What We Believe

MISSION STATEMENT

“Woodland Christian Church is an open and affirming, dynamic community of faith.  We are inspired by Jesus to practice radical hospitality and unconditional love.  As children of God, we strive to care for the earth as we serve others.  We respect each individual’s journey as we grow together in faith.”

OUR DENOMINATION

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was founded in the early 1800s in the United States.  Seeking to move beyond denominational disagreements, the founders envisioned a united church of Jesus Christ modeled on the New Testament.

Today our nearly 3,800 congregations still share these characteristics:

  • Each congregation is self-governing and calls its own pastor.
  • Worship services may be formal or informal, and include lay women and men in leadership.
  • Open discussion of issues is encouraged.  Diversity of opinion is common.
  • We are growing in racial and ethic diversity.

The chalice symbolizes the central place of communion in worship for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  The X-shaped cross of the disciple Andrew is a reminder of the ministry of each person and the importance of evangelism.

BELIEFS AND PRACTICES USUALLY ASSOCIATED WITH DISCIPLES INCLUDE

  • Open Communion.  The Lord’s Supper, or Communion is celebrated in weekly worship.  It is open to all who believe in Jesus Christ.
  • Freedom of belief.  Disciples are called together around one essential of faith:  belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Persons are free to follow their consciences guided by the Bible, the Holy Spirit study and prayer, and are expected to extend that freedom to others.
  • Baptism by Immersion.  In baptism the old self-centered life is set aside, and a new life of trust in God begins.  Although Disciples practice baptism by immersion, other baptism traditions are honored.
  • Belief in the oneness of the church.  All Christians are called to be one in Christ and to seek opportunities for common witness and service.
  • The ministry of believers.  Both ministers and lay persons lead in worship, service and spiritual growth.
OPEN & AFFIRMING
Woodland Christian Church is an Open and Affirming Congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); setting a place at the table for persons of all gender expressions and sexual orientations.
 
For over a decade, Woodland Christian Church has been known in the Lexington community as a church that welcomes people who are gay or lesbian.  Not only are they welcomed, but also accepted and invited to participate in leadership roles in the church.
 
More recently, the congregation decided to make their witness of inclusion more public by voting in 2011 to officially become an “Open & Affirming” congregation in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  What is “Open & Affirming” (Q&A)?  Here’s what G.L.A.D. (Gay, Lesbian, Affirming Disciples) answers:
 
“Open and Affirming (Q&A) churches strive to be welcoming places, places that welcome you whatever your skin color, accent, clothing, or the gender of your spouse.  An Q&A church seeks to welcome all people without judgement and to provide a welcome that honors and accepts the diversity that is the image of God in creation.  An Q&A church works to ensure that when we say ‘all are welcome’, we mean all.”
 
At Woodland Christian Church, we openly affirm all of God’s children, be they rich or poor, black or brown, male or female, gay or straight.  We openly affirm the gifts that all bring to the life of God’s church.  We openly affirm adult relationships of mutual love as sacred because to know love is to know God.  We openly affirm the many forms of family; opposite gender parents and kids, same gender parents and kids, single parents, couples without children, singles, blended families, adopted children, etc.
 
Straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender . . . all means all.  You are a child of God, created and loved by God.  You are welcome at Woodland.
                                                                                                                       Rev. Dalene Vasbinder
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