|Community Presbyterian Church|
|Ringwood, NJ 07456|
|HOME :: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS|
Membership in a Presbyterian Church is about both belonging and serving. Under the sweet Grace of Christ, an individual vows to live amongst the privileges, responsibilities and benefits of a living human community, a journey that transforms a house into this sweet imperfect home. The Christian also vows to serve God's people both in this church and into this larger world full of need, to keep the lights on here at the Community Presbyterian Church and to provide help, hope, and home for others. If you are interested in committing to belong and serve here, please see Ben.
There are several places to look for postings or information. Check the weekly bulletin handed to you as you enter church. If you are on the mailing list, you will receive a monthly newsletter called the "Grapevine". If you want to receive it and are not, you may either tell an elder or leave your name and address in the church office. There is also a Kiosk in Fellowship Hall, which will often have sign up sheets or notices. There is a bulletin board in "Uncle Otto's Cozy Corner", and if all else fails, check the church website at www.communitypc.org or call the office at (973) 962-7431.
There are three services throughout the school calendar year. Saturday night service is more contemporary, often with a live band, meeting at 5:30pm. Sunday morning services are held at 9:00 and 10:30am. The first is somewhat more casual but the same elements as the later service, when the Adult Choir sings and/or the Handbell Choir performs. Communion is offered either "by intinction", when the bread and wine are placed at the front of the sanctuary to be taken there, or otherwise passed by the elders through the congregation in trays. Summer worship hours are different with only one Sunday morning service, and continuing Saturday night services.
Depending on the age of the child, there are various programs to engage children including Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, Youth Groups, Orff instruments, Children's Choir, Youth Choir, Children's Chimes and Youth Handbells. Please see the more complete program listing for a full description.
The nursery is a supervised playroom for infants and children under three years of age to offer parents the opportunity to attend services without distraction. Of course, if you prefer, you may keep your child with you in the sanctuary. Another alternative is to view the service "live" from Fellowship Hall on the large screen TV with your child where he or she may be more comfortable than in the sanctuary. Children ages 3 and older are welcome to attend church school class during the service.
Our church is dedicated to serving three main mission projects. Our local mission includes the Center for Food Action and Mar-Del Manor. Our national mission includes Habitat for Humanity and the Heifer Project. Our international mission serves Chidamoyo Christian Hospital in Zimbabwe, Africa.
The session consists of the pastor and the elders in active service of our church. All members of the session, including the pastor, are entitled to vote. The session is responsible for the mission and government of our church. Elders are asked to serve a term of three years and can serve two consecutive terms. The congregation votes at the annual membership meeting in February whether to accept nominations presented by the nominating committee. The elders serving on session usually have a leadership role in one (or more) of the committees or programs.
Normally one or both of the parents must be a member of a Presbyterian Church in order to have their child baptized. Because we interpret baptism as an act of God's inclusive grace, exceptions can and are made. An appointment should be made with the pastor for baptism arrangements.
Presbyterians have two central themes in common with other forms of Christian expressions of religion:
a) a core belief in God as revealed through Jesus Christ
b) an attempt to live as Christians as led by the Holy Spirit.
What might be different from some expressions of Christian religion, (but similar to others as well) may be two main areas:
a) Theology -
i) We emphasize God's love and saving grace as expressed through Jesus more than we emphasize condemnation and God's judgment.
ii) We celebrate two sacraments - baptism and communion. We believe that both are symbols of grace, infused by the Holy Spirit and have the potential to be a "teachable moment" between God and humankind. Communion is open to any person seeking to love, serve, or struggle with Christ and is more than welcome to His table. Baptism, we believe, is a 3-way action. It is a symbol of what God does through love; the parents vow to raise their child in the Christian faith; the congregation vows on behalf of the Christian church at large to form a community which nurtures the child.
b) Church government structure -
The Presbyterian Church is governed by a representational democracy. There are no popes or bishops. The word "Presbyterian" is Greek for "elders". Power in the church is spread between clergy and the elders who are elected from the congregation. It is a system of checks and balances. In the Presbyterian Church, dissent (versus consent) is not only tolerated, but honored. Our first principle is "God alone is Lord of the conscience." We believe that the Holy Spirit speaks to us through Scripture, but The Bible was written by human beings.
Generally, the church's operating expenses are supported solely by donations from the congregation. Once you become a member, you are asked to pledge what you plan on donating, either weekly, monthly or annually. You decide what you can donate, but generally, members are asked to pledge 1-5% of gross annual household income. Pledge envelopes are provided for each member family. Included in the box of envelopes is a "per capita" envelope which goes for the fee our church is charged for each member. The church will pay this out of its' operating funds unless it is submitted by the member.
We'd love to have your ideas, time, effort, enthusiasm, or whatever you think you might do to serve God's Church and His people. First, pray about where God might be leading you. Sometimes your answer finds you. Otherwise, look on the program/committee listing. Maybe there is an area in which you have experience, or perhaps just a budding interest. Contact the program/committee chairperson and chances are, they could use the help. There may also be an area that is not already organized and could use a "champion". Great! Feel free talk to Ben or an elder for some resources.
The services are taped on video and DVD and are available to borrow from the church office. They are dated for easy reference. Also, you may listen to the service on-line and select the one you missed, or see one again. The website is www.communitypc.org. Also, generally either one of the Sunday morning services is broadcast on the local cable channel on Wednesdays and Saturday nights. Check your local listings and channel guide.
Yes, the coffee hour spread is unusual but there is a history and a reason. Although coffee hour itself was a tradition started many years ago, it was several years ago that it became the spread it is today. There was a church family who dedicated their Saturdays preparing for the coffee hour, baking homemade breads, cookies and other items for serving at both Sunday services. They did this weekly for several years before the family moved to New Hampshire. This family was the Pine family. They believed this was one of their "ministries" and would provide the congregation with some incentive to hang around after church and connect with fellow Christians. In our busy schedules, few people have or make time for Christian fellowship. After they moved, the church agreed that it was so important, they wanted to continue in the tradition the Pines' set. There is a sign up sheet, with instructions, for each family to take a turn "hosting" coffee hour. If every family took a turn, it would be less than once every two years before anyone would need to host again.