Have questions? We want to answer them! If you are wondering about something and you can't find the answer here, call us (301-652-2990) or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org). We'd love to hear from you!
Frequently asked questions:
1) Is there anything I need to know about worship?
The most important thing to know is that you are welcome. Bethesda UMC welcomes people of all faith traditions to our worship services and other aspects of church life. A church community is made of people at many different places in their faith journeys. Some people have been attending a United Methodist Church their entire life, while others are brand new to the faith. Each one of us is here to continue learning from God and to learn from one another as we grow in our faith together. We are all people in need of God's grace and you are welcome just as you are!
This means that you are welcome to:
...dress however you are comfortable (some people wear a suit to church, others wear jeans...either is fine!)
...bring your babies and toddlers into worship (even when they sometimes cry). We also have nursery care available, if you prefer.
...worship in the way you feel comfortable
...participate in all aspects of our worship services including communion, which is offered the first Sunday of the month. We celebrate communion by intinction, which means that the bread is dipped into the juice. A gluten-free option is available. Just let the server know that you need it. (note: In response to the pandemic, communion is currently being served in the pew with individual containers of juice and a wafer.)
2) How do I join your church?
While non-members are welcome to participate in all aspects of church life, we do hope that eventually you will want to make BUMC a more permanent home for your faith. We encourage you to spend some time making sure that BUMC is a "good fit" before deciding to pursue membership. Jump in and join a small group or participate in a service project, ask questions, have a pastor take you out for coffee! When you are ready, we invite you to attend one of our New Members Classes (look for more information about scheduling of the classes in our newsletter and weekend update).
3) Are there requirements for becoming a church member?
As a member of a United Methodist congregation, you commit to:
Prayers: Praying for this church, for my brothers and sisters here, and for our shared mission and ministries as followers of Jesus Christ.
Presence: Regular, faithful worship, and offering as much of myself in worship as I hope to receive.
Gifts: Committing to giving the gifts that I have been given back to the church (talents, abilities, finances)
Service: Participating in the ministries of the church as they fit with my passions, gifts, and sense of God's call
Witness: Inviting others to experience God's presence
4) Are there dues or fees associated with membership?
There are no dues or fees. When you decide to join the church, we ask that you support the ministries of the church with your gifts of time, talent, and finances. We create our annual budget based on financial pledges and rely on our church community to help create and lead the work we do together. Our stewardship campaign takes place in the fall when we will invite you to make a financial pledge towards the ministries of our church for the coming year. You don't need to be a member to make a pledge.
5) Am I required to be baptized in order to join the church?
Baptism is a part of the Christian journey in which we commit ourselves to be followers of Christ and believe that God's grace in the mark of water reminds us that we are beloved children of God. If you have already been baptized, joining the church will be a chance for you to reaffirm your baptismal vows. If you have not been baptized, you will be baptized as a part of your membership vows when you join the church.
6) What if I want to join, but my spouse or other family members don't?
Joining a church is a decision made both by individuals and families. If you decide to join the church and your family does not, or if some members of your family are already part of another faith tradition, know that they are always welcome here with you in all aspects of church life.
7) Can I get married in the church if I'm not a member?
Even if you aren't a member of our church, it is still possible to schedule your wedding in our Sanctuary. If one of our pastors is officiating the ceremony, the couple would be required to attend premarital counseling sessions with the pastor. Certain fees would also apply depending upon your needs including: use of the Sanctuary ($550 non-members; waived for members), Pastor's fee ($400 non-members; at your discretion for members), Organist ($200), Wedding Host ($200), Sound/AV ($75), Clean-up ($175).