Is Membership required to be involved with the church?
Membership is not required. You do not need to be a member to participate in the life of this church. We welcome you, and hope that this church will be for all a place of spiritual nourishment and community. If you find yourself drawn to the missions or ministries of the church or feel called to play a more active part in the church community, then membership may be for you. By all means test the waters first. Host coffee hour after service one Sunday; volunteer as an usher or at one of our festivals; or serve at one of the Wednesday Community Suppers.
Is Membership about money?
No, Membership is about commitment. Becoming a member is a commitment. We join together in covenantal relationship. It means you are making a commitment to this church, even as we commit to walking with you, caring for you, and exploring faith with you. You make a commitment to God’s mission as we discern it: a mission of extravagant welcome, heartfelt service to the world and spiritual growth and nourishment. You commit to being a minister, the hands and feet of Jesus; to be an active part of this community of faith; to be a steward of this church, supporting its mission with your time, talents and financial gifts; and to be a learner, growing in faith and joy.
How Do I Become A Member?
There are several ways to become a member.
Affirmation of Faith: All members join the church during a worship service. Standing before the congregation, the new members affirm their faith, and the new members and the congregation make promises to one another -- to support one another in their faith journey; to participate in the worship life and ministries of the church; to give of their time, talent and treasure; to extend God's realm of peace and justice to the wider community; and to care for one another in times of need. As a Christian church, our affirmations of faith express a Trinitarian understanding of God -- belief in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Our members, however, have a broad range of beliefs about this historic doctrine.
Letter of Transfer or Certification from Another Church: Membership in the Church Universal is always made real and concrete through membership in a specific local church. When members move or seek to change the place of their local church membership, they transfer membership. The usual procedure is for the church where membership has been held to send a letter to the church where the person plans to affiliate certifying that the person is a member in good standing and releasing that person for membership in the new congregation.
Adult Baptism or Confirmation: When adults are baptized, baptism and membership occur simultaneously. Children in eighth grade and older may choose to become members of the church after completing instruction in the Christian faith through the process of confirmation.
Why does it matter?
Congregational Churches are governed by their members. In the Congregational tradition, each church is self-governing. The members of the church make the key decisions, including the selection of our ministers and discerning the church’s ministry and missions. In very practical terms, becoming a member means you are entitled to vote on whether to call a new pastor, decide who should serve in leadership positions, and vote on the annual budget and mission plan.
I pledged in response to this year’s stewardship campaign; does that make me a member?
We welcome pledges from members and non-members alike. Financial support to the church is one of the commitments that church members make but does not automatically confer membership.
What if I am a seasonal visitor and already a member of another church?
Many of our seasonal visitors have deep ties to churches off-Island. They can choose to become associate members, giving them full rights as members.