Frequently Asked Questions
What do United Methodists believe about . . . ?
We would love to talk to you about many issues upon which United Methodists have tried to apply their faith to the culture. A Methodism class would be a good place for you to explore the range of Methodist beliefs. Suffice it to say, we share in common basic Christian beliefs with most Protestant churches. We believe in salvation through Jesus Christ, and we believe that such salvation is a gift of God’s grace, not something we earn in any way. We also have a strong belief that such faith results in practices and actions aimed at transforming our community and our world. We believe that God’s good news is for all. For more information, we invite you to learn more at: www.umc.org.
Where should I park? Is there handicapped parking available?
There is handicap parking available on the southwest side of the church, by the main entry doors.
Which door should I enter?
If you would like to be greeted and to get the full feel for the church, enter through the main doors on the southwest side of the building. There is another entrance that is open on the north side of the building, but that one is less used and a quieter entry for those who would prefer such.
What are the services like?
Our traditional worship service follows the historic traditions of the United Methodist Church. The music includes hymns from the hymnal and some occasional more contemporary special music. We also have a choir and a bell choir that provides music for most of the year. During our worship we utilize screens and hearing assistance is available.
Our contemporary worship is more relaxed with traditions and includes contemporary Christian music. Each worship service features the same readings from Holy Scripture and preaching. Communion is served on the first Sunday of every month and on special holy days throughout the year.
What traditions can I expect during a service?
You can expect to see values that align with the United Methodist Church during all services. We also have regular “Missions Moment” and “Time with God’s Children” moments where children are invited to come to the front of the church to have an engaging mini-sermon lesson from the pastor. We have communion once a month.
Who can take communion at this church?
In the United Methodist tradition, we practice open communion, in that all who love Jesus Christ or want to love Him are welcome to receive the bread and cup, regardless of background or tradition. Children are served at the discretion of their parents.
How do I take communion?
This church practices communion by intinction (dipping the bread into the cup, which is actually Welch’s grape juice and not literal wine), but there are also gluten-free communion wafers/cups available as well. The pastor will guide you through the communion ceremony, and ushers will release the congregants row by row to receive communion. If you are approaching the server, hold out your hands, like you are holding a bowl, in front of you. The server will place the bread in your hands, and say, “The body of Christ, broken for you.” You will step to the server that is holding the “wine,” and they will say, “The blood of Christ, shed for you,” and you will take your bread and dip it into the “wine.” There is no right bread/wine ratio, so no need to fully submerge. Then, you take it, eat it, and prayerfully return to your seat.
How do I take communion if I have mobility issues?
There will be a moment at the end of the service line where the pastor will ask if there are others that need to be served, and at this time, please raise your hand to let the servers know that you would like communion to be delivered to you at your seat. As the ushers guide those to receive Communion, you may also indicate to the ushers that you would like Communion elements brought to you. Please do not hesitate to do this—everyone is welcome at the table, and the servers are happy to serve you.
What should I wear?
Members and visitors come in a variety of fashions. Some are more casual (in jeans and T-shirts), and some like to dress as they would for working in an office. We’re more concerned that you’re here rather than what you are wearing. There isn’t really a specific dress code. You are welcome however you wish to come.
What does this church believe about Baptism?
In the United Methodist tradition, Baptism is a Sacrament of the Christian church and we recognize all Baptisms which have been performed in any Christian church, regardless of the denomination. Through Baptism, we are incorporated into Christ’s holy church which he has opened to all people and made members of the family of God. We offer baptism by immersion, pouring, or sprinkling—at any age. Baptism is a “community event,” in that the congregation is asked to reaffirm vows along with the person being baptized. Because of that, “private baptisms” are not practiced. Should you be interested in pursuing baptism you can speak with either pastor or attend an upcoming membership class.
Is there Sunday School?
Yes! We also call it Christian Education because it is for all ages (kids through 99+). They are separated by grade and age. Often during the summers due to families traveling children’s Sunday School classes take a recess until school resumes in the fall. We also have a nursery available for children up to age four all year round.
What about bringing my child(ren)?
Of course, children are welcome in all of the services at Portage First United Methodist. However, there is also free childcare through age six provided by the nursery during the services and Christian Education time. Just greet the attendant on duty, sign your name, and be sure to leave a phone number where you can be reached.
Is the church available for events (i.e., weddings, funerals, etc.)?
Yes, but you would need to reach out to our main office to find out availability and next steps.
How do I become a member of the church?
Those wanting to seek membership will be able to participate in membership classes once they establish with the pastor that they desire to become a member. Once the class is completed, there will be a membership ceremony (and baptism, if necessary) during one of our regular services.
What holidays or special days are celebrated in worship?
United Methodism, having grown out of the English Reformation, practices and celebrates all holidays common to the Christian Church. We observe to varying degrees the liturgical calendar with its various seasons such as Lent and Advent, as well as celebrations such as All Saint’s Sunday, and the Festival of Pentecost. We believe that following these ancient practices common to the whole church not only connects us to other Christians in other traditions but also connects us to the wider story of God by marking the days of our lives with the unfolding story of Jesus Christ.