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Become a Member
It’s exciting to know you may be interested in becoming a member! It is an important commitment to our community of faith.
Here is what you need to do:
- Let us know you are interested
- Attend the Exploring Membership Class- offered twice a year, Fall and Spring
- Be received by the FPCH Session and recognized by the FPCH Congregation
Step 1: Let us know you are interested
Email Tom Hartshorn at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323.463.7161 x 223
Step 2: Attend the New Members’ Class
This two day class introduces participants to what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and explores who we are as a church community.
Friday – Informal dinner together at a pastor’s home.
Saturday – Learning together about the following topics:
- What it means to be a follower of Jesus
- What it means to be Reformed and Presbyterian
- What it means to be a member
- A bit about the history of our church, our church culture, and where God seems to be leading us in the future
- What it means to worship God, learn about Him, and serve Him
- What you can do to make a difference
There is no obligation to become a member at the end of the class. We want you to feel free to use this class as an opportunity to explore. Our pastors, some of our staff & other members will help guide you along this process of becoming a member, allowing many opportunities to ask as many questions as you like.
Step 3: Be Received by the FPCH Session & Recognized by FPCH Congregation
The Session (leaders of the church) welcomes new members after the completion of the New Members Class. In addition, new members are recognized by the congregation during worship in the Sanctuary. The Sacrament of Baptism, if desired, is administered during this time.
Arrange a Baptism
We’re excited you want to be baptized!
One of the first steps in planning a baptism will be to contact one of our Deacons to make an appointment to visit and talk with the Head Pastor.
Contact a Deacon at email@example.com
Below is some important information and answer to frequently asked questions:
Baptism is a Sacrament
In our tradition, we celebrate two sacraments. It is a word rich in meaning- mystery, sacred, holy. The Lord’s Supper and baptism are rooted in God’s presence and actions and connected to things Jesus actually encountered. He was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, and he initiated the supper in his name.
Forms of Baptism
At FPCH we baptize infants, as a large portion of the worldwide church does. We also baptize young people or adults who were not baptized as children when they are ready to declare faith in Christ. We can also make room for infant dedications for those families who want to let their kids wait to choose for themselves. A dedication is what it sounds like—a prayer committing a child into God’s hands.
Meaning of Baptism
Baptism has many meaningful touch points. Baptism is not the same as salvation, but it is very, very important. With infants, it emphasized God’s grace primarily. We do not celebrate the faith of an infant, nor even the faith of the parents—even as important as that is. Instead, we celebrate God’s faithfulness, even when we were not ready or open. Grace is a gift, not a right or privilege. With adult baptism, there is the added meaning of human free will and the need for us to choose to follow Christ.
Baptism is not a destination or an ending, but the beginning of a lifelong journey. We are baptized into Christ and into Christ’s church. It is the establishment of our primary identity: people who belong to Christ. Baptism enacts and seals in us through the Holy Spirit the good news of the gospel of grace.
In our tradition, we only baptize people once. A person baptized as an infant will grow up and still need to choose to follow Jesus for themselves, whether at age 8, 18, or 80. At that time, we make opportunity for their public proclamation of faith in a variety of ways, but we don’t re-baptize. Rather, we think of living into that early baptismal identity and we celebrate the steps of faith taken along the way. The church’s leaders (elders) approve all baptisms.
The Right Time
Parents who are either official members or regularly involved for roughly six months or more and consider FPCH their faith community can present children for baptism. At least one parent must be a professing Christian. The same rough timeline applies to adult baptisms. Baptism is always celebrated during worship services, sometimes at the front of the church and other times on the rose garden lawn. Speaking to the Director of Children’s and Family Ministries is the right first step for parents, and contacting a pastor is best for adult baptism questions.
Who is Involved?
Parents when appropriate, the congregation through prayer and promises, and sometimes a family member(s) or friends. Our tradition does not use the language of “godparents,” but rather “sponsors” who stand up with the family. These 2 to 4 people should be those who will be important in the faith life of the child going forward.