We have been on a church-wide discernment process bridging the years 2010-2013 called “The Journey of the People of God.” One of the hallmarks of the process was to write a “guiding vision statement” as a tool to direct our future ministries and missions. Our Guiding Vision Statement is as follows:
GUIDING VISION STATEMENT
We are called into faithful community by the everlasting voice of our still-speaking God. In joyful response, we fling wide our doors and open our hearts to all. “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.” This extravagant welcome is inspired by God’s love as witnessed in Christ. With the Holy Spirit to guide us, we are called to prayerful worship, study, community, and service.
Called to Worship
God calls us to be a vibrant community of meaningful worship. Through the experience of joyous celebration and quiet and sacred space, we will strengthen our faith and our relationship with God. The good news of God’s grace will enfold us, whether we come in gladness or sorrow, in hope or despair, in peace or brokenness, so that we may emerge spiritually nourished and revitalized. “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into God’s presence with singing.” (Psalm 100:1-2)
Called to Study
Like Mary, who “sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching” (Luke 10:39), we are drawn to learn so that we may fortify our faith and strengthen our practice of Christian life. Rooted in a denomination that values learning, we envision a community which achieves spiritual growth through biblically-inspired study. Because we know there is not one “right answer,” we are called to wrestle with the questions of faith. In an environment of respect for one another’s opinions, all can be students and all can be teachers. With God’s guidance, we will listen actively to reach new depths of understanding.
Called to Community
God’s people are not meant to be alone. We are called into community through God’s ongoing invitation to relationship. We will be a church family nurturing love, support, forgiveness, renewal, and trust, with God at the center. We will establish bonds that range from the nod and smile of casual acquaintance to the unbreakable ties of life-long friendship. We will be a community that affirms and accepts individual uniqueness, recognizing God within each person. We dream that one day Paul’s words may be true of us, “we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another” (Romans 12:5).
Called to Service
God’s call to serve is not new. Our legacy of Christian service strengthens our commitment to minister to the needs of the world both inside and outside the walls of our church. Christ reminds his disciples, “I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27). We will respond to these words and become the hands and feet of Christ in God’s world. We will be “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). God calls us to service, and we respond, “Speak, for your servant is listening!” (Samuel 2:10).
With God’s patient guidance, we will continue our efforts to prayerfully discern and act upon God’s vision for the First Congregational United Church of Christ, “for nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).