- How can I have a relationship with God?
- When and where are Valley Ministries' services?
- Is Valley Ministries a gay church?
- What are the fundamental beliefs of the UFMCC?
- Although UFMCC is centered on traditional Christian teachings, there seems to be quite a large spectrum of beliefs from within the individual MCC Churches. What are the fundamental beliefs of Valley Ministries?
- How does Valley Ministries differ from many other Christian Churches?
- Can I take communion even if I'm not a member of UFMCC?
- Does the UFMCC have a political agenda?
- Do you have programs for children?
- Why do we not call God "He"?
- I'm not from the Central Valley. Is there an MCC (or other affirming church) near me?
- Why should people attend church?
A: A relationship with God starts with one simple step - belief. If you believe that God exists and that God cares enough about you to have a relationship with you, then you are half way there. The next step, just as with any relationship you desire, is to find out who God is, who you are in God's eyes, and how to nurture your newfound relationship with God.
At Valley Ministries, we believe that God is not only a majestic God, who is the designer and architect of the world, but that God is also a personal God, who cares about each of us individually. Jesus said that God even pays attention to the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30). A God that knows us that well is bound to know not only our successes, but our failures too. Even so, the Bible says that God loves us unconditionally and that nothing can separate us from that love. Here is a scripture from the Bible that illustrates the unquestionable certainty of God's love for us. Romans 8:38-39 - 38I'm absolutely convinced that nothing--nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, 39high or low, thinkable or unthinkable-- absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus has embraced us.
God demonstrated that love by walking with us, talking with us, and ultimately dying for us. The Bible (Romans 6:23) says that the payment for sin is death. It doesn't ever attempt to give a formal or comprehensive definition of sin, but looking at the application of this word throughout the Bible we can safely say that to sin is to disregard a standard that God has set for us. Although these standards were set to protect us we seem to be pretty good at neglecting them time and time again, weather it is by failing to do something God wanted us to do, or doing something God didn't want us to. So all these slip-ups, or sins, had to be paid for. The payment, however, didn't come from our pocket books, rather from God's. God came to the Earth as a person, the person we refer to as Jesus Christ. Jesus, being human, was tempted (in every way) just as we are. And being God, was able to resist the temptations and remain sinless (Hebrews 4:15). This made Jesus an acceptable sacrifice and, therefore, his death became the wages for our sin.
That is how God made a mutual relationship with us possible. Just like any other relationship, if it is one-sided it will fail. We have to do our part too. We need to continue to know God more. We do this by reading the history, the inspirations, and the words of God - more commonly known as the Bible. We also can know God more through prayer, which is simply talking to God and listening for God's voice. I should point out that God's voice, more often than not, is not audible. Sometimes it might be in your conscience; after all, if God made you I'm sure God can speak to you and through you too, sometimes it might be in your circumstances, and other times it might be in conversations with people. We can get to know God better by seeing God in other people who have a relationship with God. A lot of churches call this fellowship, but what it really is, is talking with, laughing and/or crying with, sharing with, encouraging, and helping others.
When you begin to pursue this relationship with God, you will be amazed at how God will enhance your life. Those mistakes that can so easily define your life, God wipes them out so there is not even a trace of them. In fact, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says God makes us brand new.
A: We meet on Sundays at 10:00 am for Discipleship class and 11:00 am for Sunday morning worship. Our church is located at 4118 Coronado St., Stockton, CA. We also meet on the second and fourth Sunday in designated CARE Groups from 5:00pm - 6:30pm.
A: Yes and No. We are a church that opens our doors to all people and shuts our doors to none. Although we do have a large outreach to the GLBTQ community, our top priority is to be Christ centered.
A: UFMCC's declaration of faith, as stated in the by-laws, says "Christianity is the revelation of God in Jesus Christ set forth in the Scriptures. Jesus Christ is foretold in the Old Testament, presented in the New Testament, and proclaimed by the Christian Church in every age and in every land." UFMCC was founded in the interest of offering a church home to all who confess and believe, and continues to move in the mainstream of Christianity. This firmly establishes UFMCC as a Christian fellowship, centered on traditional Christian teachings about Jesus and firmly rooted in the Bible, both Hebrew and Christian Testaments.
Historically, the Christian Church has been torn apart by theological controversies that have divided Christendom. Individual MCC members are free to believe other beliefs of Christian thought, so long as they are consistent with and not in contradiction to UFMCC's basic statement of faith and doctrine. Such issues as the importance of the Virgin Birth and the debate over transubstantiation versus consubstantiation in the Communion are left up to the individual believer.
MCC embraces two holy sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion. Holy Communion is offered each Sunday as well as at other worship services at the discretion of the Pastor.
There are five fundamental beliefs of UFMCC. They are as follows:
- We believe in one triune God, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, of one substance and of three persons: God - our Parent-Creator; Jesus Christ the only begotten son of God, God in flesh, human; and the Holy Spirit - God as our Sustainer.
- We believe that the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God, showing forth God to every person through the law and the prophets, and finally, completely and ultimately on earth in the being of Jesus Christ.
- We believe that Jesus...the Christ...historically recorded as living some 2,000 years before this writing, is God incarnate, of human birth, fully God and fully human, and that by being one with God, Jesus has demonstrated once and forever that all people are likewise Children of God, being spiritually made in God's image.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit is God making known God's love and interest to all people. The Holy Spirit is God, available to and working through all who are willing to place their welfare in God's keeping.
