How To Become a Member
The process for becoming a member of All Saints Episcopal Church depends on a person’s individual circumstances. It is actually not very difficult. The following is a description of how to become a member of this church and the different levels of membership established by the canons (church laws) of the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Louisiana.
Persons who have never received the sacrament of baptism will first need to schedule a baptism with the Priest in Charge. For an explanation of baptism, click Baptism at All Saints.
Persons who have already received the sacrament of baptism can become members of All Saints Episcopal Church in one of two ways. If they have previously been members of another Episcopal Church, they should request that their prior church initiate a transfer of membership to All Saints. The Priest in Charge can assist with this if necessary. If they have not previously been a member of another Episcopal Church they can simply fill out a short form and request that the date and place of their baptism be recorded in the Church Register. Simple as that. Baptisms done with water in the Name of the Trinity in any Christian denomination are recognized and not repeated in the Episcopal Church.
Once a member, a person remains a member until they die or transfer. Their status may be changed to inactive if and when they no longer attend church, but they remain a member nonetheless.
Adult members are members 16 years of age and over. It is expected that all adult members, after appropriate instruction, will eventually make a mature public affirmation of their faith and commitment to the responsibilities of their baptism, and will be confirmed or received by a bishop of the church. The Priest in Charge will arrange for instruction and schedule confirmations and receptions with a bishop. This will usually
occur at the time of our diocesan bishop’s visitation to All Saints. For a detailed explanation of confirmation and reception, click Confirmation at All Saints.
Communicants are members of the church who have received Holy Communion at least 3 times in the preceding calendar year.
Communicants in good standing are communicants of the church who are faithful in corporate worship unless for good cause prevented, and in working, praying, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God.
Qualified voters at an annual meeting of the Mission are communicants in good standing, at least 16 years of age, who have been contributors of record toward the operating budget of the Mission during the six months preceding the meeting.
A member is eligible to serve on the Mission Committee, the governing body of the church, if they are a confirmed communicant in good standing at least 18 years of age and are entitled to vote at the annual meeting at which they are elected
Now that you know about how to become a member of the church read further about why you should want to be a member and fully participate in the fellowship of the church.
Why Become a Member
Persons often say that they are spiritual, but not religious. What they
probably mean by that is that have a belief in God and they may even know
Jesus, but their attitude is that churches just have too many people to deal
with; they would rather just be spiritual on their own. They will usually say
something like they feel closest to God when they are off by themselves,
close to nature.
So we might ask, why can’t we do that? Why not just practice our own
spirituality in our own way and not be bothered by having to deal with the
church and its members. Maybe attend a church every now and then when
we feel like making a connection or receiving a sacrament. Maybe just
show up on Easter and/or Christmas.
Well, the simple answer is yes, we can do that. However, the faith we will be
practicing is not Christianity. Jesus taught that faith is not a private matter.
Spirituality is not something we do individually. Our faith is not something
we can go off and enjoy by ourselves all alone, sitting by a stream or
walking in the woods. Now such times of private devotion can feed our
faith, but our life in Christ happens when we are gathered together, even
just two or three together. That is when Jesus said he would be with his
disciples. Not when they are off alone and feeling holy.
And it is really easier sometimes to feel holy when there is no one else
around. That is because life in a Christian community is not always easy.
We are humans after all. And humans fail. From time to time we fall out of
love with God and each other.
When Jesus began his ministry in the world, the first thing he did was to
call disciples and form a community. And that is his gift that has come
down to us today, the gift of community, where we meet brothers and
sisters, heart to heart, spirit to spirit, and face to face. It is that place where
we know God and are known by God, the love at the center of the
community, a life-giving, sacrificial, persistent love that calls us to reach
beyond ourselves, to realize we are connected, woven together into one
body, the family of God.
To become a member of the church is an outward and visible sign of your
intention to be a part of the community that Christ established and to be an integral part of the body of Christ in the world.
When persons become members of All Saints Episcopal Church we
observe a short welcoming liturgy wherein the new members promise to be
faithful to the new community; to challenge the community to become the best version of itself and to live up to what the community says it believes;
and to allow themselves to be changed, shaped, and transformed by the
community as they live into their called identity as a beloved child of God.
The congregation then makes the same promises to the new members. By
so doing, the entire community expresses the hope that together all may
live in the Spirit, build one another up in love, sharing in the life and worship of the church, and serving the world for the sake of Jesus Christ.