Describing Parish Membership

Understanding the duties, responsibilities and privileges of affiliating with (becoming a member of) an Orthodox parish  is an important concept for evangelization as well as stewardship and parish administration.

But what are those duties and expectations? Most parish membership descriptions talk about little more than the “right to vote in parish meetings”.  Surely there is more.

In response to a request to assist with expressing the concept of membership more fully and effectively on a parish website, we created the following membership description based on words found on three or four Orthodox parish sites. The descriptions have been harmonized to create what seems to be a decent membership definition.

Parish Membership — A Continuity with the Early Church

The Biblical image of the perfect Christian community is one where the sharing of the Gospel and the teaching of the Apostles takes place.  In this sharing, the community realizes its life in God through Jesus Christ. For two thousand years, communities of believers have dedicated themselves to living in an awareness of fellowship and belonging — strengthened by ‘remaining faithful to the teaching of the Apostles, to the community, to the breaking of bread and to prayer’ [Acts 2:24].

The Tradition of the Church teaches that our Christian identity is established by being a member of a community that worships together and celebrates the sacraments and remains faithful to this biblical image.

Considering Parish Membership

Members are those Orthodox Christians who understand what it means to build up the body of Christ. They do this by making a true commitment to our parish.

Membership creates stability in the parish just as marriage creates stability in society. Membership also creates strength in our parish because it is a commitment to participate in the ministries of the Church, to fulfill the spiritual strivings of an Orthodox Christian, and to …

More here.

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