First United Methodist Church of Hanford, as a part of The United Methodist Church, comes out of the Wesleyan tradition, tracing our theological and organizational heritage back to John Wesley. We believe our salvation comes as a free gift of love from God, demonstrated and made effective in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, made available for all humankind.
We believe in the sacrament of Holy Baptism as a sign of God’s amazing grace. That grace, as signified in Holy Baptism, is not dependent upon our acceptance of the offer of the gift of salvation. We baptize persons of all ages who are presented or present themselves as having trust in God and a willingness to follow Jesus Christ.
We believe in the sacrament of Holy Communion, also known as The Lord’s Supper and The Holy Eucharist, as our partaking of God’s redeeming grace through Christ. We believe in an open table, inviting all who wish to come to partake in the sacrament.
We believe in the priesthood of all believers; that the desire of God is for relationship with all humanity. Believing that we are stewards of all of creation, we are engaged in the world, spreading the good news of God’s love.
In Christ’s coming kingdom, we believe that the life of faith is about how we should live together in this world, caring for creation, advocating for the poor and forgotten, working for equity and justice, bringing heaven to earth.
We believe that all people are of sacred worth, created in the image of God. Therefore we welcome all who seek to explore their faith and build a relationship with God. No matter who you are, who you’ve been, what you do, what you’ve done, what you have, what you lack, what you can do, what limitations you have, who you love, the color of your skin, where you are from, or anything else.
What we believe about God
We believe in the one true, holy and living God, Eternal Spirit, who is Creator, Sovereign and Preserver of all things, who is visible and invisible. God is infinite in power, wisdom, justice, goodness, and love. We believe that we can experience God’s love and grace. God reveals the divine nature as the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each distinct and in unity inseparable, eternally one in essence and power. Through the Trinity, God is in relationship with God’s self and all creation and seeks to be in relationship with humanity out of self-giving love and grace.
We know that God loves all creation. In particular, God loves humankind, created in the divine image. This love is like that of the perfect Parent. We follow Jesus in speaking of God as “Our Father.” Calling God Father is an intimate expression of our love of God.
What we believe about Jesus
We believe in Jesus Christ, who was truly man and in whom the divine and human natures are perfectly and inseparably united. Jesus is the incarnation of God, meaning the Word made flesh. God sent Jesus, his only Son in the fullness of time, nurtured in the water of a womb, not to condemn the world, but so that the world may be saved through him. In the first words, Jesus preached he proclaimed,
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord.”
Jesus lived, suffered and died on the cross. He was buried, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven to be with the Father. He shall come again in victory to judge the living and the dead. He is our Lord and Savior, who seeks us, saves us, and intercedes for us. He is the Light of the World, the Bread of Heaven, and the Shepherd who seeks out to save, nurture, and guide. He has come so that we may have complete joy and life everlasting.
What we believe about the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from and is one in being with the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is God with us always, especially when we are in need, and convicts us of our sin and need for God. The Spirit awakens us to God’s will and empowers us to live with a faithful response to the gospel. The Holy Spirit affects our lives by equipping us with “fruits” and “gifts” to carry out Christ’s ministry with the world. Learn more about the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:22). We experience the breath of God, God’s Spirit in time alone, the study of Scriptures, personal reflection, and among the community of believers. Experience with the Holy Spirit can often be intensely personal and we may feel the Spirit moving through the power of the choir singing, the Word preached and proclaimed, silence and study, the beauty of God’s creation, a planning committee, and being with family. The Holy Spirit, who brought the church into beginning at Pentecost, is still guiding and upholding it, our prayer is to be open to the movement of the Spirit and listen.
The Bible: The Bible, the divinely inspired writings, which reveal the Word of God: the supreme, authoritative standard for faith and practice, to be received by the community of faith through the Holy Spirit as the sure guide to a right relationship with the Lord.
The Church: The unity of all who honor Jesus as Lord in the church: the Church manifesting the faith passed down from the first Apostles through worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, observance of the sacraments, fellowship, service, witness, and sacrificial outreach to others throughout the world.
- Prevenient Grace – Grace before you know it: the divine love that surrounds all humanity and precedes any and all of our conscious impulses.
- Justifying Grace – Grace that puts us right: God reaches out to the repentant believer in justifying grace with accepting and pardoning love. In justification, we are, through faith, forgiven our sin and restored to God’s favor.
- Sanctifying Grace – Grace that pulls us forward: We hold that the wonder of God’s acceptance and pardon does not end God’s saving work but that God continues to nurture our growth in grace.