Here’s a glimpse into our theological identity at First UMC Burlington, as represented on our church website:
John Wesley is Methodism’s founder; he was “a practical theologian whose theological thrust, being geared to his own needs and to the needs of his people, seems to shift as needs shift.” So writes John G. Tuttle, Jr. in his book:John Wesley: His Life and Theology.
Perhaps the key word from that quote is practical. Methodists (and now, United Methodists) have always had a preference for theology that worked in the market place, that assisted the poor, that challenged the well-off, and that never let religious people get too comfortable.
The heart and soul of our theology at First UMC is derived from the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. With Jesus as our anchor, we look to be sensitive to the needs of our time and place. Theology is more than acquiescence to a set of propositions; it has to translate into a joyful, abundant life lived in community with others and marked by service to our neighbors.
Like John Wesley, our center is unchanging. It is Jesus. And like Wesley and those early Methodists, our practice is always shifting, looking to be responsive to the community around us.