Methodists/Book Recommendation


Dear Rev. Neal,
As a 38 year-old catholic, I have found myself looking for a better fit. The methodist churches here in the South have such fellowship, warmth and sense of truth. The Catholic churches are simply too large.

My RC customs and beliefs have provided me immense comfort, as I was widowed young with two small children. As a mother and wife, I am reluctant to embrace the Protestant omission of Mary (and was just relieved to read by your words), yet I want to learn more about Methodist beliefs, practices and rituals. My son is approaching the age for RC First Communion and I want to make a decision soon.

Do you have a book you might recommend for someone like me, a Catholic wanting to make an informed decision about perhaps changing denominations? Thank you sir.
Mrs. Hill
Holly Springs, NC

Dear Maria,

It can depend upon which congregation you're thinking of joining, however many United Methodist Churches can be a good fit for Roman Catholics who are looking for another place to be members.  Many of the basics of the faith will not be different, and we will even affirm our faith with the historic creeds of the church with which you are already familiar (the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds).  However, many of our worship-practices and style will differ.  If the church you are in follows the formal liturgies as found in the Book of Worship and the Hymnal, Communion will have a strong resemblance to what you're used to in the Mass even if the pastor (if you're lucky) wears only an alb and stole.

Books that might be helpful for you:

Living Our Beliefs: The United Methodist Way.  By: Kenneth L. Carder
United Methodist Questions, United Methodist Answers: Exploring Christian Faith.  By: Belton Joyner
Living as United Methodist Christians: Our Story, Our Beliefs, our Lives.  By: Andy Langford
Why I Am a United Methodist.  By: William H. Willimon

Any one, several, or all of these will be helpful for you.

If you have any other questions, specific or otherwise, please feel free to write again.


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Rev. Gregory S. Neal


I can answer questions dealing with all issues of United Methodist Doctrine and Wesleyan-Arminian Theology. In particular I can answer questions dealing with the Sacraments and other liturgical and worship-oriented questions. I can also answer questions dealing with the form, structure, and organization of the United Methodist Church and our relationship with other denominations.


I am an ordained United Methodist Elder with more than 20 years of ministerial service experience in the local Church.

I am a Clergy Member in Full Connection and have been a member of the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church since 1991. I am a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion. I am also a member of the Emmaus Community, and am currently serving as Senior Spiritual Director for the Dallas Emmaus Community. I am a member of the Order of Saint Luke in the United Methodist Church.

I have my own website:   I have written two books, "Grace Upon Grace" and "Seeking the Shepherd's Arms," both available at and in bookstores.

I have a BA in Religious Studies, History and Russian. I have an M.Div in Systematic Theology and Biblical Studies and a Ph.D in Sacramental Theology and New Testament.

Awards and Honors
Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church
Fellow of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

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