Mainline Protestants, and Methodists in particular, have long been known as “the quiet hands of God” in the world: doing God’s work of justice and love among those in need.
Indeed, the United Methodist Church was born out of the ministry of John Wesley, an 18th century priest in the Church of England, who believed that the life of faith was to be lived out through regular service to one’s neighbor. Wesley built schools for the children of factory workers, to give them the greatest tool of economic access around: literacy. He visited prisoners, and worked to better conditions among the working class. He raised money in his congregations for the poor, and welcomed people from all walks of life into the Christian community.
The people of Riverside UMC continue to live into those practices of service and outreach today: through supporting the Riverside Township Food Pantry, through participating in the CROP Hunger Walk – raising money for the hungry locally, nationally, and around the world – and through reaching out and caring for the sick, homebound, and marginalized in our community.
We’re a people of active reflection as well as active service, and so you’re also likely to hear sermons and conversation here about how and why we’re moved to reach out to others, and how we can move from “random acts of kindness” to a society that reflects God’s hope for freedom and justice for all people. In that vein, we have completed a conversation regarding human sexuality that brought us to the point of becoming a “reconciling congregation.” In the United Methodist Church, that’s the way a congregation takes the private convictions of its members – about God’s love for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity – and joins those voices together to issue a public, communal statement of welcome. It’s an exciting time, and we encourage you to join the conversation!