Rev. Alex explains Membership Weekend.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We worship a God who loves to bring blessing out of suffering, and who rescues and restores us in our darkest days. In fact, throughout biblical history, the lowest times have often led to grace and blessing in the end: slavery in Egypt led to freedom in the promised land; exile in Babylon led to return; the persecution of the early church caused the gospel to go viral; and the ultimate example is of course the cross itself.
It’s a pattern that we’ve seen ever since: in just a short time a pagan Roman empire that tortured the followers of Christ, adopted him as their only God; the corruption of the medieval church ended up with an English bible in every home; and the faith-policing of the 17th Century led the pilgrims to these shores. Every moment a grace-filled restart.
And so with this in mind, the leadership of our church began to wonder if God might be doing it again right here, right now. The last 18 months have been quite grim but during it, a core of believers grew stronger whether they were here in person, reduced to meeting outside, or watching on-line. Then mid-pandemic,
new people started to join. And now, as things open up, many are coming back.
But sadly a few have slipped away, and we are desperate to make sure that no one misses out, simply because we neglected to meet the moment. So after some careful thought, the Vestry decided the best thing would be to clear our list of members and invite everyone to the same restart. It really is the only way for us to know who wants to be involved, and it is the best way for us all to mark this moment together.
Many churches do this every few years. It helps us make sure that no one is left out or ignored, and it also helps us to make sure that we aren’t spamming people with messages they no-longer want.
Everyone is welcome to attend here and we want as many people to come as possible, especially if you are here to explore the Christian faith or to receive help. But if you would like to go a step further and be a member, then a member is simply any baptized believer who:
- Commits to Jesus Christ as Lord and savior, the authority of scripture, and the historic creeds;
- Connects in worship, study, and fellowship, cultivating a loving community;
- Contributes sacrificial gifts of time and money, joining in our mission to share the gospel wherever we are.
There’s nothing new here. It’s just a better way of describing what our bylaws (and almost everyone else’s) have said for many years. But it does perhaps make it clearer that ultimately we aim to be a community church preaching the gospel and that, in Christ, everyone has a role to play in His church.
This July 10 & 11 is Membership Weekend. In our current series we’ve been explaining what church really is, and then how God calls us to commit, connect, contribute to it. I do commend those sermons and podcasts to you if you missed them.
On Membership Weekend, we’ll be clearing our membership rolls entirely, and inviting everyone to join, whether you’ve been here for decades, or only days.
If you are not sure about joining, this is still a place for you. One of the marks of a healthy church is that it
is a place to explore, and question, and grow in your faith.
But if you are ready, we’ll be handing out membership forms at all of our services so that we have accurate and up-to-date contact details for everyone, and we will also rededicate our lives to Christ together using some special prayers from the Prayer Book.
If you can’t be here, you can always join the next time you are here and if you are unable to get to church at all, perhaps because of your health, we already know to write to you individually, and would love to visit you where you are so that in no way do you miss out.
Finally, I must share something great that Kat said to me the other day. I had said in a service that we would be wiping the rolls down to zero and she corrected me (correctly!): “we are not wiping the rolls completely and we won’t ever be down to zero members, we’ll be down to one: Jesus”. Joining a church is joining Jesus. The Apostle Paul says, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Cor. 12:27)”.
If you are willing to commit, connect and contribute, all you need to do is join. I will.
Welcome to Christ Church!
Yours in Christ,