Founded in early 19th Century United States of America, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), arose from a desire to move beyond the rigid divisions of denominations. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is one of the three, now distinct threads of the Stone Campbell Movement.
When the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is at our best, we practice “Bold Humility.” We humbly recognize that no one person or organization can contain the entire truth of God; thereby, we seek unity and fellowship with Christians from diverse backgrounds and theological perspectives. We celebrate the work of the Spirit of God known when Christians chose to journey together toward mutual wholeness. “Bold Humility” is strong, benevolent faith, proclaiming and participating in Jesus’ good news of love and justice.
We “have no creed but Christ” and do not require members to ascribe to any set of propositions. For further information on the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) beliefs and practices, please visit Disciples.org.
“We are not the only Christians, but we are Christians only.”
Alexander Campbell, early Disciples leader.
For First Christian Church hospitality is an intentional practice. In the tradition of Jesus of Nazareth we aim for radical welcome. Rev. Stephanie Spellers’ book Radical Welcome (Church Publishing Incorporated, 2006) has informed our identity, values and practices. When we say “welcome” it is neither an invitation to assimilation, nor a feel-good, church growth strategy. For First Christian Church “welcome” is a conviction that we are in mutual need of one another. In the process of individual and church wholeness, we need one another – member, neighbor and stranger – for together we become God’s radically welcoming people. This is the intentional practice of hospitality: praying for and participating in the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.
Shalom is a Hebrew word typically translated as “peace”. Throughout the Bible we witness stories, poems and commands speaking of the peace of God and the peace of Christ. In some Christian traditions, as a part of Sunday’s liturgy, there is a time of passing the peace – one person says to his or her neighbor, “May the peace of Christ be with you,” and the neighbor responds, “And also with you.” For First Christian Church, shalom is a guiding value. Decades ago, we discerned this value; therefore, we work to bring shalom through weekly blessings, prophetic proclamation against all war and violence, and readied participation in efforts of reconciliation inside our church walls and beyond, into our neighborhood and community.
COMMUNION and BAPTISM
The Lord’s Supper or Communion is celebrated in weekly worship. It is open to all, and we invite every follower of Christ to partake in the bread and the cup. Following Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) tradition, the practice of Holy Communion is the central element of worship, and it is considered a sacrament – a vehicle of grace to the world remembering the greatest act of love.
We affirm that baptism is a divine gift and human response. It is a public act proclaiming God’s grace, as revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ weaving together God’s gracious initiative and individual human response. We practice adult believer baptism, yet we affirm the baptism of all Christians no matter the tradition.
Worship is one of the three guiding practices of First Christian Church’s identity. Joining Christians around the world and through the centuries, we gather every Sunday to sing praises to our Creator, to development community through intergenerational spiritual practices, to engage the Bible in thought-provoking study, to pray with and for one another, and (most importantly) to share in the grace found in Communion at The Lord’s open Table. The way we worship is the way we live, and we believe that how we live as Christians is encouraged and positively influenced in consistent community that cares for the whole person, from birth to death and everything in between; that’s what makes up the local church.
From the New Testament book of Acts, we understand that “teaching and fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers” are essential to encourage and support each person’s daily faith journey in all areas of life. Therefore, nurture is one of the three guiding practices essential to our identity. From professional, loving nursery care to funerals and bereavement care, we live out our call to journey together through the many stages of life. Children, youth, and adults are all equals in the need to be nurtured and the ability to offer nurture which is why we refer to Sunday mornings as intergenerational worship. As we pray, play, and grow together, we know that fun, adventure, and challenge are at the heart of God’s love.
When we say we want to be like Christ, we want to follow the example of Jesus lovingly serving neighbors, strangers, even enemies, yet saving each ones dignity; therefore “service” is one of the three guiding practices that organize our institutional life. The writer of Philippians says, “Do not look only to your own interests but to the interests of others, and be like-minded with Christ Jesus.” For First Christian Church the work of service is the work of love and justice. Through philanthropy and volunteering we fight systemic injustice, we lend voice and support to those in need, and we offer our time and abilities to ministries, missions, and non-profits. May our community know we are Christian by our love.