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What Methodism Isn’t
Obsessed with not drinking alcohol
Mention Methodism to many people and they will say something like: “You’re the ones who don’t drink aren’t you”This is not true!
Whilst the Methodist Church’s Standing Orders state that alcohol cannot be supplied, sold or used on Methodist premises, unless permission has been given due to the premises being used as a conference centre, there has never been a ban on individual Methodists drinking alcohol ~ although the temperance movement was closely involved in Methodism early in the last century. The real meaning of temperance is “moderation”. Methodists do believe that all things should be done in moderation ~ this can include the drinking of alcohol. Our regular Communion uses non alcoholic wine.
Methodist people in their quest for Social Justice have in the past campaigned that people should not spend money gambling ~ this is because families often have to go without when a member of the household is addicted to gambling. In recent years the rules on gambling have been reviewed. The church encourages people to find other leisure pursuits.
Like alcohol, the Methodist Church has long been branded anti-raffles. This was closely linked to the teaching on gambling. Sadly some people saw this as an excuse not to support good causes. Individual churches like HMC can choose to raise money by raffles at the discretion of the Church council. Those who feel they cannot buy a raffle ticket on conscience grounds are encouraged to make a donation instead! HMC took the decision to allow raffles of modest size on its premises as part of a larger event some years ago!!!
The Methodist Church was and is known as non-conformist; that is,we do not conform to the rules and authority of the state backed (Anglican) Church. However it is not a sect. The church is recognised by all the Christian Churches in Britain. We don’t do weird ceremonies and never ask people to leave home to follow Jesus. We believe Jesus loves us where we are.
Methodist worship may follow set forms (liturgy), as in Holy Communion and the Covenant Service; but more often it is spontaneous and informal (as with our HMC services), arising from the needs and inspirations of the moment. Prayers are generally extemporary, and the preacher may select his/her own choice of lessons from scripture.
Methodists believe that God’s grace is offered to every person, irrespective of social or economic standing or life style. Each person is free to accept or reject what God offers. Nobody is predestined to salvation or damnation. Methodism insists on the personal nature of Christianity. Each of us is invited as an individual person into the Kingdom of Heaven; we must make a personal choice to enter or stay out.. Methodism has always placed great emphasis on social concern. Following John Wesley’s fierce opposition to slavery, Methodists have devoted much energy to the elimination of social evils and the promotion of human rights.
And lastly – yes we like a good sing – but not always the old hymns – we often learn new worship songs at our Sunday services!!!