the ages.
- Reason: God gave us a mind and expects us to use it. Think, discern, pray, and dialogue with others to arrive at answers
- Experience: Learn from your life, your success and failures. And in community, learn from each other.
To learn more about the United Methodist Church in Mississippi, visit them online.