My pastor challenged me to answer this question. To begin, I was sent to the United Methodist Church when I was a young girl; the church had a large attendance of young people. My mother and grandmother thought it would be good for my siblings and me to be in the company of other young people.
I later became a member because I enjoyed the order of service. Each part of the service holds special meaning for me and I love the way the congregants play an active role in the service. In our service, the children serve as acolytes and bring the light of Christ into the worship service. The call to worship and opening song are ways we let God know that we are in His presence and are free to worship Him with joy, love, and thanksgiving. During the invocation, the Holy Spirit is invited into our worship. We hear the word of God through the reading of scripture. The Apostles Creed reminds us that God is our heavenly Father, that Jesus is his son, the Holy Spirit is sent by Him, and that we are part of His family. The singing of the Gloria Patri is further confirmation that we worship God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit – God in three Persons – as we offer our prayers. The song of preparation prepares our minds and hearts to receive the preached Word of God in the message that God has given the pastor. We celebrate Holy Communion once a month. As everyone is invited to participate in the Lord’s Supper, no discrimination or biases are present; all are welcomed; and this I especially love. At the end of the worship service, there is the invitation to Christian discipleship as we sing the Song of Invitation. The service concludes with the acolytes returning to take the flame of Christ back into the world where we are to minister to our neighbors. With the blessing and benediction, we are dismissed from the service of worship while asking God to go with us as we lead our lives in peace, love, and fellowship with each other.
These are the things that keep me in the United Methodist Church but I understand that this is only a name that I call home here on earth. Nevertheless, it is also a place that invites and welcomes people from all walks of life into God’s family.
Janice L. Myers, Laity of Burton’s Chapel United Methodist Church, 2022