Our shortest mission statement is “Love Your Neighbor.” Here’s what that means to us:
- The definition of neighbor is very broad. It stretches from the person sitting next to you, wherever you are, to impoverished families in Nicaragua and beyond.
- Loving our neighbors is not just about a compassionate inner attitude, but about action — doing what we can to help our neighbors lead lives of dignity, sufficiency, and well-being.
- Neighbor does not mean people just like us. We do our best to reach across the lines that often divide people.
- Our neighbors include gay, lesbian, transgender and bi-sexual people, and loving them/ourselves in that way means full inclusion in the life and leadership of the church. It means we gladly celebrate same-sex marriages.
Our second short mission statement is “Teach Our Children.” Here’s what that means to us:
- In a materialistic, celebrity-worshipping, success-driven culture, we feel it’s important to offer our children an alternative vision of a meaningful life.
- We want our children to be educated in the fundamentals of the Christian faith in such a way that they’ll be able to grow up with a supple faith that will mature as they do.
- We want all the children, whether or not they come from an affluent background, to realize the importance of contributing to the lives of others. We encourage them to participate in outreach activities from a very early age. Our Nicaraguan and Appalachian work trips are the centerpiece of our teen program.
- We hope to raise children with a strong sense of their own worth, feeling loved by God as they are, but without a self-centered sense of entitlement.
- We do our best to create a joyful community for the all children, leaving no one out, helping them build lasting relationships with each other and with caring adults.
- We support families in every way we can. Our definition of “family” is very broad.
The third part of our short mission statement is “Never Stop Learning.” Here’s what that means to us :
- Faith in God is an ever-evolving thing, and doubts and questions are an integral part of the evolution.
- Exploration and discussion of the Bible and Jesus’ teachings are important to our understanding of the development of the Christian faith and where we are as individuals today.
- Reflecting on how our faith informs our actions in the world is an ongoing educational opportunity.
- Learning is lifelong and can take many forms — from books and discussion groups, to sharing group prayer/meditation, to delivering food to the homeless poor, to building houses in Nicaragua, to sitting and talking in depth with someone from our own church family.
- It’s important to learn not only about our own faith, but also about the other major faith traditions.