- We believe that every person is justified by grace to God through faith in Jesus Christ.
UFMCC, as a fellowship, upholds a "Three Pronged Gospel" which forms the braid that is central to ministry. The "Three Pronged Gospel" consists of the following Strands:
- Christian Salvation
- Christian Community
- Christian Social Action
Q: Although UFMCC is centered on traditional Christian teachings, there seems to be quite a large spectrum of beliefs from within the individual MCC Churches. What are the fundamental beliefs of Valley Ministries?
A: We are a Christ-Centered church who firmly believes in the sovereignty of Christ. We believe in One True God, evidenced in three persons. Humans, created in the image of God, are compromised of three elements, body, soul and spirit. Through Scripture reference, we can see that God, too, is a triune being: God is Soul, the divine creator and omnipotent deity; God is flesh, the person of Jesus Christ; and God is spirit, our comforter and guide, the Holy Spirit.
We believe that the Bible, in its entirety, is the divinely inspired Word of God. We also believe that the Bible was not meant to be a weapon for the churches, but a voice of God and a blueprint of God's redemptive plan. The Bible, when taken out of context, has the power to wound, scar, and destroy; but when appropriately and contextually used the Word of God offers healing, wholeness and eternal peace.
A: Valley Ministries is a church which tries to be especially welcoming of those persons whom the historic church has persecuted and denied entrance. Many mainline denominations are organized around religious law, whereas we are organized around God's grace and we are intentional about opening our doors to the marginalized and the excluded.
UFMCC's position on sexual orientation is very different from many Christian churches. We believe that our sexuality is a gift from God. Homosexuality in and by itself is not a sin. And we are not sinful when we use God's good gift of our sexuality in loving, mutual relationships. We celebrate all relationships, gay and straight, and celebrate God's gift of sexuality to humankind.
A: Yes, you can and, if you have or are seeking a personal relationship with God, we encourage you to receive communion. I Corinthians 11:27 reads, "Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord." This verse has often been wrongly used to paraphrase a sentiment of, "If you are not a part of this church," or "if you are not a member of that church," then you may not receive communion at that church. The Apostle Paul, the author of I Corinthians, was not advocating an exclusive group of organized Christians. In fact, Paul was admonishing the church in Corinth for excluding people based on their social, economical and even spiritual status. The communion table, set by Christ, was never meant to be elitist or exclusive.
A: The UFMCC primary objective is to present the Christian gospel to all people, especially the disenfranchised, marginalized, and those who have been excluded from the grace of God through false witnesses. In presenting this message of hope it is often necessary to break through the walls of false condemnation and rejection created by the misuse of religion. We are a fellowship that is willing to struggle against social injustice, not for the sake of politics - for the sake of people. We will continue to fight for the rights of others, for the g/l/b/t community, for the impoverished, for the neglected, and for the discriminated against.
A: Valley Ministries MCC has a children's room that kids are more than welcome to play in before and after service. During service the children participate, with the rest of the church, in a time of contemporary praise and worship and then are invited to "Children's Moment' before the sermon and then go to Sunday School. Kids are a vital part of Valley Ministries!
A: Actually, we do refer to God as 'He,' but we also refer to the feminine side of God. UFMCC seeks to avoid excluding some attributes of God by only acknowledging their counterpart attribute. The Bible refers to God in the masculine since, but just as significantly the Bible refers to God in the feminine since. This means of course that God is beyond gender, and it is wrong to present God in exclusively male terms.
At Valley Ministries we would certainly not want to you to renounce your images of God because of inclusive language. We would, however, ask you to open your mind to the fact that God is what you have experienced, and even more. When you seek a picture of God that you have not known, the revelation of God can be very enriching and healing.
A: For contact information for all Metropolitan Community Churches, please go to the denomination's web site, http://ufmcc.com, and select "Find a Local church " on the main menu.
Another useful website is www.welcomingchurches.org.
A: This question has a very simple two-fold answer: 1. To get; 2. To give.
The Church is not just a building, nor is it a fellowship or denomination. In I Corinthians The Church is said to be the body and Christ the head. This is quite a revealing illustration when we contemplate how significant one is to the other. But just as important, is the necessity for the body to be whole. The Church needs to be unified with itself as well.
We go to a church to be spiritually fed and nourished, but we also go to a church to give of ourselves to the spiritual community with which we identify. How can one be a thriving, integral part of the body of Christ if they refuse to give to the body of Christ? Church is, by no means, a requirement for salvation, but it is certainly a key ingredient for spiritual maturity.
We also believe that The Church is commissioned to share the good news of salvation with those who have never heard it, and with those who have been given errant bad news in its place. A church is a means to spread this good news. Not only in worship services, but in Bible Studies, at social events, through the love and life of people associated with that church, and through outreach and missions programs organized by a church.
Finally, when seeking a deeper relationship with God, one must look to know God in more ways. This is done through personal prayer and Bible Study, but it is also accomplished by knowing God in the life's of other children of God. God can speak to us through the words of others, be it a message from the pulpit or a word of encouragement by a laity ('church goer'). God can also speak to us in the words that God gives us to share with others.
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