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Investigation of the Presbyterian and Methodist Websites
The Main Purposes of the Websites
The paper seeks to explore two websites. These sites are dedicated to the United Methodist Church and Presbyterian Church. Each of them has been created for Christian believers and people who want to become a part of the respective faithful community.
Both congregations use their own sites for two main purposes. The first purpose is to spread information among their users. Home pages of the Presbyterian and Methodist websites contain approximately the same number of articles. In general, all those articles relate to such topics as faith, churches, Bible, integrity, helping those in need, violence awareness, etc. It is fair to say that each of these themes is appropriate and informative as well. The second purpose of the Presbyterian and Methodist internet movement is to gather more people. The idea is to keep on converting new members, so that amount of followers would keep on growing and users would have more supporters to interact with. Individuals can communicate via YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks.
Religious Institutions of Presbyterian and Methodist Websites
Both Presbyterian and Methodist communities have the same types of organization and church religion. However, the website of Methodists contains clearer information about who they are and what they represent as a group. It makes it easier for new members to understand the main ideas and principles of their religious institution. For instance, it has sections like Basics of Our Faith, Social Principles & Creed, Spiritual Living, and FAQ section. As for me, I have discovered some of the basics of faith in The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church. For example, in Article IV Of the Holy Ghost, I have found out that: The Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God (The United Methodist Church, 2012). This website has also helped me to learn more about Christian traditions. The whole subsection about this topic can be found in a part called Reflecting on Our Faith.
This site is perfect for people who have just found faith in God. For them, it is a much better option than the Presbyterian website. However, the site that represents the Presbyterian Church will be more accepted by people who have been Christians for a certain amount of time.
It does not contain much information about the beginning of Christianity. Nevertheless, it has links to Presbyterian Historical Society where visitors can study history and become aware of the past of this Church.
Commentaries which Are Made about Societies and Their Current Events
In general, most commentaries that people make about these two societies and their current events are positive. On both websites, each event and each article contain a comment section where people can express their opinions and share their thoughts with other members about anything. What needs to be mentioned is that the United Methodist Church has a slightly higher number of blogs for interaction than the Presbyterian Church. The UMC also has more videos than the PC. All videos are uploaded via YouTube. Communication goes beyond these Christian sites, which means that the audience increases and becomes more diversified.
Services that Are Provided by the Groups
Both groups provide their users with similar services. Bloggers keep on spreading information about people who need help. It gives all visitors opportunities to contribute. Other than that, each website represents many interesting attributes for everyone, no matter whether they are registered users or just guests.
The site of the Presbyterian Church contains a lot of useful literature, which can be read online. Good examples are Worship and Awareness Resources, which is written by the group of Presbyterians, and Great Co-Mission, which is a monthly column by Marilyn Gamm. Users can also download magazines for free on a personal computer or mobile device. The one that has been posted recently is a three-time-a-year magazine called Mission Crossroads.
The PC community has News & Announcement, Shop the Church Store, Events, and Download Resources sections. The one that deserves attention is a section dedicated to events. It includes information about all conferences, meetings, webinars, and mid-councils that are organized by the Presbyterian Church. For people who cannot visit any type of event at the moment, there is a Calendar View, which contains dates of future events.
Presbyterian web page also has a special article called The Whole Creation Groans. It informs readers that:
Those who suffer and pray for redemption in African nations suffering from the outbreak of Ebola; in Syria and the bordering nations to which millions have fled the violence; in Iraq where Christians and other religious minorities are being driven from their homes and persecuted; and in Gaza, where continuing fighting has taken lives and homes from many. (Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), n.d.)
This page gives readers a chance to donate to charity to people in Syria, Africa, Iraq, and Gaza.
The Methodist Church has a slightly wider range of services. Those services are different and useful. First of all, it has an option that allows guests to change languages. It works perfectly for some visitors of the website who appear to be people of different nationalities. Possible languages are Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, and French.
It has a Find-A-Church function. It is very helpful for those who want to go to church. When a person goes to this page, the browser asks for authorization of a computer. Right after the user agrees to that, the system will start to search for the nearest church to the set location and it will represent it on the map as soon as it will be found.
Ask a Question section speaks for itself. If it is a broad question, it can be sent to InfoServ. If it is a question that can be answered quickly, it can be asked in the InfoServ Chat.
In-Store section, the Methodist Church offers to buy things that people might be interested in. It can be books, training CDs, clothes, cups, pens, table posters, banners, billboards, etc. There is also stuff that users can get for free. It may be logos of the Methodist Church, door hangers, worship graphics, videos, and some books as well.
They are focused on specific areas through which their community helps people. It involves four main aspects: Ministering to the Poor, Improving Global Health, Growing Vital Churches, and Developing Christian Leaders. Besides, the group has the Responding to Disaster section. At the moment, it offers help to those who suffer from the Ebola Crisis, Border crisis, and Philippines typhoon. The site also has a section called Volunteer Opportunities.
The Missions of the Groups
According to the aforesaid information, it is not hard to conclude what the mission of these two groups is. Statements of the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church are the same. These main principles mean that people have to believe in God, help other people, appreciate what they have, and share it with others.
Political Views of Presbyterian and Methodist Churches
There are no current posts on political topics on the website of the Presbyterian Church. Of course, they have Manuals and policies article, but this has nothing to do with their views on politics in general.
Nevertheless, the Methodist Church has a whole section dedicated to their political views. It is called The Political Community and it is divided into nine parts. The part about Basic Freedoms and Human Rights says that:
We believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that the possibility of reconciliation with Chris comes through repentance. This gift of reconciliation is offered to all individuals without exception and gives all life new dignity and sacredness, for this reason, we oppose the death penalty (capital punishment) and urge its elimination from all criminal codes. (The United Methodist Church, 2012)
Representatives of the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church oppose information asymmetry. They claim that people have a right to know the truth. In their statement in Freedom of Information, they urge that:
Citizens of all countries should have access to all essential information regarding their government and its policies. Illegal and unconscionable activities directed against persons or groups by their own governments must not be justified or kept secret, even under the guise of national security. (The United Methodist Church, 2012)
The website also has thoughts of the Methodist Church on important issues like Military Service, Criminal Justice, and Restorative Justice, Civil Obedience and Civil Disobedience, Education, Political Responsibility, and Church and State Relations.
Types of Religious Group which Represent Presbyterian and Methodist Churches
On the one hand, the community of the United Methodist Church declares itself as Liberal Christians. Liberal Christianity is a set of different directions, movements, and trends in Christianity, Christian theology, and ethics that are associated with the ideology of liberalism, philosophy of free,, and closely related theological ideas, concepts, and interpretations of the Scripture. Liberal Christians believe that Jesus Christ was a moral ideal of a man. They are convinced that he did not preach to people about the importance and necessity of faith in God. They also believe that God did not reveal himself to people. At the moment, liberal Christianity has preserved the denial of basic Christian doctrines and beliefs.
On the other hand, followers of the Presbyterian Church identify themselves as a conservative group. Followers of Conservative Christianity deny the assumption that the knowledge of God is impossible. They also do not agree with the statement that the emergence of Christianity is just an analogy to the development of other religions and that it was caused by common historical and social processes. So, these Christians stand for values that are considered to be conservative. Undoubtedly, conservatism is the opposite phenomenon of liberalism. Furthermore, the main provisions of liberal Christianity are heavily criticized by the congregation of conservative Christians. They consider Liberal theology as a departure from traditional principles of biblical faith and purity of the Christian life.