“A traditional and nurturing church celebrating God’s grace through reason, education, diversity, inclusion, and social justice.”
Our current Mission Statement was crafted in 2001 and is made of essentially two parts: the first speaks to how we are like other churches, the second speaks to how we are different.
“Traditional” speaks to FCCWP’s identity as a downtown church with a long and rich history where people can expect a standard Sunday morning worship format: a liturgy, a choir, Sunday School and a sermon based on scripture. While we can infuse that format with some contemporary elements (and we often do), we are not a church that offers a contemporary format on our Sunday morning offering.
“Nurturing” reminds us of our compassionate care for fellow members and to assure those that may consider joining us that we are committed to nurturing one another along our Journey together.
“Celebrating God’s grace” certainly includes Sunday morning worship, but it also includes church dinners, weekend retreats, our art and our song, and the joy we take in the presence of our young people in things like our W.I.N.G.S. programs. It is also our historic and strong commitment to Outreach and to Service. God’s love is a gift, and we live the Truth that the best way we can receive that gift is with joy, astonishment, and action.
“Reason, education, diversity, inclusion and social justice.” These words were chosen intentionally because they convey multiple meanings in shorthand. Social Justice reminds us things like hunger and poverty are more than just causes to support – they are an inherent Injustice; inconsistent with the Realm of God. People should not suffer at the hands of others, nor through their neglect. It reminds us that when our church takes action, it should be consistent with the ministry of Jesus, who himself made people whole and found a place for everyone in society.
Reason speaks to our denomination’s long history of respecting the individual’s right to seek her or his own path on their faith journey. We a “non-creedal” church (we don’t subscribe to creeds), not because we believe in nothing, but because we respect the process of arriving at belief and honor the joy of walking that process together.
Diversity and inclusion are like fraternal twins; alike but different. Diversity is the recognition and acceptance of our differences, while inclusion is our openness to difference. Inclusion is also a word currently attached to the welcome and acceptance of our LGBT Sisters and Brothers, and since our denomination is the most inclusive in Protestantism, it is appropriate to remind the world. We are a church lovingly dedicated to living out both of these; both in our church and in our lives the rest of the week.
Education: As a church, we accept the responsibility of helping parents give their children a spiritual foundation, and we provide the means for adult growth through a variety of educational opportunities. We operate a weekday Preschool and celebrate our history as the founders of Rollins College. As one of our Congregational founders said many decades ago, “There is yet more light and truth to spring forth from God’s word.” An inquisitive mind with a strong foundation of learning will always propel us towards the exploration of that new light and truth.