It’s easy to become complacent about both our faith and our relationships in the church. That’s why, here at Sanctuary, we renew our commitment to each other and the congregation every year. During the service, each of us is invited to join with the church. Then together, those who are willing affirm the faith in which we stand, promise to love and serve one another and the wider world, and pledge themselves to a common congregational commitment.
The commitment is not focused on private spiritual disciplines, but on the attitudes and practices which shape and contribute to life in the body of Christ. Although the commitment includes personal responsibility, if you commit, you are not alone. You share responsibility with the wider body, which also forms, encourages, and supports you, and forgives you when your individual efforts fail. There is much grace here.
The commitment itself is unchanged from last year. However, in italics we have fleshed out what it means at a personal level. No doubt some parts will seem easy to you, while others might make you feel a bit uncomfortable. That’s fine: that’s how this and any faith discipline is supposed to work! So please read it through (below) and consider whether you are willing to commit this year. Perhaps you didn’t commit last year, but now feel ready; perhaps you committed last year, but need to take a step back; perhaps you’ve not been around long, and are wondering whether to take the plunge. And perhaps you just don’t know! If you are unsure or would like to talk any of this through, please contact me—or anyone else you trust.
SANCTUARY CONGREGATIONAL COMMITMENT 2019
To be affirmed on 25 August 2019
We believe that God calls us to be the body of Christ and a sign of God’s culture in this time and place. Therefore, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to love one another and to follow Jesus together over the coming year. With God’s help, we will:
- Gather regularly to wrestle with the Scriptures, pray, sing, play, eat, and work together, for in participating in these practices we will grow in loving communion with God and one another.
- At a personal level, this means putting church attendance in your diary; regularly staying for dinner and/or inviting other members of the congregation to a meal or a cuppa; and perhaps participating in a small group or joint project with other people in the church.
- Include young and old in our common life, for every one of us is on a journey of discipleship and every one of us has gifts to share, whether infant, child, teen, or adult.
- At a personal level, this means having conversations with people of all ages, not just with your peers or members of your own household.
- Invite others to join us and welcome every visitor just as Christ welcomes us, for Jesus models a generous hospitality and meets us in the stranger’s guise.
- At a personal level, this means inviting people to services, greeting visitors, and befriending newcomers.
- Support the work of the church, contributing time and money as we are able, for the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, and giving is a way to both rehearse this joyful reality and shoulder our share of the load.
- At a personal level, this means allocating both time and money to the church as appropriate (you may have already done this through the pledging process).
- Seek justice, reconciliation, wholeness, and peace for ourselves, our households, our workplaces, our neighbourhoods, our region, our nation, and the whole of creation, for it is for this work that God is calling us.
- At a personal level, this means committing to ongoing growth in self-understanding and love, as well as seeking to be loving, sacrificial and Christ-like in every sphere of life.
We commit to these things in freedom, faith, hope, and love, acknowledging that we will fail, and be forgiven, and be asked to try again, and that God’s grace will always be with us.
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