FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions

Baptism

Can I have my child baptised at one of your chapels? Can I get baptised at one of your chapels?
We offer two ceremonies for children and adults to choose from.

A service of Thanksgiving is a dedication of a child to God and a special service held to honour the child. Usually there are no special vows or promises to make but instead a celebration of new life. This can occur in a private setting such as a home or a garden.

A Baptism or Christening takes part in a Sunday worship service, or a worship service on another day where the congregation and family are present. A baptism is not a private ceremony, but it is a sacrament and therefore the congregation must be present to make and fulfil promises. In both cases parents, Godparents and the people gathered make special promises to raise the child as a Christian, participating fully in the life and works of the church. It is a recognition that the child will become part of the body of Christ. This participation is a life long commitment to attending church often, teaching the child to pray and to read the Scriptures, and, to live a Christian life.

The child has blessed water placed on their head and is baptised into the Trinity in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Living up to these promises is a difficult one, which is why the congregation also promises to help raise the child in faith. While we do not refuse any child or person a baptism, we encourage parents, godparents and carers to seriously consider the promises made on behalf of the child and to consider what commitments they will make to prayer, church attendance and teaching of the Gospel to the child. If the family is not prepared to bring the child to their church community frequently or to teach the child to pray and hear Gospel stories, we encourage the family to consider a service of Thanksgiving. There is no fee for baptisms.

Do the godparents have to be Christian? No, they do not, but they do need to keep their promises to raise the child with the help of the parents in the Christian tradition and tend to the spiritual needs of the child. Raising a child in the Christian tradition means teaching the child about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the context of a Christian community- usually a church.

Weddings

Can I get married in one of your chapels?
We do offer marriages in some of our chapels and the minister for those chapels is registered to do weddings. If you are considering getting married in one of our chapels, please consult the minister before booking any reception venues, photographers, etc., as the minister has set times of the year for Conferences, Synod and other church business. Please contact the minister approximately one year before your anticipated date. In some cases, short notice marriages are possible, so speak to the minister as soon as possible.

Can we use your chapel and a different minister?
As the minister of the chapels is registered to those chapels, it is possible to have another minister present for the ceremony and have full participation with the minister for that chapel. In this situation, the ceremony would have two ministers presiding. The minister registered for the chapel must be present and must sign the register. The fee for the minister remains £150.00 and each chapel determines the cost for chapel use.

Can same sex marriages occur in your chapels?
At this time the Methodist Church does not offer marriages to same sex couples. This is a complex issue that the Methodist Church is discerning and one that we hope is resolved in the near future.

Holy Communion

I'm not a member. Can I take Communion?
Yes. Anyone who professes their faith in Jesus Christ (even a faith that is developing or being questioned) is welcome to take Communion.

Why do Methodists not serve alcholic wine? Jesus drank wine, so why don't Methodists serve wine?
We serve wine that does not have alcohol because we believe that Communion should be available for all. Some folks struggle with how much alcohol they consume. We want to include everyone and we want our chapels to be a place where there is no alcohol so that folks who have struggled with addictions in the past do not have anxiety about how to receive Communion. This is a concern for equality and inclusivity.

Inclusivity and Equality

I'm LGBTQ+ Can I come to church?
Yes, you certainly can. Whilst the Methodist Church does not currently offer same sex marriages at this time, all are welcome at our chapels, regardless of sexual orientation.

I'm not sure what I believe. Can I still come to chapel? I don't want to be judged.
No one wants to be judged! Our chapels have room for doubt, curiosity about faith, questions, developing faith and wherever you may be on your faith journey. We offer an opportunity to explore spirituality and ask the big questions of life.

I want to support the church but I can't always attend. How can I help?
There are lots of ways to support the church. Of course, we would love for you to join us for worship services and events, but if you are unable, you can help us in many ways.
Pray for us and our leaders/minister. Prayer supports us in unseen ways and we depend on them.
Donate your resources-we are always looking for an extra person to help set up special events or hospitality. You can also donate your time with helping to maintain our buildings if so inclined. Sharing our website or Facebook page also helps us, too. We also accept financial donations as well. Please contact the minister for more information.

