Membership


Fullness of Time

the reverend rosi olmstead taught me many years ago that God calls each person to a congregation; there is a fullness of time for us to arrive. God also calls each person away; there is a fullness of time to leave. Wherever we find ourselves in our faith journey, we do so dependent on God’s grace and guidance. As you “church shop,” consider not only the charisma of the preacher or how pretty the sanctuary is. Pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit.

In calling each person to the church, God hopes to offer you the wisdom of the community. If all goes well, you will be shaped and re-shaped by the church. Equally, God hopes you will offer the community your wisdom. If all goes well, you will shape and re-shape the congregation by your presence and participation.

Members of the Body

The Apostle Paul sought to differentiate the early church from other religious groups of that time. He offered a new “master metaphor” for the church: a body. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

In Paul’s vision of the Beloved Community, individuals do not earn distinction because of their race, gender, education or any of the other markers that are used to this day to separate people and groups. No, we are all members of one body. There is diversity in the body — some are hands, some are feet, some are eyes. We do not give greater honor to some and deride others; we are equal and inseparable.

In a modern world obsessed with self-sufficiency and independence, this loyalty to others might feel strange. But it’s what makes the church unique. When one member of the body suffers, the whole body suffers, too; when one part of the body rejoices, the whole body rejoices together. We bring ourselves fully to the church and with our unique gift both strengthen the church and are strengthened by it.

The United Church of Christ

The United Church of Christ is a mainline protestant denomination founded in 1957 by the conviction of church leaders who believed that unity and diversity could co-exist. As a merger of four Protestant traditions, the United Church of Christ seeks to proclaim a message of extravagant welcome to all people and prophetic witness for justice and peace.

“UCC” Churches are partners in this ministry as member congregations. Each local church is autonomous, free to discern Christ’s will and the movement of the Holy Spirit in the local context; and yet we are bound together a covenant promise to listen and share in Christ’s mission. (John 17:21-22)

Learn more about Who We Are and What We Believe.

The Plymouth Church in Framingham

To covenant is to enter into a sacred promise with God and with others. For over 300 years the members of The Plymouth Church have joined this community by reading this covenant out loud together in worship.

We covenant with God and with one another and do bind ourselves in His presence to strive to know His will as taught in the Holy Bible, and to walk in His Holy Ways. We will strive to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. In the fellowship of this church, we dedicate ourselves to the building of the Kingdom of our Lord, Jesus Christ, here on earth. Recognizing the church as the living Body of Christ, we agree together to sustain its worship, its activities and its charities.

Open and Affirming

Within the diversity of Christ’s church there are many communities which offer a welcome in word, but in practice expect varying levels of compliance and conformity. The Plymouth Church in Framingham believes that every person and every aspect of every person is welcome at Christ’s table. And we believe that silence does not convey this message sufficiently.

We believe all people are created in the image of God, and we embrace Jesus' call to love one another. We commit ourselves to the ongoing work of being an Open and Affirming congregation. We strive, with God's grace, to welcome all persons into our community. We celebrate our differences, including age, race, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socioeconomic status, mental and physical ability, and spiritual tradition. We invite all to share fully the life, leadership, ministry and sacraments of this church. Trusting in the Holy Spirit, we journey together in faith.

Expectations

The Plymouth Church makes no requirements for membership. Each member is free to follow the Holy Spirit as they wish. That said, we invite each person to participate in the following ways.

Worship. A church is only as strong as its worshiping community. Each week, those in attendance hear the word of God, share the prayers of the people, and participate in the sacramental life of the congregation. To miss that is to put oneself out of step with the body.

Testimony. God makes a church for all people; and all people for a church. We want to know your story. We think the gospels are a pretty interesting story. Faith is found when we see how our story and the biblical story interact. We also hope you'll tell our story to your friends and neighbors and invite them to join us!

Study. The journey of faith is not a Sunday morning activity; it is week long. We encourage each member to continue their faith exploration through conversation, outside reading, or in the adult education offerings of the church.

Service. “Faith without works is dead.” From the bounty of our blessings we encourage members to give back their time. This can be in volunteering within the church as a committee member or Faith Workshop leader. This can be through mission and justice work in the community.

Stewardship. UCC churches are self-supporting, dependent on the annual pledges and generosity of members and friends. Yearly giving helps leaders plan the annual budget, support the programs, pay the staff, and maintain the church property.

Questions

We ask two questions of our members when joining. They echo the baptismal promises we make. They are substantial and, in many ways, impossible to complete. And yet, they are the way of our faith tradition.

Do you promise, by the grace of God, to be Christ’s disciple, to follow the way of our Savior, to resist oppression and evil, to show love and justice, and to witness to the work and word of Jesus Christ as best you are able? If so, please say: “I promise with the help of God.”

Do you promise according to the grace given to you, to grow in the Christian faith and to be a faithful member of the church of Jesus Christ, celebrating Christ’s presence and furthering Christ’s mission in all the world? If so, please say: “I promise with the help of God.”