The Methodist Church exists:
- To increase awareness of God's presence and celebrate God's love
- To help people to grow and learn as Christians
- To be a good neighbour to people in need and challenge injustice
- To make more followers of Jesus Christ.
The Methodist Conference agreed this statement in June 2000. Decisions about policy are made together at our annual Conference. This is held in different parts of the country, and churches in every local district are represented. Methodists regard local churches as being part of a wider 'Connexion' where we support and learn from each other.
There are over 6,000 Methodist Churches in Britain. These churches have a total membership of about 330,000 people.
There are around one million people in Britain who have an active connection with the Methodist Church. There are 70 million such people across the world.
Frequently Asked Qustions
Will I really be welcome and 'fit in'?
You can be sure of a warm welcome in a Methodist church, whoever you are and however life has treated you. And don't worry if you have lots of doubts and questions about God and Christianity. You'll find that all people who go to church have a mixture of joy and pain, struggles and achievement in our lives. Christians find in church a place where we can be honest with God and with ourselves, and get support from others as we face the demands of everyday life. We are all on a journey of faith - none of us is perfect.
If there is something that you need to talk about or get help with, please ask to see the minister - details are in the Contacts section.
Isn't going to church just an escape from real life?
No - it takes courage to turn to God or decide to explore what life might really be about. Lots of people are searching for a spiritual meaning that seems missing today. You won't be alone. For some, life is frantically busy, juggling responsibilities that seem overwhelming and leave no space for quiet reflection. For others, there is loneliness and a lack of purpose.
As Methodists, we find in our church community a place where our deepest questions about life can be explored. But there are also opportunities to get involved in practical care for others locally and in the wider society. Every local Methodist church looks for ways to show Christian love in action. And Methodists across the world have joined with other churches to make a real difference to major social evils like human rights abuses, pollution of the earth and Third World Debt. As followers of Jesus, Methodists care about poverty and suffering, and we don't think the church should keep out of politics.
Can I get married or have my baby baptised in a Methodist Church?
People often turn to the church to help them mark the most important moments of life. The Church believes that it is God's intention that a marriage should be a life-long union in body, mind and spirit of one man and one woman. However, if you are divorced you may still be able to be married in a Methodist church. To find out more, talk to the minister - see the Contacts section.
Your baby can normally be baptised in a Methodist church after the minister has explained to you what baptism means. Baptisms usually take place during the Sunday service.
What happens during Methodist worship?
Methodist worship is quite varied, but you should always find:
- enthusiastic singing of hymns and songs (old and new)
- readings from the Bible in a modern easily understood translation
- heartfelt prayers which relate to what is going on in the world
- preaching which applies the gospel of Jesus to life today.
What else goes on?
Methodist churches often have a variety of activities for the local community such as coffee mornings, women's groups, playgroups, and clubs for children or young people. Check the Events, Activities & Calendar section for activities at South Harrow Methodist church. Alternatively, check the church notice board or ask the person who greets you at the church door. Often there are special activities for children and young people on Sundays. Whenever things are organised for children or young people, Methodist churches operate a safeguarding policy.
What do Methodist believe?
In the eighteenth century, the first people to be called 'Methodists' were a group of friends in Oxford. They were serious about their faith and met regularly for Bible study, prayer and Holy Communion. One of them was John Wesley, who started the movement that eventually became the Methodist Church. In his time, a lot of people went to church just out of habit. But Methodists believed that religion should come truly from the heart, and that it had to make a difference to how you lived your life. They met together to try to get some 'method' of making sure that happened.
When Methodists are 'confirmed', and become full members of the church, they make promises similar to all Christian churches. These are the same as the baptism promises:
- to turn away from evil and all that denies God
- to turn to God, trusting in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and in the Holy Spirit as Helper and Guide.
More information on our beliefs and values can be found on the Methodist Church website.