I want to come to church but I can't stand seeing Christians being hypocritical.
Neither can we! We acknowledge that there have been situations where people who identify as Christians have displayed some questionable behaviour and we are equally appalled by inappropriate behaviour by other Christians. In some cases, Christians have committed serious abuse while holding power in the church. We believe that these situations require accountability- in legal courts and within the church. All our leaders are safeguarded and are also accountable to one another for our behaviour. Our chapels are striving to be places of welcome, honesty and transparency in our daily lives. When we fail to live our Christian life, it affects the whole body of Christ and the image of Christians around the world. We hope that you will not paint us all with the same brush and be open minded to explore who we are as church.

I want to come to church but there is someone I know that I don't like that attends your church.
Jesus doesn't say we have to like our neighbour, he says we have to love them. We all have people that we don't like or perhaps had a 'run in' in the community in the past, especially in our smaller communities. If this situation is keeping you from coming to church, consider coming anyway, not allowing that situation to taint your experience what the church offers. You might be surprised at what healing could occur. Churches are not immune to broken relationships. We are not a hotel for saints, but a hospital of broken people. And all are welcome.

Membership

Why should I become a Member and what does that mean?
Membership with the Methodist Church is an official commitment to living the Gospel in the tradition of the Methodist Church. The Methodist church focusses on being a practising Christian and therefore we accept and receive discipline from our peers. Discipline doesn't mean punishment, but rather encouragement and guidance on how to live a Christian life. Being a Christian means being part of a Christian community that shapes our personal faith. Christianity does not happen in isolation but "God in community".
Membership is renewed yearly and if a Member has not attended church in a while, without good reason, the minister may follow up to consider if the relationship is still viable. Membership can be revoked if a Member is not in good standing with the church, but this is rare and is taken seriously.

What makes the Methodist Church different from other churches?
The Methodist Church has a leadership model whereby no one person has more authority than another. We have lay people that are a vital part of our chapels and some folks are stewards with certain responsibilities. We work on a conciliar democracy and vote on matters. We have a church council and are part of a circuit and a District. A Circuit is very much like an electric circuit board- each chapel contributes to the circuit to keep things running smoothly. No one chapel is in isolation but may be unique from other chapels with the same minister. At the heart of the Methodist Church is our focus on the everyday- living the Gospel in our unique contexts. No two Methodist Churches are the same. Some chapels use the Worship Book whilst others have worship services tailored to the needs of the congregation.

We do have practises that are universal for Methodist chapels across the country. This is to ensure fairness and equality amongst the chapels, and, it is how we have decided to be church together. Every community needs guidelines to live by- with some stronger emphasis on certain guidelines than others. We use the Constitutional Practise and Discipline which details our doctrines and beliefs and how each chapel, Circuit, District and the Conference should function. These disciplines have been evolving and adapting to our contexts for over 300 years and reflect the wisdom of past mistakes to ensure a better future. These disciplines allow us to have set guidelines so that we do not spend all our time trying to figure out how to be church but spend our time being the church.

Ministerial/Chapel Fees

Why do ministers charge fees for weddings and funerals?
Ministers are highly trained and skilled professionals. In some cases ministers have two or more university degrees and specialised training. Planning and doing a wedding or funeral often takes about 15 hours or more and includes meeting with the people, resourcing liturgy and music, phone calls, planning and submitting legal documents. This is in addition to the 6 day work week dedicated to the local chapels. The fees are considered honorariums to show appreciation for the minister's time, education and work. While we do provide a ministry that is considered part of the life and work of the church for weddings and funerals, ministers and vicars charge fees that reflect their professional skills. The minister's fee are the same as the Church of England.

Each chapel will have a fee for the use of the chapel and each musician will have a different fee and a fee for the use of the cemetery for burial of ashes or remains. Fees for the use of the chapel are used for the life and work of the church.