Membership at Village Church
One + One = ONE
Membership takes on two forms as one fellowship at Village. Covenant membership and Confirmed membership. Further down on this page, you’ll find the Biblical and historical basis for membership. But first, we want to describe how membership works here at Village Church.
Covenant members are those who deeply identify with this local church community, but not necessarily with historic Anglicanism and many of the “ins-and-outs” of our tradition. We know and accept that the Church has many expressions, sometimes within each local body. In other words, we are ecumenical.
Confirmed members are those who identify with the Anglican tradition, want to be confirmed by the Bishop and intentionally join our church, our diocese (a regional expression of the global Anglican Church) and the historic, worldwide communion of Anglican believers. This doesn’t mean you must fully understand all things Anglican. That’s an ongoing process. But it does mean you affirm all 7 of what we call our Fundamental Declarations (below). In being confirmed, you are building a direct connection with other churches in our diocese and with our bishops, who are the chief pastors of the diocese.
So what difference does it make here at Village?
Very little. Just this: A member must be confirmed to serve on our vestry and, in some cases, to teach. But, essentially, a member is a member.
Requirements for Membership
For BOTH covenant and confirmed members…
Be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with water.
Give a credible testimony of your faith in Jesus Christ (on the membership form - see below).
Affirm Fundamental Declarations 1,2,4 and 5. In short, affirm the authority of Scripture, the sacraments of communion and baptism, the Triunity of God as expressed in the historic Creeds of the Church, and the deity and humanity of Christ as expressed in the Councils of the early Church. (See below for more).
Make 3 local commitments:
Worship together regularly and serve the community needs of Village Church with your time and talents, including our endeavors to care for our neighbors and the broader community.
Give generously to help meet the financial needs of Village Church. Village Church members are encouraged to make prayerful, annual commitments of the firstfruits of their income (Proverbs 3:9). Why give? Read more here.
Invest in the important decisions of the church by voting when called upon.
Additional requirements for confirmed members…
Complete a confirmation class, which takes an “Anglicanism 101” approach.
Affirm all 7 of the Fundamental Declarations of the Diocese of the Carolinas.
Receive the sacramental rite of Confirmation by the Bishop when he visits.
NOTE: Beginning in 2020, we will institute some changes to the process.
We will strongly encourage* the Alpha Course as a vital step in becoming a member, and require two gatherings: 1) A half-day membership breakfast and orientation (to replace the dinners held in years prior) and 2) an interview with a member of our clergy.
*Exception from Alpha is on a case-by-case basis.
Ready for membership?
Please begin the process by filling out the membership form here.
Our next confirmation / reception Sunday is:
November 3, 2019
The Biblical, Historical Case for Membership
Throughout the history of the church, membership is understood as a sacramental reality. A sacrament is an outward sign of an inward grace - something visible that points to something hidden, but no less real. This is what being members of the Body of Christ is all about. There’s more going on in our belonging to one another in Christ. As individual followers of Jesus Christ, we are being joined together with others in the mission of the global Church - a new humanity living in his kingdom, under his rule, pursuing love and unity. Pursuing the world Jesus wants until it is fully realized. In this sense, the Church is a sign of the Kingdom’s presence, which is otherwise hidden. As the New Testament knows nothing of the individualism that's so strong in our culture, the Church is a living, breathing image of how God is reconciling people to Himself and to one another by faith. And in this way, the Church confronts our disordered and disjointed views of ourselves and humanity by not only proclaiming the good news of reconciliation, but actually endeavoring to evidence how that good news is at work in the world. It is the redemptive work of the Spirit to unite people to God and to one another. Membership is the practical way we express this together.
The FUNDAMENTAL DECLARATIONS of the Diocese of the Carolinas, ACNA
Covenant members affirm, at minimum, Declarations 1, 2, 4 and 5 below, while Confirmed Anglican members affirm all 7.
1. We confess the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God, containing all things necessary for salvation, and to be the final authority and unchangeable standard for Christian faith and life. AFFIRM: The Authority of Scripture
2. We confess Baptism and the Supper of the Lord to be Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself in the Gospel, and thus to be ministered with unfailing use of His words of institution and of the elements ordained by Him. AFFIRM: Two sacraments
3. We confess the godly historic Episcopate as an inherent part of the apostolic faith and practice, and therefore as integral to the fullness and unity of the Body of Christ. AFFIRM: The role of bishops as chief pastors
4. We confess as proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture the historic faith of the undivided church as declared in the three Catholic Creeds: the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athanasian. AFFIRM: The Trinity - one God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
5. Concerning the seven Councils of the undivided Church, we affirm the teaching of the first four Councils and the Christological clarifications of the fifth, sixth and seventh Councils, in so far as they are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures. AFFIRM: Jesus Christ as fully God and fully human.
6. We receive The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship. AFFIRM: The Book of Common Prayer as a guideline for worship.
7. We receive the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1571, taken in their literal and grammatical sense, as expressing the Anglican response to certain doctrinal issues controverted at that time, and as expressing fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief. AFFIRM: The 39 Articles as a guideline for belief.
From The Preface to Confirmation in The Book of Common Prayer (2019)
Anglicanism requires a public and personal profession of the Faith from every adult believer in Jesus Christ. Confirmation by a bishop is its liturgical expression. Confirmation is evident in Scripture: the Apostles prayed for, and laid their hands on those who had already been baptized (2 Timothy 1:6-7; Acts 8:14-17; 19:6).
In Confirmation, God, through the bishop’s prayer for daily increase in the Holy Spirit, strengthens the believer for Christian life in the service of Christ and his kingdom. Grace is God’s gift, and we pray that he will pour out his Holy Spirit on those who have already been made his children by adoption and grace in Baptism.
At the direction of the Bishop, and after public reaffirmation of their baptismal promises, those having made adult professions of faith in other Christian traditions (including those confirmed in other traditions) are received into the Anglican Church with prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop.
Confirmed believers who are already members of this Church (including those received from other traditions as above, those returning to active Christian discipleship after lapse, and those experiencing a renewal of Christian commitment or significant life transition) may also reaffirm the pledges made to Christ and his Church with prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop.
Two side-notes on Confirmation:
If you have already been confirmed in another apostolic church tradition (Anglican, Catholic or Orthodox), you will be "received" into Village Church instead of confirmed.
Youth confirmands will have a different process for confirmation, which includes catechesis.