Ask the UMC: Do United Methodists believe in saints?

Other Manual Translations: français

United Methodists believe in saints, but not in the same manner as the Catholic Church.

We recognize Matthew, Paul, John, Luke and other early followers of Jesus as saints, and countless numbers of United Methodist churches are named after these saints.

We also recognize and celebrate All Saints' Day (Nov. 1) and "all the saints who from their labors rest."  All Saints' Day is a time to remember Christians of every time and place, honoring those who lived faithfully and shared their faith with us.  On All Saints' Day, many churches read the names of their members who died in the past year.

However, our denomination does not have any system whereby people are elected to sainthood. We do not pray to saints, nor do we believe they serve as mediators to God.  United Methodist believe "... there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human who gave himself a ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:5-6a). 

United Methodists call people "saints" because they exemplified the Christian life. In this sense, every Christian can be considered a saint.

John Wesley believed we have much to learn from the saints, but he did not encourage anyone to worship them. He expressed concern about the Church of England's focus on saints' days and said that "most of the holy days were at present answering no valuable end."

Wesley's focus was entirely on the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Have questions? Ask the UMC. And check out other recent Q&As.

Read more

Sign up for our newsletter!

SUBSCRIBE

Latest News

Theology and Education
Eucharist is shared during the morning prayer held in the chapel of Sarum College during the 2016 Wesley Pilgrimage in England. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

Ask The UMC: Is communion simply a ritual of remembrance?

Holy Communion recalls the last supper Jesus had with his disciples. But it is more than just a ritual of remembering. It is primarily an act by which God feeds us, sustains us, and empowers us to live as Christians in the world.
Theology and Education
The Christian year includes the central seasons of Christmas and Easter followed by Ordinary Time. The colors associated with the different seasons express visually what is happening in the life of the church. Each color symbolizes the nature of the festival being celebrated. Graphic by Laurens Glass, United Methodist Communications.

Ask The UMC: What is Ordinary Time?

The Christian year includes the central seasons of Christmas and Easter followed by Ordinary Time.
Theology and Education
John Wesley portrait from the U.S. Library of Congress, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (altered from original)

Ask The UMC: Are we saved if accepting God's grace happens gradually and not in one specific moment?

United Methodists understand that people have different experiences of awakening and turning to God. Both John and Charles Wesley had memorable, heart-warming experiences of God's grace.