At CGS we're not really concerned with who is a member or not on a daily basis. People belong to the CGS community in an incredibly broad spectrum of expressions. Part of our mission is to Welcome All and we’ve always known that there literally isn’t anyone who is excluded from the Body of Christ. As we say on Sunday morning: “Just as Christ welcomes all, all are welcome to Christ’s table in this place.”
Some people have been baptized, and some have not. Some take communion with us and some refrain. There are people who join us in the work we do in the world and others who just read our newsletter every week. All these people are in some way, CGS.
Being a part of CGS means that sometimes we “go together” in the way of the disciples. Our community becomes not one voice in the wilderness, but a whole choir of voices who are proclaiming God’s love and serving in public, corporate ways. When we decide to follow God’s call corporately our actions in these areas of civic life get bigger than any one of us could do alone. We do things like build affordable housing, influence legislation, sustain social welfare programs, restore our environment, and transform our community.
So before we make a move as one body with many parts, we wonder – who is a part of this body? And who gets to determine our collective direction?
Our governing documents determine that this power lies with those who are voting members of our congregation. The authority of our congregation is decentralized power and decision-making power lies in the consensus of the community. This way of living pushes us toward careful discernment and stewardship of God's abundance. And perhaps most importantly, it roots us in relationship with God and with one another as the basis of our mission.
A voting member at CGS is someone who has affirmed their baptism in our community and also does two things in the span of a year: 1. Share communion at Christ’s table with us 2. Make a contribution of record
Being baptized in our community - or affirming one's baptism in our community is celebrated in our baptismal promises: to live among God's faithful people, to hear the word of God and share in the Lord's supper, to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth
This is how we live together. Sharing communion with one another (aka worshiping) is the center of all that. Some of us can't travel, or are unable to come to worship at 1550 Meridian on a regular basis, so this part of our life together takes many forms. Still, it means we are together. We are church together, not alone.
Making a contribution of record is how we give tangible evidence of our commitment to this life together. Making a contribution is a way of investing in our shared mission. It's the way we keep the lights on, compensate the staff that serves us, and do all the things that we feel called to do.
By identifying voting members as a particular role in our community we do not intend to lift up some people as better or different than others. It is not a requirement to participate in this community of faith, but a vocation that some people are called to fulfill. It is only our way of covenanting together. Of showing one another that we are committed to a relationship and a common mission. Being in this covenant together allows us to honor our process of consensus-driven decision making, hold one another accountable in discernment, and journey together for awhile.