Wesley-Knox United Church is part of the diverse circle of faith that comprises the United Church of Canada. Wesley-Knox members are sometimes asked what they believe. While we are a faith community with a variety of theological understandings, most would agree with the following:
God is central to our faith. God permeates the universe. God creates. God is the source of strength that helps us work towards the good. We do not hold God responsible for evil. God loves the world and all that is in it. Most importantly, God loves each one of us, without condition, despite our many failings. That being so, we have an obligation to respond to God by dealing with our failings and passing God’s love on to others through acts of compassion and the public face of compassion which is social justice.
While God reveals God’s self in many ways, for us, God is best revealed in the life and teachings of Jesus—teachings that stress the goodness of God, our worth in the eyes of God, inclusivity and compassion. Jesus’ message about the Kingdom of God—what it would be like if God and not the Caesars of this world were in charge—was largely a call for social justice. After his crucifixion, in what Christians call the Resurrection, Jesus continued to inspire and be experienced by his followers. He continues to inspire and be experienced by his followers today.
The Bible is the foundational document of our faith. It is a record of how two ancient peoples—the people of the Jewish homeland and the people of the early Christian movement—tried to be faithful to the God of their understandings under difficult circumstances. It is also our record of the life and teachings of Jesus. A source of wisdom and inspiration, a resource for prayer and devotion, the Bible has a mysterious power to bring people closer to God, and through its words, inform and transform lives.
Much of what we believe is summarized in the United Church New Creed.
We are not alone,
we live in God’s world.
We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others
by the Spirit.
We trust in God.
We are called to be the Church:
to celebrate God’s presence,
to live with respect in Creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.
You can learn more by visiting the Our Beliefs page on the United Church of Canada website here.
How is this reflected in Sunday services and in the life and work of Wesley-Knox?
In services, prayers are usually directed to God alone. While ultimately, God is a Mystery, because of the limitations of human language, we usually refer to God as a person. (Jesus himself did this, referring to God as Abba—Father.) We try to use gender-neutral or gender-inclusive language. Substitutionary atonement language like “Jesus Christ died for your sins” is rarely heard at our church. Both inside and outside our church, we try to work for what is good. In our dealings with one another, we try to remember that we are all children of God. We try to affirm the unique personal worth of each person regardless of that person’s background, race, gender, age, economic situation, religious beliefs. marital status or sexual orientation. We also try to promote these values in our children and young people through the curriculum used in our Sunday School and through our music, outreach and study programs.