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Get to Know Us: What is Membership? What are Baptism, Confirmation and Reception? What is Pledging?

We often get asked what needs to happen in order to “join” our Church. The short answer is you just need to show up! We welcome anyone and everyone to join us for worship on Sunday mornings or at any of our church activities. We understand that first and foremost membership in the Church means being part of a community that is drawn ever more deeply into relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

However there can be more to it than that. For those who are interested in making a formal commitment of membership to the Episcopal Church, and St. Francis’ in particular, we have put together a brief summary of how the Episcopal Church defines the terms of membership. If you still have questions after reading this page, please feel free to reach out to one of our clergy members and we’d be happy to talk to you more about it.

Q: Who is a Christian?

A: A Christian is any person who has been baptized in the Episcopal Church or any other Christian church. In Christianity, there is one baptism recognized by all.

Q: What is Baptism?

A: The sacrament of Baptism is the initiation rite into the Christian Church. To be Baptized, as an infant, child or adult is to become a full member of the Church.

Q: Who may receive Communion?

A: Throughout the Episcopal Church, any baptized Christian, regardless of age or denomination, is welcome to receive Communion. At St. Francis’ we practice “open table.” That means any person who desires communion, regardless of baptismal status, is welcome to the Eucharistic Table for this table is not ours, but God’s.

Q: Who is a member of the Episcopal Church?

A: A person is a member of the Episcopal Church if they have been baptized, whether in an Episcopal church or another Christian church, and the baptism has been recorded in the records of a particular Episcopal parish. A person may also become a member of the Episcopal Church if they are Confirmed or Received by a bishop.

Q: What is Confirmation?

A: Confirmation is a sacrament of the Church. It is an informed profession of the faith that may be made by teenagers or adults. To be Confirmed is to express a mature commitment to Christ, and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop. 

Q: What does it mean to be “received” into the Episcopal Church?

A: If you have been Confirmed in another liturgical tradition (such as Roman Catholic or Lutheran) you are Received into the Church rather than Confirmed. A person is Received into the Episcopal Church by a bishop. Reception signifies commitment to the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement.

Q: Why officially join the Episcopal Church?

A: We believe that God speaks to people in a variety of ways and that no one particular expression of this faith is “right.” For Episcopalians, this way of relating to the divine balances scripture, tradition, and reason. The Episcopal Church is a sacramental and liturgical form of Christianity that respects the ancient nature of the church yet allows room for a prayerful discussion of theology.

Q: What is a Letter of Transfer?

A: If you are a member of another Episcopal parish and would like to transfer your membership to St. Francis’, please contact the parish office to let us know. We have a special form we send to your former parish that “transfers” your membership to St. Francis’.

Q: Who is a member of the Episcopal parish of St. Francis’?

A: An “official” member of St. Francis’ is a baptized person who requests to be placed on the membership rolls of this parish. If you are Baptized, Confirmed, or Received at St. Francis’, you automatically become a member. A person who is a member of another Episcopal church can transfer their membership to St. Francis’ through a Letter of Transfer.

Q: What if I don’t want to officially join the Episcopal Church or St. Francis?

A: That’s fine. We consider our parish family to be a wide net of individual beliefs and situations and while we encourage people to seriously consider official membership, it is not a requirement to partake in the life of the community. 

Q: Is the parish directory an official roster of parish members?

A: No. The Parish Directory is an unofficial list of people who attend St. Francis’ on a regular basis. It is never fully complete or up-to-date since people join the community, move, or leave the parish at various times for a variety of reasons. The directory is updated regularly. If you would like to be included or amend your entry, please contact the parish office.

Q: What about pledging?

A: Giving money is not a requirement for membership at St. Francis’. We firmly believe that stewardship of our financial resources is an integral part of being a Christian and we rely on the generosity of our community to support our common ministry and pay our bills. Episcopal Churches do not receive financial assistance from the Diocese or the National Church. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: we pay a yearly apportionment to the Diocese of Missouri to support the mission and ministry of the larger church.

Q: What is expected of members of St. Francis’?

A: We expect members of this parish community to strive to lead a life of faith. As a community, we do that through our commitment to “Love, Worship, Serve.” We love through activities and events that bind us together in laughter and joy as a church and with local neighbors. We worship by continuing to learn about and engage in deepening our faith and by sharing in the joy of corporate worship weekly. St. Francis’ members attend Sunday services! We serve by caring for other members, especially in times of illness and grief. We serve our community through our Principles of Service and Justice with a particular focus on education and hunger. At St. Francis’ 73% of parishioners participate in one or more ministries. We can’t be St. Francis’ without the active participation of each member!

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