Our Beliefs


What We Believe

Stony Brook Community Church is part of the United Methodist denomination, the second largest Protestant denomination in America, and we uphold our heritage by pursuing ministry in keeping with this tradition. We seek to be generous in spirit, open minded, devoted to Jesus Christ, and wholly surrendered to God. We strive for personal holiness by inviting people into a life-transforming relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and we pursue social holiness in the public sphere by addressing key issues of our time so that our world will look more like the Kingdom of God.

United Methodists share a common heritage with other Christians, holding to the historic essentials of the Christian faith. We have a passionate faith with strong convictions, but we also recognize that the world is not always black and white. We are willing to ask questions, to wrestle with difficult issues, and to do so with grace and compassion. We are “people of the Book,” whose faith is firmly rooted in and built upon the scriptures. We hold the Bible to be divinely inspired and are committed to live by its words as we interpret them for our time, place, and sensibilities. We recognize the Bible was written by people who heard God in the light of their own cultural and historical circumstances. As such, we make use of scholarship and study the scriptures carefully while understanding the basic Christian understanding that we are all beautifully flawed children of God, and thus we have all been offered God's forgiveness In Christ Jesus, regardless of race, creed, national origin, or gender orientation. When we encounter theological differences, we bear in mind John Wesley’s approach, “in essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

We believe the goal of the Christian life is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love your neighbor as you love yourself. From the beginning of the Methodist movement, we were known as “reasonable enthusiasts,” those who are both emotionally and intellectually engaged in our faith. We value passionate worship, relevant preaching, small groups for learning and to hold ourselves accountable to one another, and serving those who are in need. We value the spiritual disciplines and take a “methodical” approach to growing in the faith. United Methodists value the full participation of women and men, people of all backgrounds in every facet of fellowship and leadership within the church and society. 

This is our heritage, and it continues to shape the Stony brook Community Church in every area of our ministry.

The United Methodist Church is a 12-million strong global church that opens hearts, opens doors and opens minds through active engagement with our world. The United Methodist Church remains the third-largest religious group in the United States.

John Wesley (our founder) and the early Methodists placed primary emphasis on Christian living, on putting faith and love into action. This emphasis on what Wesley referred to as “practical divinity” has continued to be a hallmark of United Methodism today and here at Stony Brook Community Church.

Like many Christian faiths, the Holy Word of God leads and guides us. Nonetheless, we are respectful of other denominations and faiths because we focus on things that bind us together rather than what divides us.

Our common Christian heritage, we value that:

  • God loves us and wants us to live in harmony with God.
  • Sin breaks this harmony and by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are made whole again.
  • God’s love lives in and works through us through the Holy Spirit.
  • As Christians we enter the church through baptism and celebrate the presence of Jesus Christ through Holy Communion. These are the 2 sacraments celebrated in the United Methodist Church (UMC). In the UMC, our Communion Table is open to all who wish to receive this sacrament.
  • We believe the Kingdom of God is here in the present and in the future to come.
  • Scripture is the Word of God and contains everything we need for salvation.
  • There is one church in Jesus Christ (where we can all express our unity).

“God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you.” 1 Peter 4:10


Additionally, the UMC emphasizes distinctive beliefs that deepen our connection with God and one another:


                   Themes of Grace

                (filling up)

        Putting Our Faith into Action

                 (pouring out)

Prevenient Grace – God’s love is always there, even before we are aware of it. This leads us to realize our sin and desire to live in the way of God.

Faith and Good Works – these two go together. We respond to God’s love through Jesus Christ with our faith and love. We express this love through our sharing of our love with others.

Justification and Assurance – God reaches out to all. God offers us acceptance and pardon along with love. We can know we are saved through Jesus Christ. We can be sure of our forgiveness – either instantly or gradually.

Mission and Service – To be a Christian, there must be community. We are called to show our love to others in need.

Sanctification and Perfection – God’s “sanctifying” grace helps us to love God and one another more, helping us to be more perfect in love.

Nurture and Mission of the Church – The church helps nurture our faith and gives us the learning and ability to do mission and service in the world.