Membership

What Does It Mean to be a Member in the Church?

Often, one of the first questions a new person coming into the Church asks is “How do I become a member?” The immediate answer to that question is: “Believe and be baptized” (Act 2:38). Our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, our Baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity, the Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit with which we are marked through the oil of Holy Myrrh — this is how we become members of the Church.

Many of us were baptized in the Orthodox Church when we were very young, through the faith of our parents and sponsors. Some people, for various reasons, were not baptized as children. This was the case in the early Church when adult baptism was very common. It is becoming more common today. Some have been baptized in other Christian churches. If you have not been baptized, the first step in becoming a member of the Church is to study the Christian faith, and to be baptized. If you have been baptized with water in the name of the Holy Trinity by another Christian church, then you need to be received in the Orthodox Church through anointing with the Holy Myrrh. It is through Water and the Spirit (John 3:5) that we become members of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). If you would like to become a member but have not been baptized and chrismated in the Orthodox Church, you should speak with the priest.

The primary sign of our membership is participating in the Divine Liturgy and partaking of the Sacraments. From the very foundation of Christianity, the members of Christ’s Body have gathered every Sunday to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. We must remember that coming together to celebrate the Liturgy is a very powerful witness to those around us.

Membership in the Church carries with it some very serious obligations. God offers us this great grace, and we need to respond. We do this in a variety of ways. We maintain our relationship with God through regular prayer. We feed our spirit with reading of Holy Scriptures and other spiritual writings. We build our character by loving those around us, including our enemies. We show ourselves as faithful children of our Heavenly Father by helping those in need, and sharing that which God has blessed us. In short, we should always keep in our hearts the words of the Lord when he told us, “You are the light of the world. … Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

At the center of our Life in Christ is the Church Herself. The Church is not just another organization in society. She is a Divine-Human institution.

As a Divine institution, the Church is God’s gift to the world. It is in and through the Church that we are nurtured as Christians.

As a Human institution, She has been maintained by faithful men and women for over two thousand years. Now it is our responsibility to preserve and strengthen this treasure for ourselves and for future generations. One of the ways that we do this is by supporting the work of the Church. We do this by volunteering our time, by offering particular talents that we might have, or by financial gifts. Each of these is critical.

The Church receives absolutely no financial assistance from the Canadian or the Romanian governments.

The Church needs people to serve on the Parish Council and other committees, to help with the Sunday School, just to mention a few things. The Church also needs funds with which to simply operate as well as continue Her good work. For this purpose, the Annual General Assembly decided the membership for each adult person at $100 per year. Of this, $25 is sent by the parish to the Archdiocesan Center.

Since this amount does not cover by far the expenses incurred by the church, we encourage each family to make a finacial commitment of $5 per week on top of the annual membership. This means about 70 cents per day, less than a cup of coffee. Of course, some can contribute more. “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion” (II Corinth. 9:7). Please, download and print or pick up the FINANCIAL PLEDGE FORM from the church, fill it in and retun it.

The Church and the Romanian Center of Edmonton have been founded by the descendants of the Romanian Pioneers from Boian with unshaken faith, sustained effort and great finacial sacrifices. It is now our turn to contribute a portion of the blessings given to us by God in order to pass on to the future generation this legacy of unequal value: the Church of Christ, the House of our Salvation!

May the Good Lord richly reward everyone’s love and sacrifice!

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