It can be unsettling to arrive as a newcomer at any event or gathering when you’re not quite sure what to expect. This is especially true with church-related activities because of the huge diversity in religious beliefs and practices. Since not all churches are the same, here are some things you can expect when you visit with us:

Welcome

No matter who you are, where you come from, how you found us, or how long you stay, we are glad you’re here. The journey of life and faith is more meaningful and abundant in community. Whether you’re joining us for worship, for food and conversation in one of our homes, at the local pub, or in one of our service outreach groups, we’ll do our best to embody Christ-like hospitality and make space for you at the table. We are an organic, dynamic community with a shared desire to continue the work of Jesus as we explore and deepen our faith.

Authenticity

Honesty, authenticity, and integrity are important to us, and we strive to acknowledge and address the full range of human emotion and experience. During our Sunday sermon responses, you might hear someone wrestle with what the preacher has said, confess their struggles with a particular understanding of God, or share an example of how they’ve experienced Christ. As we share our lives in prayer, you may hear people speak about a physical or mental illness, a family celebration, broken relationships, personal successes, or global concerns. In all of our gatherings, you’ll find space to ask big questions, and you might just receive an honest “I don’t know” in response.

Participation

Creating opportunities for putting our faith into action is a large part of what we do. Following the way of Jesus is not a spectator sport. In worship you’ll find opportunities to engage not only in singing and prayer but also in open or creative response. But perhaps you’re not at a place in your life and faith where gatherings for worship seem like the best fit for you. There are people who are an important part of our community who primarily join us outside of Sunday worship. From knitting and crocheting for charity to conversations at the intersection of belief, faith, and current events, there are lots of ways to participate. We hope you’ll get to know us and join in.

What NOT to Expect

  • A big crowd–Most of our gatherings are relatively small, which allows for deeper relationships and interactive conversation. Sunday gatherings for worship and eating together are our largest, averaging around 20-30 people, while other groups tend to hover between 6 and 12.
  • Existing programs for every interest–As a small church, we focus our shared ministry on the places where our gifts and interests intersect with our concern for our neighbors and world. The unique groups that make up our church reflect the passions of people within our congregation. If there is a particular event or group you’d like to see formed that connects with your spirituality and passions, let us know!
  • A band– Music style seems to be one of the areas of strongest personal preference when it comes to worship. Most of our worship music is accompanied by piano, occasionally by guitar, and sometimes sung a capella. We draw from a diversity of styles: traditional hymns, global songs, ancient chants, and more recently written tunes and lyrics. Our music reflects our values of simplicity, diversity, participation, and theological depth.
  • Easy answers–We love wrestling with tough questions, and easy answers rarely satisfy. While some churches might point to a Bible verse and say “problem solved,” we’re much more likely to engage in conversation with scripture and each other as we discern the mind of Christ together. We try to be open to the flaws within our own understandings and avoid tidy, theological boxes that limit our views of God.
  • Creeds, dogma, or litmus tests–Traditionally, the Church of the Brethren has claimed no creed but the New Testament, as interpreted in community with the help of the Holy Spirit. We also believe strongly that there should be no force in religion and that all people should be welcomed and belong, regardless of their beliefs or nonbeliefs. Instead of trying to dictate what to believe, we are more concerned with how to believe and how to love God, our neighbors, and our selves.