of Park Hill Congregational United Church of Christ
Can I be a member if I don't live in Denver? Absolutely! Thanks to Zoom, you can attend any meeting, class, or gathering. You can receive caring or be a Care Connector. You can even be a member of a leadership team. In fact, one of our Pastor Parish Relations Committee members lives in Pittsburgh! While you may not be able to participate in local hands-on efforts, you can live your calling to "bold acts of compassion and justice" in any community in which you live.
So, welcome to our beloved church! When we welcome new members, we use words that date back centuries in the tradition of Congregational churches to the Salem Covenant (1629), whereby we “bind ourselves” to covenant and walk together, having been called by and relying on the power of the Holy Spirit. What is a covenant?
“A way of being committed to each other as God is committed to us; a way of being defined by, accountable to and responsible for each other. God has made that deep and abiding commitment to us. And we affirm that our pilgrimage together is marked by such a costly, disciplined and abiding commitment.” Walter Brueggemann
A covenant is not a contract. To “bind ourselves” is not to place a yoke or a burden upon each other but to be “wrapped in the bonds of love.” Covenant is an ancient, biblical expression for relationship, and in particular, God’s relationship with us. It articulates promises and expectations. Whereas a contract is legally binding, a covenant can only rely upon the conscience of those who assent, therefore it is to be entered joyfully, but not lightly.
Marriage is an example of a covenant – not to be entered into lightly, but joyfully, with the utmost respect and intention of keeping. Not all marriages last and likewise, not everyone who joins the church will remain. Some marriages fail because of communication challenges. We hope you will communicate if problems arise for you in the church so they can be addressed before it becomes too late. If we don’t know it, we can’t address it.
Covenants are not just between two parties but three: between church and member, but it will only be sustained by our willing participation with God.
Therefore, to clearly communicate:
The Membership Covenant of Park Hill Congregational United Church of Christ includes these expectations of its members:
To worship with the congregation regularly (in person or digitally)
To pledge to the financial support of the congregation to the best of one’s ability
To actively participate through some form of the church’s mission and ministry
To take responsibility for the health and welfare of the people and place of the church
To pray and grow spiritually, expanding concern from oneself to that of the whole world
To honor and respect one another
The Membership Covenant of Park Hill Congregational United Church of Christ includes these expectations of the church to its members:
To offer regular services of worship on Sundays and special occasions
To provide liturgical services such as baptism, confirmation, weddings, and funerals*
To provide for the education and faith formation of children and youth
To offer programming that helps people engage their spiritual needs as well as to participate in bringing compassion and justice to the world
To organize systems that enable the care of the sick, elderly and isolated**
To honor and respect one another
* As part of our understanding of our mission and ministry, we also offer ourselves to anyone who asks – not just members. Fees for weddings still apply.
** We must note that the ability of the church to provide any of these things is dependent on the active support of its members who covenant to membership.
The Membership Covenant of Park Hill Congregational United Church of Christ relies upon God as the third party to the relationship, and therefore affirms these “expectations” of God, as found in the UCC Statement of Faith:
“You promise to all who trust you forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, your presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in your realm which has no end.”
So, again, Welcome. On the Sunday you join the church, the following pledges will be exchanged.
Reception of New Members
Leader: You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are equally citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ the cornerstone. We are joined together as a holy temple, a dwelling place of the Spirit of God.
Candidates: We have found the Spirit here and choose to make Park Hill our church family. We further pledge to actively support the mission and ministry and commit to grow in our common life, relying on God’s grace.
Members: We welcome you and promise to support and journey with you now and in the days ahead.
All: Having been called by the Holy Spirit into this church, we covenant with God and with one another, and do bind ourselves in Holy Presence to walk together in sacred ways, according to the example of Jesus Christ.