Belonging to a church comes in various forms and ways! From the start, we want to say that if you wish to participate and be involved in Growing Life-Long Disciples of Christ at The Gap Uniting Church (in the way and level you are comfortable) you are truly welcome and you are a part of our congregational community.
There are various forms of official ‘membership’ as defined in the regulations of the Uniting Church in Australia. They are important as they create and define our processes and procedures to enable good governance, care and stewardship for all those involved in the life and ministry of the church. They also allow us opportunities to consider our levels of involvement and participation within our own congregation and to further reflect on our commitment and participation in a life of faith as followers of Jesus, and in the life of this particular congregation.
After reading this information, you decide that:
- you ‘fit’ into a category of membership already and that The Gap Uniting Church already knows this
- you ‘fit’ into a category of membership but haven’t yet transferred your membership or had your membership status recognised by our Church Council. Please speak to one of our Ministry Agents or a Care Team Representative to help talk you through the appropriate steps
- You would like to learn more about a category of membership and perhaps consider taking steps to become a member
- You are happy to remain in the Adherent category (think of it as being a regular attendee and contributor to The Gap Uniting Church)
A few important terms to know before reading more:
- Member: is a term used in the Uniting Church to mean a specific type of member (such as Baptised, Confirmed or Member-in-Association).
- Adherent: describes a person who participates in the worship life and life of the church but who is not a member (according to the following definitions), or who has not transferred their membership to The Gap Uniting Church.
- At The Gap Uniting Church, regardless of your ‘membership status’ all are welcome to participate in Communion and be involved with the day-to-day activities of our congregation
What is a Baptised Member?
This is a person (irrespective of age) who has been baptised but not yet confirmed and whose membership is listed and recognised at The Gap Uniting Chuch. This includes those baptised here, those who were baptised elsewhere whose membership has been transferred to The Gap UC and those who have had their membership status recognised by our Church Council. Baptism is an important sacrament of the Christian Faith. It is a sign of God’s grace – a gift to us – and our acceptance and recognition of not only the freely-given gift, but of our responsibility to accept it.
What is a Confirmed Member?
This is a person who has been confirmed and whose membership is listed and recognised at The Gap Uniting Church. This includes those confirmed here, those who were confirmed elsewhere whose membership had been transferred or those who have had their membership status recognised by our Church Council (such as adult baptism in another denomination). Confirmation within the Uniting Church is a personal reaffirmation of baptism and is often currently used as an opportunity for teenagers or adults to make a public confession of the faith into which they have previously been baptised.
The rite of Confirmation within the Uniting Church makes opportunity for those participating to make: “acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, determination to follow him in daily life, intention to participate actively in the fellowship of the Church and to support its work and resolution to seek the extension of the reign of God in human society.”
What is a Member-in-Association?
This is a person who has applied to, and received recognition from the Church Council as a person who is a member of another Christian denomination but not actively engaged in the life of that denomination and participates in the corporate life of The Gap Uniting Church or participates actively in the life of two Uniting Church congregations and is a confirmed member of the other congregation as well.
What does this all mean for church structure and procedures?
Under the current Uniting Church regulations, only those who are confirmed members or members in associated are able to vote at congregational meeting (budgets, elections, calling of new ministers, approving building projects) and are able to be an Elder or Church Councillor. Only those who are confirmed or in-association can be a representative at Presbytery (regional), Synod (state) or Assembly (national) meetings or can candidate (steps to become a minister within the Uniting Church).