MEMBERSHIP in the Redlands United Church of Christ (RUCC) is established by an annual covenant (by anyone who is 13 or older). This is different from the membership process of many other congregations, including those in the United Church of Christ. Each member writes (or otherwise declares, as in the case of the infirm) his or her own covenant and this covenant is renewed or revised each year. It is specifically intended that each member assumes responsibility for his or her own theology (beliefs), discipleship (personal faith-journey), and commitments (time, talents and money given to the church). Because we are a pilgrim people on faith’s journey, and imperfect human beings, our covenants will have errors large and small and we will not keep our covenants as perfectly as we would like. But together, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, we will complement one another’s weak spots and keep growing toward the common goals that we negotiate and accept as a community of faith.
THE COVENANT STATEMENT consists of four distinct, but interrelated parts, including; 1) a personal covenant statement, 2) updated personal information, 3) individual’s volunteer service on committees and in other capacities within the church’s ministry, and 4) intentions of financial support. The covenant is read only by the Pastor (except in cases of pastoral vacancy), and this personal covenant statement is prayerfully cherished; this statement might include insights or questions about the person’s own spiritual journey, needs they have from their pastor or their church, or other confidential information to assist the Pastor in better addressing their spiritual needs. The other three sections of information are communicated to the appropriate persons as follows. The information regarding people’s willingness to serve on Church Boards, Committees, and/or in other areas of the church’s life and work is given to the Nominating Committee in preparation for the Annual Meeting of the congregation in January. Updated personal information is given to the church office for inclusion in the annual church directory. Financial information is confidentially reported to the Church treasurer so our stewards may propose an annual budget for the Church Board to present at the Annual Meeting of the congregation.
BACKGROUND: The act of covenanting is not new to people of faith. In fact, the 3-fold covenant that God made with Abraham (see Genesis 12:1-9, 17:1-14) serves as the foundation upon which the entire Judeo-Christian tradition rests. Subsequent covenants that God made with others through the Patriarchs and the Prophets (e.g., Moses, Noah , Israel and Judah) attest to the fact that each generation must re-covenant with God to assume the journey of faith to which we have been called. For Christians of every age, the New Testament (literally, the “New Covenant”) attests to the covenant of grace that God has made with us in Jesus the Christ (e.g., Hebrews 8:8-13, 9:11 -15, Luke 22:20 ). Theologically, the Church exists as the “ekklesia” of God (i.e., the people who have been called out and gathered together to become the people of God in a given setting).