What kind of church is this?
We know that many churches will provide a quick link to a page about “our beliefs,” and then provide the basic creed (statements of belief) that they understand to hold together the faith of their community. WCCOB follows the Church of the Brethren in articulating something a little different:
We have no ‘creed’ except for scripture, interpreted in community by the guiding of the Holy Spirit, as we seek to follow the example and teachings of Jesus.
As a community, we realize that on many topics, we hold a variety of beliefs. And, individually as well as collectively, our beliefs have continued to develop as we come to fuller understandings of truth as revealed to us. We consider it to be more important that we strive to follow Jesus together than that we all believe the same things. That said, we have tried to sketch a framework for following Christ as outlined below.
Creating Community Inspired by Christ
Throughout Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the central emphasis in Jesus’ teaching is the Reign (or Kingdom) of God–salvation experienced in a community living as God intends. In our life together, we strive to build towards that Beloved Community of Jesus through the following practices:
Jesus’ Beloved Community is for all people; we all bear the image of God. No matter one’s race or ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation, native language, legal status, social or economic status, religious background, age or ability, we will welcome you to WCCOB as Christ has welcomed us. While the world lives in division, we are called to continue Jesus’ ministry of reconciliation.
Here at WCCOB, we recognize our own ongoing need for transformation–both individual and collective. Because none of us are yet perfectly the person that God calls us to be, we welcome the embrace of loving affirmation, the wisdom of a community, and a diversity of thoughtful voices which together set the stage for the Spirit’s transforming work in each of our lives. In the end, we find that Jesus sets us free from internalized shame or oppression, from life-draining habits, and from fears that keep us stuck–things we might not have realized are part of what the Bible calls “sin”–so that we can be who God created each of us to be.
At any stage of growth in our walk with Jesus, following him will mean taking concrete action to love our neighbor. Whether that means volunteering to teach and lead with children’s activities, joining a group of quilters making blankets to donate to a variety of causes, volunteering with the district’s Disaster Relief Ministries, or supporting immigrants or refugees as they navigate the complicated legal process of entering this country, WCCOB tries to “go and do likewise” in imitation of the Samaritan whom Jesus praised for loving the one who was in his path, regardless of their differences.
This element of building Jesus’ Beloved Community is placed “lowest” on the list because it is the bedrock of everything else that we do. While Jesus’ teaching and example are chock full of calls to continue God’s work in striving for justice and peace, those things alone are not the final goal. In the end, every form of violence, oppression, greed, and separation must be torn down because these are all obstacles to really living in God’s love and enjoying the fullness of God. Our weekly worship at its best contains a foretaste of living in the fulness of that divine love, and glorifying God in our praise for God’s goodness.