Covenant Membership

Membership in Redlands United Church of Christ is established by an annual covenant. 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) their own covenant and this covenant is renewed or revised each year. It is specifically intended that each member assumes responsibility for their 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 Divine help, 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 consists of three distinct, but interrelated parts, including; 1) a spiritual statement, 2) volunteer service on committees and in other activities within our church’s ministry, and 3) intentions of financial support. The spiritual statement is read only by the Pastor (or designee 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 sections are communicated as follows. The information regarding people’s willingness to serve on the Church Board, Committees, and/or in other areas of the church’s life and work is given to the Nominating Committee and Area Leaders to connect to those various opportunities. 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 (e.g., Moses, Noah , Abraham and Sarah, Israel and Judah, Mary) 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 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).