To be a vibrant , growing community of disciples; Diverse in age, culture, and giftedness; passionately committed to love each other and serve the world in the name of Christ.
The Methodist Church in Fredericksburg dates back to 1849 when eight families (Bauer, Durst, Ellebracht, Houy, Kneese, Stiehl, Triebs and Winkel) led by Reverend Eduard Schneider seceded from the Vereins Kirche and founded the Methodist Episcopal Church South. The families first met in the open, then in a log cabin owned by Ludwig Kneese, and later in their first sanctuary that was built in 1853. By 1855, the white building became known as the First Methodist Church. The old First Methodist Church building is now the Exhibit Building for Fredericksburg’s Pioneer Museum.
Following the trauma of the Civil War, on May 5, 1871, a group of believers organized another Methodist Church in Fredericksburg which favored northern sympathizers and reflected German immigrants’ general disgust of slavery. This new church was first pastored by Anton Ulrich, and another eight families (Braterich, Feuge, Fischer, Kneese, Schluessler, Steihl, Treibs and Winkel) formed the nucleus of the congregation. With the land given by Felix Kneese, the Edison Street Church was formed. Until just after World War II, Edison Street was a German-speaking congregation with many families from the original settlers of the area, and even after that, German was occasionally heard in the worship services. The Greater Life Christian Center now meets at the Edison Street building.
The First Methodist Church held worship services in English, and of the two churches, it attracted more of the “newcomers” in the community. In 1970, it was decided by the Methodist Conference that the two congregations should be merged and should occupy the Edison Street property. By 1979, it became obvious that the old property was inadequate for the needs of the church, so a resolution to rebuild and relocate was passed.
November 30, 1980, marked the beginning of a new chapter in the life of the United Methodist Church in Fredericksburg. On that Sunday, the congregation held its first worship service in the new Fellowship Hall at the current site. The current sanctuary was completed in July of 1981. The children’s wing was completed in 2002, and the Family Life Center in 2006.
Today the FUMC congregation enjoys ties to our German history with many original families still a vital part of our work and worship. As we cherish our past and use our history to enrich our congregational life, we also look forward to the future and to our Lord for his leadership in our path ahead.
What do Methodists believe?“Teacher,” he asked, “which is the most important commandment in the Law?”Jesus replied, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.’ (Deuteronomy 6:5) This is the first and most important commandment. And the second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ (Leviticus 19:18) Everything that is written in the Law and the Prophets is based on these two commandments.”
The Inherent Word of GodWe are a church that believes in the inherent Word of God. We believe that there is one true and magnificent God who exists eternally in relationship as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Since the fullness of God dwells in Jesus, who is the image of the invisible God, we can get the most accurate understanding of the nature and character of God through listening to and looking at the Son of God throughout eternity. As a result, the salvation through our Savior Jesus Christ defines and shapes all reality for us.
Purpose of the ChurchWe believe that the Church is built around the reality of who Jesus is. Every member of the body of Christ is indispensable and though every member functions differently, every member has a function in the Body as they are gifted by the Spirit. To bear God’s image most fully is to do so in Christian community, submitting to one another in love as God first loves us. As a result, we don’t just go to church, we are the church that embodies hospitality, courage, health, community, and impact every day and everywhere with everyone as we follow Jesus.
Open Minds.We believe that our primary identity is as children of God. With that identity comes societal and cultural constructions that have both positive and negative impacts on humanity and the Church. Cultural identity evolves through our history, traditions, and experiences. The Church seeks to fully embrace and nurture cultural formation and competency as a means to be fully one body, expressed in multiple ways. Each of us has our own unique identity. We affirm that no identity or culture has more legitimacy than any other. We call the Church to challenge any hierarchy of cultures or identities. Through relationships within and among cultures we are called to and have the responsibility for learning from each other, showing mutual respect for our differences and similarities as we experience the diversity of perspectives and viewpoints.
Open Hearts.We firmly believe in following the example of Christ. The United Methodist Church believes God’s love for the world is an active and engaged love, a love seeking justice and liberty. We cannot just be observers. So we care enough about people’s lives to risk interpreting God’s love, to take a stand, to call each of us into a response, no matter how controversial or complex. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The United Methodist Church believes God’s love for the world is an active and engaged love, a love seeking justice and liberty. We cannot just be observers. So we care enough about people’s lives to risk interpreting God’s love, to take a stand, to call each of us into a response, no matter how controversial or complex. The church helps us think and act out a faith perspective, not just responding to all the other ‘mind-makers-up’ that exist in our society.”
Open Doors.Jesus was very explicit when He said, ‘Here’s what love of neighbor looks like: You saw me hungry and you fed me. You saw me thirsty and you gave me drink. You saw me sick and you took care of me.’ Those neighbors start right here in our hometown, but it doesn’t stop there; it goes all the way to the ends of the earth. Wherever we see a need, as the church, as United Methodists, we reach out to meet that need and serve as we feel Jesus would. It’s the basis of who we are. That’s why we’re in mission, to bless those around us, to love God by loving our neighbors. The Bible teaches us that everything we have from God is given because of God’s great love for us. Ephesians 2 reads “You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith.”