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First Congregational Church of Sutton

To serve God by sharing the teaching, faith, love and forgiveness of Christ.

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“God who began a good work in you is bringing it to completion.”
(Philippians 1:6)

What does it mean to become a member of First Church of Sutton?

Perhaps you have been visiting for awhile and want to make First Church your spiritual home. Perhaps you feel God is calling you to deeper commitment. Consider becoming a member of our family of faith.

What makes membership different from being a visitor or simply a friend of First Church?

We want you to know you are welcome here as a visitor, friend, or member. Members, however, kick up their commitment by entering into a covenant with other members. It’s part of our United Church of Christ heritage. A covenant is a living promise to be in a relationship and to be about God’s work in the world. No longer simply a visitor, you seek to share in covenant with others, to welcome other visitors, and seek an even deeper journey into faith.

What is this covenant? What is asked of me as a member?

Our covenant describes the commitments we share — a way of discipleship and hope. Members also join together to discern God’s future for our congregation by the right to vote in congregational meetings. No longer a visitor and simply receiving an heartfelt  welcome, you also are called to offer your prayers, your presence, your talents and contributions. In some ways, you move from being a guest to sharing the gift of being a good host to others.

How do I become a member?

Let the pastor know that you are considering becoming a member. Share your questions and hopes. Once you have decided to become a member, you will be invited to join us during a worship service. You will be asked: “Do you promise to participate in the life and mission of this family of God’s people, sharing regularly in the worship of God and enlisting in the work of First Church as it serves this community and world?” You then would respond, “I promise with the help of God.” Then we celebrate your joining with applause! God bless you.

That’s it. Your journey of faith continues — in a new way, a new covenant in God’s hope!

We believe in the freedom and responsibility of the individual soul, and the right of private judgment. We hold to the autonomy of the local church and its independence of all ecclesiastical control. The First Congregational Church of Sutton is involved in the free fellowship and membership with the United Church of Christ through the Central Association of, and The Massachusetts Conference of, the United Church of Christ for council and cooperation in matters of common concern.
To become a member of First Church one must meet with and be recommended by the Diaconate.  He or she must affirm or re-affirm his or her belief in the Christian Faith and Baptism; and if a member of another church within the Christain family of churches, must also present a letter of transfer. 

The members of this Church shall undertake and solemnly promise to honor it in their conduct and lives, give diligent attendance upon its services, support its work, uphold its faith, submit cheerfully to its rules and discipline, labor and pray for its increase, purity, and peace; and to walk with its fellow members in charity and faithfulness.
A member is defined as active when they routinely and annually communicate with the church, contribute to its support or participate in activities sponsored by the church.

Active members may act and vote in the business and transactions of the Church, subject to the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts relating to not for profit and ecclesiastical corporations.

Active members may attend Church Council and Church Committee meetings; and may have voice but not vote at these meetings, unless they are elected members of these groups. Active members may request and shall be given access to any reports, records, minutes or other information, past or present, which deals with the public operations of the Church. Pledge information and personnel information shall not be deemed public information.
The organization of our church exists to serve its members in their pursuit of an understanding the Word of God and in their faithful following of the teachings of Jesus Christ. The final decision- making authority within this organization shall therefore collectively rest with its members (the “Congregation”) under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Reporting directly to the Congregation shall be the Church Officers, the Church Council, the Personnel and Pastoral Relations Committees, and Conference Delegates.

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We believe in God, the Eternal Spirit, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our Father, and to His deeds we testify:

He calls the worlds into being,
creates people in His own image
and sets before them the ways of life and death.

He seeks in holy love to save all people from
aimlessness and sin.

He judges people and nations by His righteous will
declared through prophets and apostles.

In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Lord, He has come to us
and shared our common lot, conquering sin
and death and reconciling the world to Himself.

He bestows upon us His Holy Spirit,
creating and renewing the Church of Jesus Christ,
binding in covenant faithful people of all ages,
tongues and races.

He calls us into his Church to accept the cost
and joy of discipleship, to be His servants
in the service of people, to proclaim the gospel
to all the world and resist the powers of evil,
to share in Christ’s Baptism and eat at His table,
to join Him in His passion and Victory.

He promises to all who trust him
forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace,
courage in the struggle for justice and peace,
in presence in trial and rejoicing,
and eternal life in his kingdom which has no end.

Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto Him.