From SUMC Wiki
 Frequently Asked Questions
Answered by Pastor Ralph Marino
 What is a United Methodist?
John Wesley, the founder of the United Methodist tradition, was born in 1703. He defined a Methodist as one who loves God with heart, soul, mind and strength and does as Jesus teaches us to do: to love others as we love ourselves. We feel that striving to know God through Christ and striving to care about others are more important than doctrine. Our church is democratically organized and we have considerable diversity of opinion about many things.
 What do United Methodists believe?
We share the core Christian beliefs about God as creator, Jesus as redeemer and the Holy Spirit as comforter. We believe that the Christian faith should be a deeply personal experience that shows itself in caring for others. We believe Christians ought to be serious about growing in faith and that everyone deserves to have the assurance that God loves them.
 Protestant, Roman Catholic, United Methodist – what's the difference?
Protestants, Roman Catholics and United Methodists are all Christians – people who believe the love and will of God are most fully presented to the world in Jesus Christ. Roman Catholics are Christians who believe the Pope is the rightful head of the earthly church. Protestants are Christians (and there are many kinds of Protestants) who believe the church ought to be organized differently and that the Bible is more important than church traditions. United Methodists are Protestants who believe a Christian lifestyle is more important than a correct set of beliefs.
 What about the Bible?
For us the Bible is respected as the Word of God. We believe that in order to hear God's message in the Scriptures we need to understood them in the light of church traditions, human reason and our present experience.
 What is the church's stand on homosexuality?
The issue of homosexuality is perhaps the most divisive one facing our church today. Through a statement in the United Methodist Book of Discipline, the church affirms the sacred worth of all people, declares the practice of homosexuality incompatible with Christian teaching, asks us not to reject lesbians and gays, and calls us to be in ministry to and with all persons.
The division comes because many feel that not only should homosexuals be accepted without question but that homosexual practice, by those who are naturally so oriented, should also be accepted. There are some passages of scripture that seem to oppose this kind of openness and other passages that seem to require it. The discussion continues.
 What is the rightful role of women in the church?
United Methodists unhesitatingly affirm the complete equality of women and men in all areas of life, work and mission. Women are regularly elected to the highest positions of leadership and responsibility in local churches and across our denominational offices. We have women pastors and bishops whose skills, faithfulness and spirituality are of the highest standards. From early youth, all our children are encouraged to engage in spiritual growth and faithful living.