Becoming a Member

Why do people “join” a church?
At Hyde Park Union Church, we join together in recognition of our need for Christ and for one another. Every human being yearns for community. Yet, as engaging and rewarding as life with others can be, we also – by our nature – sometimes find community difficult to forge and challenging to sustain. Spiritual community with fellow Christians involves the intent to live with one another, humbled by God’s gracious love, guided by Christ’s forgiveness and peace, and inspired by the Holy Spirit within and among us.

As church members, we covenant to support one another in our commitment to follow Christ, to alleviate suffering, and to live in peace. We do not all believe precisely the same things and may not express our beliefs in the same way, but we strive to love one another and to enjoy our God-given diversity. We pledge the gifts of our time, talents, prayers and offerings to this church so that it may be a blessing in the lives of others as it is in ours.

We encourage you to consider membership – even if you anticipate being in Hyde Park for only a year or two. Many students become “Associate Members” and retain primary membership at their home church.

Check Us Out
We invite you to worship with us, to attend any of our programs, and to serve with us in the community. Membership is not a requirement to become part of our fellowship. We have many friends who participate in our church fellowship: some are still seeking and exploring, some are passing through Hyde Park. All are welcome to join us in learning and service, fellowship and hope, and in the expression of Christ’s gospel and peace.

Church membership is open without prejudice to all who would follow the saving example of Jesus Christ. As a congregation in the Free Church tradition, we affirm the soul liberty of every person, the priesthood of all believers, and the autonomy of the local church. We have no creeds, accept all forms of baptism, and welcome the rich diversity of all God’s people.

How do people join?
If you would like to join, or if you have any questions about membership, please speak with any of the pastors. Before joining, one or more of the deacons will speak informally with you to discern how we can best integrate you into the life of our church. This is so we can best serve you (and your family) and find ways to develop your talents and interests.

Anyone who voluntarily commits to Christ through our church is accepted into membership. One may join by baptism, by profession of faith, by reaffirmation of faith, or by letter of transfer from another congregation. New members are given a sponsor who will introduce them in a worship service and look out for them over a period of months. Members are expected to consider a financial pledge to the budget of the church, and to offer their time and talents as appropriate.

How do children join the church?
Through affiliation with the American Baptists and the United Church of Christ, we welcome infants and young children into our fellowship through either baptism (by water) or dedication (by word) as expressions of the promises parents make on behalf of their children. Parents promise, with the help of the Spirit and the local community, to raise their children in the knowledge of Christ’s good news for the world. Either of these commitments is then to be ratified by the child at a later time. A young person who was baptized as an infant may “confirm” his or her baptism in a service of “confirmation” later on; a child who was dedicated as an infant may profess his or her faith and be baptized. Our Commitment Class prepares older children and youth to make this decision.