From time to time we schedule New Members class. These classes are times to gather with those who have expressed an interest in becoming members of St John’s. We cover things like what Lutherans believe, how St John’s members are active in the community, and how those new to our faith family can become involved.
Of course all people are welcome at St John’s. But unless you were baptized at St John’s, you were probably “received” as a member at some point in time. I’m sure some of you have witnessed one of these events. In fact, there’s even a litany (an exchange of prayers or petitions) that we use for this exciting event in the life of the church! But what is it and where does it come from?
Not surprisingly, these words are taken from our Baptism liturgy. We start by remembering what God has done for us, then those joining the congregation profess their faith (usually with the Apostles’ Creed). Finally, all are charged “to continue in the covenant God made with you in holy baptism,” and the assembly promises to pray for and support the new members.
Whether we receive members by a transfer or through baptism, we celebrate the unity in becoming the body of Christ. I invite you to take a moment this week to pray for those who will soon be united with our faith community.
Almighty God, by the love of Jesus Christ you draw people to yourself and welcome them into the household of faith. May we show your joy by embracing new brothers and sisters as we bear your creative and redeeming word to all the world. Keep us close together in your Spirit, in the breaking of bread and the prayers, and in service to others, following the example of Jesus Christ, our servant and Lord. Amen. (ELW, p 75)