Hi all and welcome to summer!
Hey, how would you folks like to take a journey with me? One of understanding and hopefully learning. I would like to include you as I learn what is means to be a Congregationalist. Along the way we will refer to various treatises by teachers and essayists throughout the history of Congregationalism. But first let me share with you my impressions of my initial involvement with Congregationalism.
Having been brought up in a parochial environment. I was unaware of other views of organized belief systems. When I found my way to the Union Congregational Church, I knew it was protestant and I had some idea of Protestantism but simply thought the term Congregational was in reference to the members as parish is to other groups. Not So, it means so much more!
Having spent thirty odd years being nurtured, supported, and growing spiritually and emotionally in 12-step fellowships, I found our little church welcoming and emotionally peaceful in the way the congregation interacted with each other. If I thought about it, I would have said it just fit me personally and assumed it was the people, which, of course it was. I felt at home from the start and embraced the fellowship I found here.
I must confess that it wasn’t until recently that I discovered the truer meaning of the title Congregational. The association that the Union Church belong to when I became a member didn’t emphasize the Congregational part of our denomination. When we started to look at alternatives, I was surprised to find that other associations embraced the concept of Congregationalism.
Congregationalism encompasses our understanding of God, how we interact with God and each other, as well as Church organization and polity and it is the foundation of our relationship with other Congregational Churches as well as the world around us.
At its most fundamental, Congregationalism accepts to the fullest the protestant belief that everyone can talk directly with God. No saint, priest, bishop, minister, or any other entity is needed to intercede. We refer to this as the Priesthood of All Believers. This concept filters down to our Church’s organization as well, although we belong to an association of churches, (National Association of Congregational Christian Churches) we are not governed by it.
In following installments, we will delve deeper into the Congregational Way and together learn what it means to be a Congregationalist in heart, mind, and soul.
Peace, Love, and Blessing!