The journey of Provincetown United Methodist Church is a path of discovery, growth, integration, inclusion and solidarity. The destination is the living grace of change to adapt, create and inspire growth from the common ground of our struggle. In this engagement, the reconciliation of acceptance, love and transformation is born. It is our honor to open the door and encourage, support and uplift all that are on the path of discovery.
Our Mission, Our Vision
Our mission is to affirm and grow the spiritual life of all in our community by supporting the diverse special and economic needs of everyone regardless of race, sexual orientation, physical or mental condition or commitment to faith.
Our Vision is to put God’s love in motion by being a church that works for social justice by offering and implementing initiatives that benefit all including: emotional and spiritual resources, food, home goods, clothing, education and homeless prevention outreach.
A Brief History of the Provincetown United Methodist Church
The first Methodist meeting in Provincetown was held at the home of Thomas Ryder in 1795. Town Meeting, in an effort to discourage Methodism, which was unpopular politically at the time, a vote was taken that no Methodist meeting house could be built in Provincetown. Not to be dissuaded from expressing the religion of their choice, the fledgling Methodists brought a shipload of lumber down from Maine to build their meeting house. The lumber was taken from the beach by an unruly crowd and carried to High Pole Hill (site of the current Pilgrim Monument) and burned. The crowd also burned in effigy, Jesse Lee, a Methodist minister.
The Methodists brought in another load of lumber and the first Methodist meeting house was built while the loyalists stood guard.
The acceptance of the doctrines of the church rose and fell as did opposition. At one point, fish heads were pile on the beach so boys could pelt the devout on their way to church. On the other hand, Town Meeting, in its current wisdom, decreed that in the absence of a regular minister at the Congregational church, a Methodist minister would preside. Several Methodist meeting houses and churches ensued.
In 1860, the Center Methodist Episcopal Church was built on the corner of Commercial and Center streets. The sanctuary in that church could accommodate 800 people. The organ there was a replica of one which Bach constructed. The Center Street church continued in operation until 1958 when the costs of upkeep were too much for the members to shoulder. The church was sold to Walter Chrysler, and was converted into the town owned Heritage Museum. Today it houses the Town Library.
Another Methodist church was completed in 1908 at Winthrop and Commercial streets. The two churches merged until 1944 when the Winthrop church was closed. Following the 1958 closure of the downtown church, the current location was selected and the present United Methodist Church was constructed and dedicated on Easter Sunday in 1960.
The present church has been led successively by the Reverends Gilman Lane, Edgar Reed, David Beach, Paul Pearson, Richard Dean, Frank Klausman, Frederick Frank, Deborah Holt, James Cox, Gary Nettleton, James Cox, Donnie Anderson, Wesley Williams, Sandra Junier and currently Edgar Miranda.
*Adapted from the Provincetown Banner on the 200th anniversary of the church.
Who Are We Today?
Who are we?
Probably the best descriptor is “a community of progressive Christians.” However, we need to be clear that there are many different ways people define “progressive”. One of the best definitions of this characteristic was penned by Gretta Vosper when she wrote that a progressive congregation is one that,
“…promotes a welcoming environment which employs elements of progressive thinking, openness, creativity, passion, intellectual vigor, honesty, courage, balance and respect... that endless continuum of what Christianity can be.”
Below is a listing of 8 descriptors of how a progressive Christian might look like. This list was published by the Progressive Christian Organization and it is one we strive to live by.
We believe that following the path and the teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;
We affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;
We seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to;
Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics.
Believers and agnostics,
Women and men,
Those of all sexual orientations and gender identification,
Those of all classes and abilities
We know the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;
We find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more in questioning than in absolutes;
We strive for peace and justice among all people;
We strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth;
We commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.
Rev. Edgar Miranda