Our Two Sacraments

Our tradition defines a Sacrament as “an outward, visible sign of God’s gift of inward, invisible grace which calls for our human response.” 
   This means that, while God can (and must) be experienced anytime and anywhere, there are rituals in which God has promised to “show up” to those who participate in them.  Our response is to simply to “receive.”  These rituals connect us to the mystery of God’s love. 

We believe Holy Baptism and Holy Communion are Sacraments because Jesus clearly established these in Scripture.

Holy Baptism

Holy Baptism is the necessary first step to becoming a member of any local United Methodist church.  In The United Methodist Church, we baptize infants and consider them fully baptized (but non-voting) members of our church fellowship.  Confirmation is offered to those youth who were baptized in their younger years as a way to confirm their faith publicly and become a professing (and voting) member.  Upon readiness, adults can be baptized as they seek membership in the local church.  While church membership is an important expression, it is discipleship that is at the center of our mission.  We are not here to add members to our rolls, but to make disciples.  As a congregation, we reaffirm our Baptismal Covenant vows together quarterly during our worship service.

Please contact the pastor for more information about:
      (1) baptism for yourself or a dependent of yours,
      (2) reaffirming your baptism in a special way,
      (3) Confirmation for your child/youth, or
      (4) becoming a member of our church family.

Holy Communion

Holy Communion is the receiving of the elements that represent the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  We use bread (with Gluten-free option) and grape juice (no wine).

The Lord’s Supper is offered during the service on the first Sunday of every month.  The People of The United Methodist Church practice Open Communion, welcoming all who wish to participate.  It does not matter your background, affiliations, beliefs, or disbeliefs.  Children may receive the bread & juice as well:

                           “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.”

It is the Lord’s Table, not ours.  We do not set the guest list!
You do not have to be a member of this church or any church or tradition, and while baptism is *not* a requirement to receive communion, please consider how communion is “food for the journey” and baptism is the “entrance” to that journey.

On Communion Sundays (first of the month), we also pick up a special offering for our “Pastoral Hardship Fund.”  This fund is used at the discretion of the pastor to meet the needs of local residents and transient visitors.  The fund helps with utility/electric bills and fuel assistance for medical appointments or work (local residents only–Rapids area zip code) AND fuel, food, and hotel accommodations for transient visitors (vagrants or those who run out of gas).  A basket near the Lord’s Table is set out for any donations to this fund.

Church Membership: Our Baptismal Covenant

    Membership is listed on alongside baptism, because one cannot be a member without first being baptized.  More accurately, baptism means initiation into the Body of Christ (the Church–the People of God).

    When a person is baptized, they become a baptized member in the local church (PEUMC), the denomination (UMC), and the Universal Church (all believers in Christ Jesus).  For youth and adults, this also means becoming a voting-professing member (given all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of a member of the local church and denomination, including the spiritual privileges and moral responsibilities of being in the family of God).

     NOTE: we do *not* practice “membership dues”: all financial offerings to the church are free-will.  All members and constituents should consider deeply their financial offerings and tithes since each local church has an ethical obligation to pay their apportionments (an allocated portion of the wider church’s mission and ministry–an amount partly based on the size of its membership).  A “tithe” literally means “one-tenth” and is a biblical ideal not a mandate.

     To understand what we believe about church membership, here is our entire BAPTISMAL COVENANT which is used for those being baptized, confirmed, and received into membership.  This is no “membership vows” outside our “baptismal vows.” 

     They are the same.

   “Through the Sacrament of Baptism
       we are initiated into Christ’s holy church.
   We are incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation
       and given new birth through water and the Spirit.
   All this is God’s gift, offered to us without price.                                                                          
   [From our first public renewal or ‘confirmation’
       through each future reaffirmation of our faith at every new member’s baptism],
           we renew the covenant declared at our baptism, acknowledge what is doing for us,
               and affirm our commitment to Christ’s holy church.”

         [to the parents or sponsors and those who can answer for themselves]
    “On behalf of the whole [universal] Church, I ask you:
    Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world,
       and repent of your sin? I do.
    Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you
       to resist evil, injustice, and oppression
          in whatever forms they present themselves? I do.
    Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in His grace,
       and promise to serve Him as your Lord, in union with the Church
          which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races? I do.
          [to the parents or sponsors of those not able to answer for themselves]
    Will you nurture these persons in Christ’s holy church, that by your teaching and example
       they may be guided to accept God’s grace for themselves, to profess their faith openly,
          and to lead a Christian life? I will.
          [to the candidates who can answer for themselves]
    According to the grace given to you,
       will you remain faithful members of Christ’s holy Church
          and serve as Christ’s representatives in the world? I will.
          [to the sponsors]
    Will you who sponsor these candidates support and encourage them in their Christian life,
        and assist this congregation to do so, too, as part of their vows?  I will.
          [to the whole congregation]
    Do you, as Christ’s body, the Church, reaffirm both your rejection of sin
       and your commitment to Christ? We do.
    Will you nurture one another in the Christian faith and life
       and include these persons now before your in your care?
    With God’s help we will proclaim the good news
       and live according to the example of Christ.

    We will surround these persons with a community of love and forgiveness,
       that they may grow in their trust of God, and be found faithful in their service to others.

    We will pray for them,
       that they may be true disciples who walk in the way that leads to life.

          [addressed to all]
    Let us join together in professing the Christian faith
       as contained in the Scripture of the Old and New Testaments (the Apostles’ Creed)]
    Do you believe in God the Father?
       I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
    Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
       I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
          who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
             born of the Virgin Mary,
                suffered under Pontius Pilate,
                   was crucified, died, and was buried;
               He descended to the dead.
       On the third day He rose again;
          He ascended into heaven,
             is seated at the right hand of the Father,
                and will come again to judge the living and the dead.
    Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?
       I believe in the Holy Spirit,
          the holy *catholic (*universal) Church,
             the communion of saints,
                the forgiveness of sins,
                   the resurrection of the body,
                      and the life everlasting.

           [the water is blessed with a prayer of thanksgiving]

           [As each person is baptized]
    {Name}, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.     
          [A hand is placed on the head of each person]
    May the Holy Spirit work within you, that being born through water and the Spirit,
       you may be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.

    Now it is our joy to welcome our new sisters and brothers in Christ.
    Through baptism you are incorporated by the Holy Spirit into God’s new creation
       and made to share in Christ’s royal priesthood. 
    We are all one in Christ Jesus. 
    With joy and thanksgiving we welcome you as members of the family of Christ.
          [to all those who are already baptized, water may be splashed or dashed]
    Remember you are baptized, and be thankful!

          [for those transferring their membership into the UMC, together with those who,
          through baptism or confirmation, have just professed their own faith.]
    As members of Christ’s universal Church, will you be loyal to The United Methodist Church,
       and do all in your power to strengthen its ministries? I will.
          [to those transferring membership into the congregation from another UM church
          or those who have just professed their own faith, by baptism or confirmation.]
     As members of this congregation, will you faithfully participate in its ministries
       by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service, and your witness? I will.

          [to the congregation]
    Members of the household of God, I commend these persons to your love and care. 
    Do all in your power to increase their faith, confirm their hope, and perfect them in hope.
     We give thanks for all that God has already given you
        and we welcome you in Christian love.

     As members together with you in the body of Christ
         and in this congregation of The United Methodist Church,
            we renew our covenant faithfully to participate in the ministries of the church
                by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness,
                    that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.
           [to those who have been baptized, confirmed, or received]
    The God of all grace, who has called us to eternal glory in Christ,
       establish you and strengthen you by the power of the Holy Spirit,
          that you may live in grace and peace.