How do I become a member of All Saints?
What It Means to Belong
People often belong to multiple community groups, from PTAs to Lions, booster clubs for kids’ sports to book groups. Belonging usually involves showing up, taking part, and making a contribution. The same is true for All Saints, where the 3 Ps of membership are: Presence, Participation, and Pledge.
A simple yet complicated question.
It was not that long ago that confirmation was a requirement of membership in an Episcopal church, and if you moved to a different parish, you needed a letter of transfer from your previous parish. But these days, answering the question: How do I become a member? is both more complex and simpler. Many people join the church from another denomination for starters. And the church’s views are evolving.
Some of us grew up in an era when you couldn’t receive communion unless and until you had been confirmed. But today, “the church is moving toward an understanding of baptism as the sacrament of initiation and confirmation as a reaffirmation of baptismal vows,” Rev. Tanya explained. “Baptism is the full sacrament of initiation, so if you’re baptized from another tradition or come from no tradition, the question of membership becomes much more difficult.”
With open communion, welcoming everyone to the communion table, the question also becomes simpler.
“We are much more flexible about who belongs,” Rev. Tanya said, “but it is important that we have standards, so people know what to expect. There are expectations to life in community.”
The 3 Ps.
Our standards for belonging are grounded in the understanding that we are called at baptism into full involvement in the community of faith through our presence, our participation, and our pledge.
Sunday worship is the center of our life as a Christian community. All Saints is an active community that prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and seeks to promote justice, peace, and love among all people. It is through our presence on Sunday mornings, gathered in this community of faith, that we begin to live out our call as Christians and our membership in this community.
Each Sunday, we reaffirm our baptismal vows and our commitment to live them 24/7, when the deacon calls us to “go in peace to love and serve the Lord,” at the end of each service. We proclaim, “thanks be to God,” and we fulfill this second element of membership in the many ways we seek and serve Christ in all persons, from volunteering in outreach activities to teaching Sunday school to serving on the building committee. It means going deeper, being involved in the life of the parish and serving the larger community, as we come to understand our gifts and offer them to God and to God’s people.
We believe in a generous God who gives us time, abilities, and material resources, and who calls us to share these—by addressing the needs of the poor, advocating for a just society, proclaiming the Good News, promoting peace, and wisely using the resources of God’s creation. Equally important, we believe that God calls us to share these gifts by supporting the mission and ministry of All Saints financially. We are called to give to God from what has been given to us, to support this community of faith and the wider community. Our pledge is an equally important element in our membership in this community that we call family, All Saints, our spiritual home.
May I arrange a wedding/baptism/funeral at All Saints?
We are honored to support members of the community in planning for their sacramental celebrations. If you are interested in baptism for yourself or your child, please join us at worship and introduce yourself to the Rector; it is important to be a part of the community into which you will be formally welcomed at Holy Baptism. We welcome your wedding in the church if one or both of you has an affiliaton with the parish, and we welcome conversation about what that affiliation might look like. In addition, we are honored to assist with the funeral and burial of anyone whose family or close friends have a connection with All Saints' Church. Please contact the Rector if you would like to discuss making arrangements for sacramental celebrations.
Can I hold my event in your beautiful hall?
Yes! We are blessed with a lovely space, and we are glad to share it with the community. Whether you are looking to use a small classroom space, the large parish hall, or something in between, please contact the Parish Administrator, who can help you with details ranging from size and cost to scheduling and planning.
What is Lawrence House?
A faith-based residential internship program for young adults, ages 21-31, has been created in Western Massachusetts. Live in an intentional, progressive Christian community, sponsored by All Saints’ Episcopal Church in South Hadley; participate full-time in social justice work in the surrounding area; engage in spiritual formation and vocational discernment; receive room, board and a modest monthly stipend; serve God and others; change the world. The Lawrence House Service Corps is designed to enable young adults to engage in living a life that matters, learning to connect their spiritual lives with work that makes a difference in the world. For more information and to apply to Lawrence House, see the Lawrence House Service Corps page.