510 E. BROADWAY | MEDFORD, WISCONSIN
IS THIS A CHURCH YOU COULD BE PART OF?
THEN PERHAPS YOU'RE READY TO JOIN US.
WE HOPE YOU ARE.
If you do become a member of our congregation, you will be joining a church that is part of a denomination called the United Church of Christ (UCC), founded in 1957 but made up of churches that have been around a lot longer than that, going back to the first Pilgrims in America in 1620.
The UCC is known for its welcoming stances toward all people. You can see that goes back a long way when you read the list of our "firsts." Ours was the first historically white denomination to ordain and African-American (in the 18th century), the first in the modern era to ordain a woman (in the 19th century) and the first to ordain an openly gay man (in the 20th century). We were in the forefront of the anti-slavery movement. We founded the first institutions of higher learning (Harvard, Yale) and we among the first to establish schools and college for newly freed slaves (Fisk, Dillard). We were early leaders in the Social Gospel movement, taking seriously Jesus' commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself."
And, our specific church– the Community United Church of Christ – is the only original house of worship in the city of Medford, Wisconsin. We are known and known well as "The Red Brick Church." Please join us.
We're sure you have a lot of questions about membership. We encourage you to talk with members about their experiences as we gather for fellowship and coffee after our Sunday worship service. And, please don't hesitate to call Pastor Mary Jo for a chat or to schedule a meeting to learn more about us and the our simple and meaningful membership process. We offer here the brief answers to some of the questions freqently asked by our newscomers. We hope these are helpful – for now.
What does "joining" the church mean?
In our tradition, joining the church matters. New members simply stand up in church during Sunday worship and make promises about their commitment to God and to this faith community. We ask people to join as part of worship rather than just "signing up," because it's not just about you making promises; the church members make promises to you as well. It would n't make any sense to make joining a community a private matter, would it? We believe without a doubt that God is present, and particularly so during Sunday morning worship. We have membes join the church publicly and during worship because this a prayerful and meaningful act – not just for you but for all of us.
When you join our church, you become a voting memberof the church. Members vote on the church's annual budget, they vote on which of the members should serve as key leadrs, and they even vote on whether or not to call a new pastor. There are important practical issues associated with becoming a member of our church.
What about my "old church, or the church I grew up in?
When new members join the church, we often give thanks for every place that has ever been your spiritual home. When you join a church, you do so at one moment in time, and that does not take the place of any other church. When you join our church, you are not saying that this church trumps all others. But you are saying that while you are here, you will be an active member of this congregation.
Why would I need to join the church? Isn't it fine to simply come to worship?
Of course you can come to worship. Worship is open to everybody at any time, and you can worship in all sorts of places, not just this church. Joining the church is different from worshipping God. You can praise God on a mountaintop or while the plane lands after a bumpy flight. You can gather a group of people in church or on a lakeshore to worship. But when you join a local church, you are saying that you have chosen this particular community of faith to be your spiritual home at this time. When you join, you tell the community, "I'm in," and they in turn make promises to support you on your faith journey together. One of the things they will promise is to join you in the amazing adventure of prayer. You will now be part of something larger than yourself and your own private journey.
What will I be asked to say when I join?
Here's a sample from the UCC Book of Worship that our church uses. You will notice that these five questions are answered with one simple response, "I do."
TO WHAT ELSE DO I AGREE?
To contribute financially to God's work in our churchon a regular basis.
People often ask how much to give. We don't answer that question for you. But we do encourage you to make it a portion, a percentage of your income, rather than just a number. Some people set the goal of 10% as something to work toward. But we believe even the smallest amount given away reminds us that we have received.
To participate in the life of the church by regularly attending worship services.
Worship is the heart of what we do as a faith community. It is what sends us out to do other things, and restores us when the world has diminished our spirits. Always keep worship at the top of your commitments. And should some situation make it impossible to be with your church physically, stay connected by prayer, and in service.
To serve others with your gifts and talents, if you are able.
Local churches have all sorts of traditions around volunteering. You may be needed to serve in the congregation, or they may need you serve God in the world. We can be the hands and feet of Christ wherever we are, but in joining, you commit to add your gifts and talents to our community's unique pool of gifts.
JOIN US THIS WEEK
SUNDAYS AT 9:00 AM
WEDNESDAYS AT 5:30 PM