Grace might best be described as the undeserved, unmarried love of God toward us.
- Prevenient Grace (preparing)-God’s grace that is always reaching out towards us, even when we might not realize it. It is this grace that gives us our first inclination of God’s presence, a desire to respond to God, and also our ability to discern between right and wrong.
- Justifying Grace (accepting)-This grace is a gift from God that offers us forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God through the work of God in Christ. We respond to this grace with joy, gratitude, and repentance - a turning away from that which separates us from God and others, and a turning toward a life that expresses God’s love.
- Sanctifying Grace (sustaining)-Grace that allows us to continue to grow in our faith as we experience God’s ongoing presence in our lives. Through study and acts of devotion and service, we learn to know and love God more; and as we do, our thoughts and lives begin to more clearly reflect God’s character.
Connectionalism-We are connected to all other United Methodists by:
- A common faith tradition.
- The Book of Discipline.
- The leadership of the Council of Bishops.
- A common mission.
- Finances-“Apportionments” are made by each local church to be used for the greater good of the United Methodist Church and its missions.
Clergy-There are people who are “ordained,” or set apart for a servant leadership role. They are not members of the local church they serve, but are members of a conference which, in our case, is the Virginia Conference. There are two types of clergy, both ordained by a bishop: Deacons, who lead and support Christians in their various ministries by connecting the church to the world; and Elders, who lead and support Christians in their various ministries as well as perform the sacraments of order the life of the church.