Core Beliefs

These are the core beliefs upon which the United Methodist church is founded:

  • The Trinity: We believe there is one God, known to us in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • Jesus Christ: We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary, the image of the invisible God.
  • The Resurrection: We believe that Jesus Christ lived, died upon the cross for our sins, was buried, and on the third day rose from the dead.
  • The Bible: We believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word. We believe that all that we need for salvation is found in the Holy Scriptures of the Bible.
  • Free Will: We believe that all people are created with free will.  While we seek God’s guidance and direction for our lives, God does not determine our actions.  We are free to make our own decisions, and are responsible for our actions.  This freedom includes the will to accept or reject Christ.
  • Salvation by Faith Alone: We are saved by grace through faith in Christ.  No amount of good works can save us.
  • Good Works: Having accepted Christ, we naturally want to express our faith through good works.  However, these good works are not a means to salvation.
  • Sanctification:  The first step in our faith journey is to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and is often called “Justification”. Justification is the beginning of a lifelong process of becoming more Christ-like which is called sanctification.
  • Ministry of All Believers: We are all gifted by God, and each of us has a calling to express those gifts as a part of the work of Christ and his church. Therefore we are all ministers of the Gospel.

While this is not an exhaustive list, these are the things that we consider to be central and essential to our faith as Christians. In this sense, Thornton Heights UMC is orthodox in its theology. You can read more at this link to the Foundational Documents of the United Methodist Church.

Although the United Methodist Church is orthodox in its theology, we are also proud to be a “Big Tent Church.” John Wesley, the founder of Methodism was quoted saying things like:

  • “If your heart be as mine, then give me your hand.”
  • “As to all things that do not strike at the root of Christianity, think and let think.”
  • “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty.  In all things, charity.”

In other words, United Methodists strive to be a welcoming family to everyone, even when at times we disagree with one another on “non-essential” issues.  Thornton Heights UMC is part of a network called Reconciling Ministries which means our church voted to highlight our welcome of LGBTQ+ people (read in more detail below).  Regardless of views, we encourage everyone to seek justice, healing and mercy for those “on the margins” just like Jesus did, and that includes our LGBTQ+ siblings.

Additional denominational information can be found at these links:

The Thornton Heights UMC is part of the Many Waters District

The Many Waters District is part of the New England Annual Conference

The New England Conference is part of the United Methodist Church

More on the UMC and Sexuality

Who did Jesus hang out with most often? If you read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John you will learn quickly that it was the marginalized. 2000 years ago those on the margins of society included lepers and tax collectors. Today’s marginalized people include gay and lesbian people, transgender people, asylum seekers, disabled persons, illegal immigrants, Asian and African Americans, homeless and those struggling with addiction … just to name a few. These are the folks Jesus would be “hanging out with” today so this is likewise who we at Thornton Heights UMC aim to show God’s love and welcome into our church family.
What about the United Methodist Denomination? The official stance of the denomination since 1972 has been to deny LGBTQ+ people full participation in the church  (including marriage and following God’s call to serve in ordained ministry).  Although many have sought to change this language, there are some United Methodist Churches that have decided to leave the denomination because they feel progressive change is not happening fast enough.
There are many other churches that are currently leaving because they support the current restrictive language in the denomination and disagree with the interpretation of Scripture that would include full participation in the church by LGBTQ+ people. Some of these churches will join the new Global Methodist Church, and others will withdraw from any denominational connection.
In reality, most churches, including Thornton Heights is made up of Christians who disagree on matters of sexuality but still love one another as family and worship and serve in mission together. ALL are welcome in our church and we encourage respectful dialog and humble listening to one another so we might all grow together in Christ’s love.
Official Reconciling Statement:  
Thornton Heights UMC is committed to following Jesus embraces Jesus’ message that God loves and accepts every person. Jesus calls us to the ministry of reconciliation and grace. Therefore, we invite and welcome all persons of every age, sexual orientation, gender identity, racial or ethnic background, marital or socioeconomic status, nationality, physical and mental ability into full participation in the life of this faith community. We are committed to the reconciliation of all persons as children of God and declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming Reconciling congregation.
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