Frequently Asked Questions

     These are a few of the questions we hear most frequently from visitors and new members. If you have other questions that aren’t answered here, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

About East Alton

How should I dress?
You will find a wide variety of dress in any of our services – jeans to ties are equally welcome.
Do I need to be a member to get involved?
We welcome all who would choose to be in ministry through the many opportunities offered at East Alton First United Methodist Church (EAFUMC). This truly is a place where you can make a difference.
What does it cost to join?
The church is not a club with dues. Membership at EAFUMC is about developing a deeper commitment to/with a community of faith. We expect that this process will involve a commitment to prayer, presence, gifts, service, and witness.

About Methodist Beliefs

What’s different or distinctive about being a United Methodist?
There are no exclusively United Methodist doctrines. Although we have distinctive emphases, we have no affirmations that are not also believed by other Christian groups. United Methodists have traditionally proclaimed the following emphases:
• The availability of God’s grace for all
• The essential unity of faith and works
• Salvation as personal and social
• The church as a community of Christ’s disciples who seek to share in God’s mission
• The inseparability of knowledge (intellect) and vital piety (devotion to religious duties and practices) as components of faith
• Seeking holiness of heart and life both as individuals and in our society
• A cooperative ministry and mission in the world, often referred to as “connectionalism”
• The link between Christian doctrine and Christian living

What is required of me to be a United Methodist?
Baptism ushers you into the Christina church universal, the family of Christ. If you have not been baptized you will be asked to repent of you sins and profess your faith in God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Christian faith as contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. You will also be asked to promise to “keep God’s holy will and commandments and walk in the same all the days of you life as a faithful member of Christ’s holy church.” Your pastor may require that you participate in a membership class before being baptized or taking church membership vows.

—— Clergy —————————————————————–

How long have United Methodist had women pastors?
Women were ordained in some predecessor denominations of The United Methodist Church in the late 1800s but were not given equal rights with their male colleagues until 1956 in The Methodist Church. Today women are members of the annual conferences and as such are fully eligible for appointment as pastors, district superintendents, special appointments beyond the local church, of for election as bishops.

—— Baptism —————————————————————

What does the church teach about baptism?
Through baptism, we accept God’s gift of grace through Jesus Christ and yield our living to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Is baptizing babies necessary for salvation?
When and infant is baptized, the parents promise to raise the child in a Christian home and the congregation recognizes its responsibility in the Christian nurture of the child. Those vows are later reaffirmed by the child when he or she is confirmed as a church member. While baptism is an important sacrament, it is not absolutely necessary for salvation, an infant who dies without having been baptized is as much within the love and care of God as a baptized infant.

What is the difference between baptism and confirmation?
One can be baptized any time after birth. Confirmation is the time when individuals confirm the vows that they took or that were taken by their parents at the time of baptism. Confirmations mark a time when a person is actually received as a member of the United Methodist Church. Generally, young people completing the sixth grade participate in a membership training class before they are confirmed.

—— The Sacraments —————————————————–

Is anybody excluded from participating in Communion?
No. Communion is open to all persons. You do not have to be a member of the church to participate. Anyone may participate who responds affirmatively to the invitation: “Christ our Lord invites to his table all who love him, who earnestly repent of their sin and seek to live in peace with one another.”

Why does the church use grape juice in Communion?
Although the historic and ecumenical Christian practice has been to use wine, the use of unfermented grape juice by The United Methodist Church and its predecessors since the late nineteenth century expresses pastoral concern for recovering alcoholics, enables the participation of children and youth, and supports the church’s witness of abstinence from alcoholic beverages.

—— Social Policy ———————————————————

How are official positions on social matters determined by the church?
Only the General Conference- a representative body of no more than 1,000 clergy and lay persons which meets every four years- officially determines church policy and speaks on social issues. Though a set of Social Principles, the General Conference speaks to human issues from a biblical and theological foundation. These principles are intended to be instructive and persuasive. Agreement is not required, but members are called to a “prayerful, studied dialogue of faith and practice.” Official resources of the church such as curriculum must reflect the official positions of the church.

What is the church’s stand on divorce?
The church recognizes divorce as a regrettable, but endorses the right of divorced persons to remarry.

What is the church’s stand on homosexuality?
The church affirms the sacred worth of homosexual persons, who like others, need the ministry and guidance of the church. However, the church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers it “incompatible with Christian Teaching.” The church affirms that human and civil rights are due all persons. However, “self-avowed practicing” homosexuals are barred from ordination or appointment as clergy. No church-wide funds can be given to any gay caucus or group or used to “promote” the acceptance of homosexuality. Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by clergy and shall not be conducted in Untied Methodist churches.

What is the church’s stand on abortion?
The church affirms the sanctity of unborn life. It also respects the mother who could suffer devastating damage from an unacceptable pregnancy. The church rejects abortion as a means of birth control, but when “life conflicts with life,” the church supports the legal options of abortion after prayerful consideration by all parties involved.