Who We Are
We are a United Methodist congregation that reflects the diverse cultures of God's people. People drive from various communities to worship in our changing Northside neighborhood. We gather to be in Christian fellowship, love, and service. We are transformed by faith in Jesus Christ with a commitment to serve Corpus Christi and beyond.
What We Believe
St. Paul United Methodist Church is a part of the United Methodist Church, a Wesleyan movement with over 18 million members worldwide. All persons regardless of race, age, color, nationality, status, economic condition, or sexual orientation are welcome in the United Methodist Church to worship, receive Holy Communion, are candidates for baptism, and may, following a brief period of study, become confirmed members of the church.
A Triune God
We believe in God’s self-revelation as three distinct yet inseparable persons historically called “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
Father – Creator of all things visible and invisible.
Son – Jesus the Christ. Jesus makes God known through his birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension. Through Jesus we are forgiven, reconciled unto God, and offered the gift of life eternal.
Holy Spirit – God’s constant presence in our lives whereby we find strength, help, direction, and purpose. The Spirit comforts, sustains, and empowers.
Grace. Grace is undeserved, unmerited love of God through the ever present Holy Spirit. In spite of suffering, violence, and evil, we proclaim that God’s grace is ever present everywhere. Despite our brokenness, we remain creatures of a loving Creator. God receives us, calls us to repentance, pardons us, and gives us hope all by grace.
Justification and New Birth. Justification means “to be made right.” We believe we are made right with God by grace through faith. This new-found favor with God is often called the “new birth” or “conversion.” This is God’s work for us and is not the result of our own endeavor or emotion.
Sanctification. Sanctification means “to make or be holy.” We believe that the new birth presses us forward to live a life of love for God and neighbor. Sanctification is the process whereby the Holy Spirit continues to work in us. Sometimes sanctification is called “Christian Perfection,” meaning to be made “perfect” in acts and ways of love. This is God’s work in us and is not the result of our own endeavor or emotion.
Faith and Good Works. God’s grace reaches out in love and calls us to trust and serve. This trust we call “faith,” this service we call “good works.” Faith and trust in God needs to be expressed in service to others. Good works, then, are the “fruit of faith.”
Sacraments. We believe there are two sacraments ordained by Christ as symbols and pledges of God’s love for us-Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. Baptism is celebrated during Sunday morning worship at announced times convenient to the candidate and family. Communion is celebrated at least once a month and at most church festivals.
Scripture. The Bible is our primary source for Christian doctrine. Biblical authors testify to God’s self-disclosure in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, as well as in God’s work of creation, in the history of Israel, and in the Holy Spirit’s ongoing activity in human history.
Tradition. Tradition is the story of the church; it is the continuing activity of God’s Spirit transforming human life. Tradition is the history of that continuing environment of grace in and by which all who follow Christ live.
Experience. John Wesley described faith as a “sure trust and confidence” in the mercy of God through Jesus Christ. This faith in Christ is what is meant by “Christian Experience.” Christian experience-both individual and corporate-gives us new eyes to see the truth of Scripture, confirms the biblical message for the present, and illuminates our understanding of God.
Reason. Although we recognize God’s revelation and our experiences of God’s grace as continually surpassing our understanding, we nevertheless value the careful use of reason. By reason we read and interpret Scripture, determine a clear Christian witness, ask questions, organize understandings, discern the connections between science, faith and nature, and seek to follow God.
United Methodist Church Polity
General Conference meets every four years to set the policies, practices, and standards of the United Methodist Church. Delegates to General Conference are pastors and church members from local churches gathered in regional annual conferences. St. Paul United Methodist Church is part of the Rio Texas Annual Conference.
St. Paul is organized in a Governing Council format. Monthly meetings of the Governing Council are composed of representatives from specific work areas, commissions, and fellowship groups. An annual church conference meets to elect our congregation's church officers, determine staff salaries and the direction of ministry. All those who have joined St. Paul United Methodist Church as a member have a voice and a vote at this meeting. The Governing Council meets on the last Tuesday of each month.
United Methodist Church History
In 1729, a small group of Oxford University students gathered in methodical prayer, bible study, and celebration of holy communion. They were ridiculed as “Bible Months,” “Holy Club,” or “Methodists.” Led by classmates John and Charles Wesley, who were ministerial students of the established Church of England, this small group held to their convictions and practices. In addition, these “Methodists” journeyed beyond the walls of Oxford to minister to the poor and “unworthies” of English society. Eventually, the Methodist Episcopal Church was born, Methodist, meaning espousing the teachings of the Wesley brothers, and Episcopal meaning a form of church government presided over by a bishop.
The Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal South, and Methodist Protestant Churches merged in 1939, and in 1968 the Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist Churches joined to form the United Methodist Church. Beaver Memorial, whose congregation organized in 1812, was originally part of the Methodist Episcopal Church.