A man speaking with a woman

What is Membership?

During this time of physical separation and virtual worship, every Sunday we welcome long-time members and friends alongside visitors and newcomers from our local community, from around the country, and even from around the world! Our community is enriched by the connections we are making through screens as we live through an unprecedented time in history.

First Church invites every new person to join us “for an hour or for a lifetime” on the journey of life and the journey of faith. For some, the acceptance of this invitation leads to a deeper relationship with our community through the sharing in our covenant with God and with each other to become formal members of First Church in Cambridge.

How can I learn more about becoming part of First Church?

There are several ways!  Connect with a minister or staff member over email, zoom, phone or in-person.  We also have regular gatherings for newcomers where we can get to know one another more and you can ask whatever questions you may have.  You can also check out our Get Involved page.  You don’t need to be a formal member to participate in or enjoy the gifts of being in community at First Church.

What does it mean to become a member of the church?

You are welcome to formally join the church by means of a covenant, not by assent to a set of beliefs. Learn more about our historic and living covenants. The United Church of Christ,  our denomination, is rooted in the same traditional creeds as other mainline Christian denominations. We also have a modern statement of faith. First Church uses both in its worship and study. Most people in our congregation either accept basic Christian beliefs as a given, or as is more often the case, they wrestle with this heritage of belief in their everyday lives, exploring and questioning it as they go along their Christian way.

What commitments am I making when I become a member?

When we join the congregation, we covenant with God and with each other

  • To worship together regularly on Sundays, and to participate in the ongoing life of prayer and praise of the church in its many forms;
  • To be faithful stewards of the church’s resources;
  • To prayerfully discern the ways in which we are called to give our time, talents, and money for the support and strengthening of our community—including financial pledging and, in some cases, accepting calls to positions of leadership within the congregation;
  • To participate in the small group life of the church, including opportunities for learning, fellowship and service;
  • To take an active and informed part in the church’s discernment regarding its future and all other major decisions;  to vote in congregational meetings.
  • To enjoy the fellowship of the community and to extend pastoral care and affection to those who are in need;
  • To pray earnestly for the church—for all its members and ministries, for its leaders and benefactors and for the world we are called to serve.

Our Puritan forbears were orthodox Christians. All the same, they resisted the power of a church hierarchy or government to dictate the religious convictions by which they were to live. They insisted on the sovereignty of a free conscience. For this reason, we do not require anyone to assent publicly to articles of faith in order to become a member of the church. We do not use belief in particular doctrines as a way of deciding “who’s in and who’s out” of our circle of faith.

How do I formally join?

Our process for joining usually involves attendance at newcomers’ gatherings where we can hear each other’s stories, ask questions, and learn more about First Church’s history, denomination, programs, and also about expectations of church members. We offer opportunities to join at several points during the year, usually in January, June, and October. First Church accepts and welcomes full members, as well as affiliate members who maintain membership in another congregation where they have a history and relationship. First Church also welcomes people to be “friends” of First Church by participating in the life and ministries of the community, but not taking on the specific responsibilities of membership, such as leadership, governance, and voting in congregational meetings.

“…for an hour or for a lifetime…”

Complete this New Member Form so that we can prepare to welcome you on our next Joining Sunday! If you have questions or would like to talk through what all of this means for your faith journey, please let one of the ministerial staff know. We would be happy to schedule a conversation with you.