Our Core Values

During Transition

Core Value No. 1

THE SOURCE AND SUMMIT OF ALL OUR COMMON LIFE IS LOVE.

As Jesus himself instructed us, love of God and love of neighbor are the twin commands upon which everything else depends. To love God means to worship, adore, thank, and obey God as revealed by Jesus Christ. To love our neighbor means to serve, care for, welcome, pray for, support, and encourage those persons whose lives intersect with our own. 

 

When we forsake proper love for God, our worship becomes self-serving, our generosity withers, and our recognition of others as image-bearers of God is obscured. When we forsake proper love of neighbor, we perform actions that benefit ourselves, we forsake acts of charity and compassion, and we become divisive and bitter, threatening the bonds of unity of the church. We must resist any action or policy that would cause us to forsake a proper love of God and love of our neighbors. 

Love Poster
Image by Aaron Burden

Core Value No. 2

HOSPITALITY AND WELCOME ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE ASPECTS OF OUR CONGREGATIONAL LIFE.

While some organizations exist purely for the benefit of its members and other groups work solely on behalf of one demographic or another; the church stands morally and spiritually opposed to acting in either of these ways.

 

We believe that all persons are created by the very God we praise and worship and worthy of our welcome and hospitality. We must resist policies that would unnecessarily stratify our congregation into “classes”: members/non-members, young/old, healthy/unhealthy, single/married, with children/no children, with access to technology/without access, etc.

 

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must embrace policies that demonstrate our commitment to hospitality by adopting public health and safety standards that enable all persons who desire to worship and pray in public to do so with minimal risk to themselves and others. 

Core Value No. 3

WE STRIVE TO DEMONSTRATE GOOD AND FAITHFUL CITIZENSHIP IN OUR COMMUNITY.

The church always exists in the midst of a particular society, never apart from it. While society is never a perfect reflection of the kingdom of God and there are occasions for the church to raise a voice of prophetic witness against the injustices of a particular society, the church is also called to “seek the peace of the city” and to “work on its behalf”, being taught by Scripture that in its welfare, so shall our welfare be found (Jer. 29).

 

Therefore, we believe that when public health experts provide guidance and recommendations for churches, we ought to listen and allow our policies to be disciplined by their expertise.

 

In doing so, we believe we will model a faith that exemplifies our commitment to the welfare of our community. 

Image by Adam Maloney
Image by Michael Longmire

Core Value No. 4

FAITH AND WISDOM ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE.

We believe that God has called us to love him with our whole selves, including our minds, and that God’s Spirit works within our limited intellects to renew in us daily the wisdom that comes from God. Critical thinking, learned reflection, and valuing the contribution of experts within our church community are to be recognized as avenues by which God’s Spirit continues to bestow wisdom upon the church. 

 

No less important, however, is God’s gift of faith to trust him even despite evidence to the contrary. To apprehend the call of God to us, asking us to step out in faith requires discernment and a disciplined understanding of the work of God in our world. The bold work to which faith calls us is always enacted for the sake of and to bear witness to Jesus Christ, and never for selfish gain or creaturely comfort. 

 

Therefore, we believe that all our activities as a congregation must be rooted in faith but disciplined by wisdom, which means listening and learning before taking action.

Core Value No. 5

BEING TOGETHER, EVEN IN LIMITED WAYS, IS CRUCIAL FOR OUR UNDERSTANDING OF CHURCH.

The church is not a building, pew, or stained glass window. Church requires no organ, piano, or choral anthem. Church is the gathering of people who desire to worship God, to follow Jesus Christ, and to be sent by the Holy Spirit to labor on behalf of others. We believe that we do not experience “Church” in isolation and that the church must not value or prioritize individualized experiences of Church. 

 

The church is properly constituted when the people of God are together, united in purpose and commitment to Christ. Inhabiting a shared space for worship and prayer has always been an essential symbol of our belief in the importance of community. 

 

For the past year, our shared space has been a digital space, and we have found this to be an important avenue for pastoral care for many. However, a digital space is limited in its ability to connect us and it can result in further isolation. While we balance the urgency of public health crises and our deep desire to gather in-person, we must not forget that being together as a community, even in limited ways, is crucial to our understanding of “Church.”

 

Therefore, we must adopt policies that advance opportunities for the gathering of people for shared communion with God.

Image by Nicole Baster
Image by Joshua Eckstein

Core Value No. 6

THE ULTIMATE PRIORITY OF WORSHIP AND CHURCH PARTICIPATION IS COMMUNION WITH GOD.

In everything we strive to accomplish as a church, we must always remember that being together in-person in a sanctuary or chapel is not the end or ultimate goal of the Christian life. This is rather a means to a greater end, that being communion with God. 

 

To come to worship, to pause for prayer, to study Scripture, to act for causes of justice, to serve the poor--all of these are means by which we find communion with God. Therefore, every policy and procedure must be chastened and humbled by this goal, always recalling the aim of Christian faith to dwell in the household of God, with God, forever.