|Q: What do you get when you cross a United Church of Christ parishioner with a Jehovah’s Witness? |
A: Someone who comes to your front door but doesn’t know what to say.
It’s an old joke. There’s enough truth in it, however, to make me squirm. Many of us in the so-called “Mainline” Protestant churches (like the UCC) have tried so hard to distance ourselves from Bible-thumping Christianity that we’ve become almost embarrassed to talk about faith and the Bible. Consequently, we don’t know how to meaningfully talk with each other about faith, nor do we know what to say about our faith to anyone outside our church.
I am happy to say that situation is being reversed here at First Congregational Church. Sunday School classes are making the Bible a priority, parents are encouraged to discuss faith with their children, adults are involved in Bible study, many people have enrolled in all three of the “Faith Walk” courses, and I hear pages rustling as worshippers follow the biblical readings on Sunday.
We have a long way to go, of course, but I am proud of FCC folks for taking their faith seriously, and becoming more committed to growing spiritually.
However, at our annual staff retreat on April 15-16, we discovered an area that needs attention. Back in the fall, you may
|recall, at an all-church retreat we hammered out a simple statement of purpose: |
Guided by the Holy Spirit, the purpose of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Elgin is to seek God’s Truth, practice Christ’s teachings, and love others unconditionally
It is a wonderful statement, and on the basis of it we created three goals to work toward over the next few years. The goals, however, are nothing without the purpose statement, and the staff realized that few of us had been using our purpose as the guiding principle of our work. In fact, we could not even remember exactly how the purpose was stated. Therefore, if we who plan worship and programs were at a loss, we certainly could not expect anyone else in the church to do any better.
That purpose statement needs to be woven into the DNA of our church. It needs to be as familiar to us as our own name. It needs to direct all our discussions and become the starting place for all our programs.
So you will be seeing it much more than just printed in the bulletin from now on. Hopefully, it will become an essential part of our life together. And then, when we have the opportunity to tell others what FCC is all about, we will know what to say.
Q: What is FCC like?
A: That’s easy: We seek God’s truth, practice Christ’s teachings, and love others unconditionally. ‘Nuff sed.