Becoming a Member of Fauntleroy Church
Becoming a member of a church is not like becoming a member of the YMCA or a Public Radio Station. You don't pay so much money in to receive so much benefit--that is a contract. While we're all very familiar with that in our culture, it is not what we mean here by membership. Membership in Fauntleroy Church means entering a covenant. That is to say, you promise to be in a relationship with God and these particular folks to carry out Christ's mission in the world and to grow in your faith. It is a relationship, based on promises, that leads to trust. In short, we are all in this together and our community of faith changes when people join us in the covenant.
About the only tangible benefits of being a member of this congregation are the opportunity to vote on pastoral leadership and other important issues before the congregation and you are permitted to serve on the Church Council or lead a Ministry Group. Non members can serve on Ministry Groups and help with their projects, but cannot chair them.
Covenant-making is an important part of our faith tradition. Making covenants with the world and with people is the way God operates in the world. As the Untied Church of Christ Statement of faith has it: God "calls the worlds into being..." and (God) "calls us into the church to accept the costs and joys of discipleship." We enter into covenants with God and one another to form communities of faith, discipleship and service.
When people join Fauntleroy Church we ask them to affirm their trust in God and whether they choose to follow Jesus and show his love for all people. Then the whole congregation and new folks recite the first part of our Church Covenant, labeled OUR STATEMENT OF PUPROSE.
Trusting in Christ's love for us in this place and time,
Building on the legacy of previous generations,
Mindful of our needs and of those we seek to help,
Respectful of our differences in an inclusive, caring community,
Seeing peace and justice as the work of the people of God,
Believing that worship, service and learning are life giving,
We yearn for God's grace;
We draw strength from God's presence;
We dare to commit ourselves to the challenges of following Christ.
Then the folks wishing to become members of this body promise the following:
Adopting as my own, the covenant of the Fauntleroy Church; I promise and covenant with God and the church to follow the teachings of Christ, to support the work of Christ's church with my resources, to participate in service to others, to worship regularly in community, and to foster individual and united spiritual growth.
Then the members of the church respond to their promises with these promises:
We, therefore, the members of this church receive you into our communion, and welcome you with joy into our fellowship. We promise to pray for you, to watch over you, and to help you. God grant that as we love and are loved, as we serve and are served, as we bless and are blessed, we may so live and worship together as to glorify the name of Jesus the Christ in whose ministry and life we share.
How do you become a member?
You simply say you want to belong.
It is prudent for you to visit the church and become acquainted with us. See if you find the way we worship inspiring, comfortable and challenging--not everyone does. It may be useful to get to know some of the folks. If it seems like the right fit for you, then we invite you to come to an orientation. Typically, we have three or four orientations during the year--one in the fall, another in the winter and one in the spring. Meetings last for about 2 1/2 hours on a Saturday morning. Sometimes folks meet privately with the pastor, instead of, or sometimes in addition to, the orientation.
Then, on a Sunday soon after the orientation, we invite those who wish to join to come forward and join in the public covenanting process described above.
What if I'm not ready to become a member?
We are happy to have you come to worship, work on service projects, join classes, and offer your gifts for the common good through the church. Many people participate in Fauntleroy Church, some for many years, without formally becoming members.
Updated: 01/27/13: D. Kratz: B. Ackers