What do you mean “God is Still Speaking?”
Here at Ankeny UCC, we’re constantly looking for what God said to people in olden times and trying to understand what it says to us today. It means that we want to find what God means by justice and mercy and love in today’s society as much as in the cultures of the past. It means we know we’re always on a journey, finding new understandings of how to be a follower of Jesus Christ and how that changes our lives. It’s also one of the mottos of our denomination, the United Church of Christ (the other one is “That they may all be one,” reflecting our call to not only be a united church, but also a uniting church).
So, United Church of Christ. What’s that?
The United Church of Christ (emphasis on United Church) is a united church incorporating traditions from 17th century New England, 19th century Pennsylvania, Missouri, and the Carolinas, and 20th-21st century modern theologians. It’s a tradition emphasizing the accountability to one’s conscience and to God rather than church authority. This led UCC churches to be in the vanguard for church leadership by african-americans and women, abolition, social justice, women’s rights, civil rights, and LGBTQ rights, even while the structures of the church continued to discern what this all meant. You know, living the questions. You can learn more at http://www.ucc.org
Okay. Sounds good. But I don’t have anything to wear.
Well, unless you mean that literally (in which case, just call ahead), that’s fine. Come as you are. Some folks are in suits, some folks are in jeans, some folks are in dresses and others are in shorts. At least when it’s warm. Don’t be afraid. We’re all seeking together.
Also, I can’t sing.
That’s okay. That’s never stopped us from trying, and it shouldn’t stop you, either. While we have hymnals and occasionally use a projector, it’s always a firm mix of people who can read music and people who follow Dumbledore’s advice to pick any key and sing with gusto.
And my kids have a short attention span.
Can they read? Or light candles? We’d love to have them help lead worship while they are here. Worship is something we do, not just attend. And if it’s a bit much for them, we have some great stairs between the balcony and the main floor of the sanctuary to hide on while coloring from our coloring books, doing the puzzles on the children’s bulletin, or waiting for Pastor Nathan’s children’s message. For pre-k kids, we also have nursery care available if that’s something that makes you or them more comfortable and able to be present.
Wait, you just let kids wander around the Sanctuary?
Sure. It’s their church, too. It’s one of the blessings of being a small church, to be able to incorporate the different needs of different generations (so we do encourage courtesy toward those who might have difficulty hearing). Sitting in one place for an hour is hard (even with our rainbow pillows). It’s a traditional worship style, but we like spontaneity. As we said above, we also invite kids to lead prayers, read scripture, light candles, and collect the offering.
Wait! What about Christian Education?
I’m glad you asked. You can read about it on our Christian Education tab, but we have pre-k through sixth grade Sunday School, an adult class that discusses faith questions that come up with kids, and mission quilting on Sunday mornings at 9:15, and seasonal Bible and Book studies.
Are you sure I’m welcome?
May 20, 2018, we entered into this covenant by unanimous vote:
You are a valued part of the family of God just as you are. We at Ankeny United Church of Christ celebrate the diversity our Creator has given all people. Our community is incomplete and broken when our siblings in Christ are excluded because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability, mental ability, race, age, nationality, faith background, relationship status, family structure, economic situation, or any of the numerous other aspects of identity that make us each who we are. Your differences make you unique and should be celebrated in God’s family. You are wonderfully and purposefully made in the image of our Creator, and you have a place here in fellowship with other members of God’s Church. This is a place where you can praise, question, worship, laugh, mourn, doubt, wonder, celebrate, and otherwise live as part of a community with other people seeking God and loving their neighbors.
We the members of Ankeny UCC promise to affirm your worth as an individual and your place in our community. You are joyously welcomed to join us just as you are.
Sounds great. But I don’t do stairs.
No worries! Our building was built in 1993 and is totally accessible! Except for the balcony.
I have more questions.
So do we. But you can send us email at [email protected] or [email protected] if you want to start talking about them. Or call, 515-964-4647. We’re usually there in the mornings, and are out and about in the afternoons.