I have a vision of a church whose worship seeks out all the resources of its members and utilizes all their skills. Where the hymns are sung with zest, perception, and expression, and accompanied by every instrument anyone can play, including hands, and feet and smiles. And where the unfamiliar music of another generation is learned until it is loved.
A church with liturgies that are never mechanical, and spontaneity that is never trivial.
Where the least of its meetings are conducted like royal appointments, and its greatest days are marked with solemn hilarity.
Where organizational efficiency is always at the service of caring love.
Where even poor efforts are done with painstaking diligence, and commended with tolerant hope.
Where brilliance of mind or skill only serves to light up Jesus Christ and His Gospel; where no one can hog the limelight, no one gets too much attention, and no one gets left out.
Of a church where outsiders get as much welcome as old friends; where no one stands alone unless they need to; where the awkward ones are accepted, and the pleasant ones are disturbed by hard realities.
Where the first to hear a complaint is the offender, and the last to air it is the sufferer.
Where peoples’ interests are worldwide, without being worldly, and personal without being petty.
I have a vision of a church which shares an invincible passion for learning and giving, whose life is energized by a glad acceptance of the Cross as a way of life.
Whose self-critical humor puts people at ease, and whose self-denial disturbs and braces them.
Whose sympathies are so warm and imaginative that no one has the nerve to indulge in self-pity; and whose ideals are so high that slightly soiled notions are shamed into silence.
Whose convictions are firm without being rigid; whose tolerance extends even to the intolerant; whose life is an admonition, whose love learns even from its opponents, and whose faith is infectious.
I have a vision of a church that is like that because from time to time it hears its Redeemer’s voice speak with such authority that nothing will do but obedience, nothing matters but God’s love, and others coming in can only wonder, and wish, and ask…
-from the heart and mind of Reverend John Peck, 1978
United Baptist Church
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