The Aldersgate United Methodist Church has a long, rich history of caring, extending back for half a century. In the service there is the warmth of family, a rich blend of music, and a message of encouragement. Many of those who attend church also participate in Bible studies and other small group experiences. In addition, church members are active in tutoring refugee children, helping the homeless, and other social ministries.
The name "Aldersgate" refers to the place that John Wesley, the great preacher of the 1700s, found his heart "strangely warmed" by the Holy Spirit. Wesley and others went throughout England and the United States telling others about the love of God, and huge numbers of people came to faith. As a result, England and many other countries experienced major social changes such as prison reform, child labor laws, major decreases in alcoholism and crime, and ultimately the end of slavery. Wesley's followers went on to found what is now the United Methodist Church, emphasizing that ministry should balance scripture, tradition, reason, and experience.
Spiritually strong churches have people of faith who sense and obey the Holy Spirit’s leading. Faith, risk, discipleship and growth are important aspects of following the Holy Spirit. The greatest churches--at least in God's eyes--constantly take risks by following God’s Spirit to places and needs where the possibility of failure is sometimes greater than the possibility of success. Why? Because the potential of what is unknown is greater than what is known and familiar.
The movie "Columbus 1492" has a powerful line worth remembering. In one scene, Christopher Columbus has a nautical map for the journey; however, he and his crew sail beyond the map. They send a message back to headquarters with this report: "We have sailed beyond the map. Please send further instructions."
At the Aldersgate UMC, we sometimes sail beyond the map. The first priority is complete trust and faith in God and His Spirit, then we can venture beyond the map and off the chart. Visit us Sunday morning to dream dreams and see visions of the wonderful things of God.