A New Member Liturgy

This liturgy was written for the Evangelical United Church of Christ community on the occasion of the Baptism of Kate (teen) and the Reception of New Members in October 2006. Beginning with the questions from the UCC Book of Worship, with illumination from both Crosswalk's "Phoenix Affirmations", The Center for Progressive Christianity's "8 Points", and conversations with several EUCC members, the following questions of faith emerged.

As is our custom when receiving new members at EUCC, each new member is introduced to the congregation by a 'sponsor' (mentor/friend).

Questions of the Candidates/Members:

Respecting divine mystery beyond our human knowing,
revealed but not contained in the stories of our faith,
will you strive to walk humbly with God?

Celebrating the fullness of Jesus' witness
flowing from the baptismal waters at the river Jordan
and the stories of bread broken and shared,
do you confess the God made known in the one we call Christ?

Believing Jesus about God and trusting his example,
will you accept the cost and joy of following him;
welcoming the unwelcome-able, speaking the unspeakable,
touching the untouchable, and suffering the insufferable?

Honoring the Spirit revealed in the paradoxical,
will you live the questions of our faith,
open to the continuing revelation of our still speaking God?

Discerning strength in vulnerability,
do you acknowledge your interdependence
and mutual accountability with all of creation?

Claiming God's grace abundant in our common life,
will you covenant together to cherish inquiry,
embrace diversity, and honor vulnerability?

Affirmation of Faith: (with congregation)

Do you believe in God the Source, the fountain of life? (I believe in God.)

Do you believe in Christ the Servant, embodied in Jesus of Nazareth and in the church? (I believe in Christ.)
Do you believe in the Spirit the Guide, the liberating wellspring of life? (I believe in the Spirit.)

Baptismal Prayer: (if included)

We thank you, God, for the gift of creation made known to us in water and word. Before the world had shape and form, your Spirit moved over the waters. Out of the waters of the deep, you formed the firmament and brought forth the earth to sustain all life. In the time of Moses, your people Israel passed through the Red Sea waters from slavery to freedom and crossed the flowing Jordan to enter the promised land. You have come to us through water in the stories of Jesus who was nurtured in the water of Mary's womb, baptized by John in the water of the Jordan, and became living water to a woman at the Samaritan well. Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and sent them forth to baptize with water and spirit. Bless by your Holy Spirit, gracious God, this water. Bless all who touch and taste this water that may be ever reminded of your abiding presence and claim on their lives. Amen.  (UCC Book of Worship, adapted)

Act of Baptism: (if included)

By what name will you be known? [name] I baptize you with faith in the living God, Source, Servant and Guide.

May the Spirit be upon you, child of God, disciple of Christ, and member of the Christian church.

Welcome and Reception: (responsive)

Let us, the members and friends of Evangelical United Church of Christ, express our welcome and affirm our mutual ministry in Christ.

We welcome you with joy in the common life of this church.
We covenant with you to equip one another
for the work to which we feel called:
striving for peace and justice among all people,
protecting and restoring the integrity of all God's creation,
and bringing hope to those most vulnerable.*
(*This sentence is from the 7th Point of The Center for Progressive Christianity's 8 Points.)

Signing of the Membership Book:


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