An Open and Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Christ
575 Richmond Road, Richmond Heights, OH 44143

Reflections on Mission and Practice
Unpublished manuscript April 14 - May 27, 2012
Updated March 13, 2021
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Born into the new life of the Spirit
of love, compassion, peace and joy,
through the Grace of God
in the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
we are called by that Spirit
to the service of God's world
and of all God's beloved children. Community
We are members of the family of Christian faith,
and of the larger community of all God's beloved children,
held together by bonds of love and friendship
that transcend all differences, divisions and even death itself.
As an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ,
we AFFIRM the universal and unbounded love of God
made known to us in the life and teachings,
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,
and we recognize that this love shows no partiality.
Rejoicing in the diverse gifts that each person brings to the life of the Church,
we FURTHER AFFIRM that membership and full participation in this congregation
is OPEN to all who wish to dwell in the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus,
regardless of age, sexual orientation, race, gender identity,
marital, economic, mental or physical status.

Spiritual Gifts and Practice
We rejoice in the good and perfect gifts of the Spirit:
wisdom and understanding, right judgment,
courage, knowledge, reverence, wonder and awe;
and we confess that our own use of those gifts
has often been less than good and far from perfect.
Therefore, in spiritual practice we seek
to become more sturdy branches of the true Vine,
yielding at last the perfect fruits
of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity,
gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and pure intention.
We gather in worship as a community of faith:
In a sacred place, set apart in space and time,
to celebrate the presence of the Sacred throughout space and time;
To rejoice in the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ;
To seek forgiveness of sins
and repentance of hurtful habits
of body, speech and mind;
To find wise and compassionate guidance
through the proclamation and teaching of Word and Gospel; and
To re-dedicate ourselves to the service of God's world and all God's children.
In Holy Communion, open to all, we seek
to renew and refresh body, speech and mind,
that by the transforming power of the Spirit
we may become more faithful and loving agents
of the transformation that God has purposed for the world.
All who share that aspiration are welcome
to join us at Christ's table.
Study and Reflection
We seek to know and understand God's purpose for us:
Through the reading and hearing of Word and Gospel,
and through reflection on their meaning
in the light of our lives' experience
and the wisdom of all faith traditions.
We seek to align our lives to that purpose and meaning
through meditation, prayer, witness and service.
Prayer and Meditation
We rely on prayer and meditation:
To open our hearts and minds to the joy and peace of God's Spirit;
To remember before God the suffering of others;
To discern the difference between our own desires and God's will for us; and
To find the love, compassion and wisdom to relieve the suffering of God's world.
In the living of lives transformed
by the Spirit of love, compassion and wisdom,
we bear witness in word and deed
to the life-changing power of the Gospel.
To the best of our abilities,
we work to feed the hungry,
comfort the afflicted, liberate the oppressed,
and advance the cause of liberty and justice
in local communities, states, nation and world.
Environmental Responsibility
We strive to become responsible stewards
of Earth and all her creatures;
and we look forward to the day when,
by the grace of God,
Earth shall be fair,
and all her children glad and wise