Growing Closer to Christ Through Worship, Witness, and Service!

History of Fitzgerald Church

Around 1816, Thomas J. Fitzgerald, along with the Keating, Fitzmorris, and Dickson families traveled from Ireland to New Orleans. Mr. Fitzgerald received a land grant for property in St. Tammany and built a school on this property off of Kenzie Rd. Then a Sunday school started being held there. Mr. Fitzgerald also started the "Methodist Church" in this area. People began meeting in local homes for worship. Between 1882 and 1908, a small box-like building with a dirt floor and hard benches was built where the Simalusa Cemetery is now located. Mr. John Ike Fitzgerald began teaching school and Sunday School at this building. Over the years, the church grew. In 1955, the old building was moved to it's present location and renovated. In 1958, the school building and fellowship hall was added on. In 2002, the new Sanctuary was built. We are a small church with a large commitment to service for the community.

Brief History of Methodism

In 1739, an Anglican Priest named John Wesley, struggling with his faith attended a Bible Study on the Book of Romans on Aldersgate Street in London. That night he wrote in his journal, "I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt Jesus Christ died for my sins, even mine..." The Methodist Revival had begun and would reverberate up and down the length of England, over to the continent, and across to the New World.

Our Beliefs

United Methodist preaching and teaching are grounded in Scripture, informed by Christian tradition, enlivened in personal experience, and tested by reason.

Scripture - The Holy Bible is our primary source for Christian doctrine. Biblical authors testify to God's self-disclosure in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as well as in God's work of creation, in the pilgrimage of Israel, and in the Holy Spirit's ongoing activity in human history.

Tradition - Our attempt to understand God does not start anew with each generation or each person. Our faith also does not leap from New Testament times to the present as though nothing could be learned from all Christian thinkers and preachers in between. We learn from traditions found in many cultures with Scripture remaining the norm by which all traditions are judged.

Experience - In our theological task, we examine experience, both personal and church-wide, to confirm the realities of God's grace attested to in Scripture. Experience is the personal appropriation of God's forgiving and empowering grace. Experience authenticates in our own lives, the truths revealed in Scripture and preserved in tradition.

Reason - Although we recognize God's revelation and our experiences of God's grace continually surpass the scope of reason, we also believe disciplined theological work calls for the careful use of reason. By reason we read and interpret Scripture. By reason we determine whether our Christian witness is clear. By reason we ask questions of faith and seek to understand God's action and will.

A Triune God

With Christians of other communions, we believe in a triune God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe in God's self revelation as three distinct but inseparable parts.

The Father - We believe in one true, holy, and living God who is creator and preserver of all things visible and invisible. God is infinite in power, wisdom, justice, goodness, and love, and rules with gracious regard for the well-being and salvation of all people.

The Son - We believe God is best known in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. He is the source and measure of all valid Christian teaching. We believe in the mystery of salvation in and through the redeeming love of God found in the teachings of Jesus, in His resurrection, and in His promised return. The Son is the Word of the Father and one substance with the Father, through Him we are forgiven and reconciled to God.

The Holy Spirit - We believe God's love is realized in human life by the activity of the Holy Spirit, both in our personal lives and in the church. The Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is a constant presence in our lives, whereby we find strength and help in time of need. The Spirit comforts, sustains, and empowers us.

God's Grace - By grace, we mean the undeserved, unmerited, and loving action of God in human existence through the ever-present Holy Spirit. While the grace of God is undivided, it precedes salvation as "prevenient grace," continues in "justifying grace," and is brought to fruition in "sanctifying grace" in the life of the believer.

In spite of suffering, violence, and evil, we assert God's grace is present everywhere. Despite our brokenness, we remain creatures brought into being by a just and merciful God. The reign of God is both a present and future reality.
God summons us to repentance, pardons us, receives us by grace given to us in Jesus Christ and gives us hope of life eternal.

Justification and New Birth - In justification, we are, through faith, forgiven of our sins and restored to God's favor. This process of justification and new birth is often referred to as conversion. Such a change may be sudden and dramatic, or gradual and cumulative. In either case, it marks a new beginning, yet it is also part of an ongoing process. We believe God reaches out to the repentant believer in justifying grace with accepting and pardoning love.

Sanctification and Perfection - We hold the wonder of God's acceptance and pardon of God's saving work as we continues to nurture our growth in grace. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to increase in the knowledge and love of God and in love for our neighbor.

Faith and Good Works - We see God's grace and human activity working together in the relationship of faith and good works. God's grace calls for human response and discipline. Faith is the only response essential for salvation and salvation evidences itself in good works. Both faith and good works belong within an all-encompassing theology of grace, since they stem from God's gracious love.

Personal salvation always involves service to the world. Personal faith, witness to faith, and social action are mutually reinforcing.

The Sacraments

We believe there are two sacraments, ordained by Christ as symbols and pledges of God's love for us - Baptism and Communion.

Baptism - Entrance into the church is acknowledged in Baptism and includes persons of all ages. Baptism is followed by nurture and awareness of the baptized of Christ's claim upon their lives. For persons baptized as children, this claim is ratified by the baptized in confirmation, where the pledge of Baptism is accepted.

Communion - While we believe the Lord's Supper is a memorial of the suffering and death of Christ and a symbol of the union Christians have with Christ and with one another, we also believe Christ is spiritually present in the elements of Communion. All persons, regardless of age, church affiliation, or religious tradition are invited to the table of our Lord in the Methodist church.

One Universal Church - With other Christians, we declare the essential oneness of the Church in Christ Jesus. Our unity with other Christian communities is affirmed in the historic creeds as we confess one holy, catholic (universal), and apostolic Church. We are initiated into this community of faith by Baptism and through the celebration of Holy Communion.

Service to the World - John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, said there was no religion except for social religion. In his name and in his spirit, the United Methodist church reaches out to establish peace and justice in our world.