Who We Are
We are a vital and highly committed community. We have 48 members plus 19 involved participants and have an average of 35 in attendance on any given Sunday. We worship at 4:00pm in a dedicated space located at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul in Burlington. About 80% of us attend worship at least 3x/month. In our worship service we use contemporary readings to enhance scripture, and, toward the end of the service, we gather around the Communion Table in a circle to share our Prayers of Joys and Concerns and to partake in weekly communion. We are an aging community where the majority of our members and participants are retired. The strength of this is the time we have available to devote to CCP activities outside of attending worship. This keeps us energetic, engaged, and young at heart. We have a committed cadre of lay leaders; a few have been trained to lead worship in the pastor’s absence. Many of us attend adult study groups that are led by members and participants. We have not attracted young families in recent years, and currently have 2 children in our Christian Nurture program.
CCP has a unique and active Deacon group deeply committed to supporting one another. Each Deacon has a group of members/participants called a “flock.” The Deacon is responsible to pay special attention to the needs of flock members, including facilitation of rides to medical appointments, meals for those who are sick or injured, help with household moves, and providing communion to the homebound. During worship Circle Time, we attend to the prayers of Joys and Concerns that are shared and coordinate the communication of those through email. Deacons also maintain an email Prayer Chain and provide prayer shawls in times of need. Another way our community supports each other is through social gatherings. These include monthly parish potlucks which take place in our homes, Friday night movie potlucks at CCP, and other activities.
In our worship and study, we are seekers and theologically progressive. We are followers of Jesus. We value intellectually stimulating preaching that embraces our progressive theology and spiritual needs to help us to grow and love more fully. Our experience of worship and fellowship gives every person a sense of belonging, and each can say, “I am seen, known, held, and loved. This is my home.” We are members of Progressive Christianity.org. In the 1990s, our lay-led book studies focused on reading the works of progressive Christian writers in order to better define what each of us had come to believe as the meaning of calling ourselves “progressive.” In 2006 we created our Statement of Faith, which reflected our evolving theology at that time. In more recent years our adult studies have shifted toward a focus on how our beliefs can be put into social action. The themes of our studies include the relationship between religion and politics, environmental issues, and social justice. Examples of recent works that we have read and discussed include Strangers in Their Own Land by Russell Hochshild, Them by Ben Sasse, Falter by Bill McKibben, Deer Hunting with Jesus by Joe Bageant, and Blowout by Rachel Maddow. We seek to understand our contribution to both the dialogue and the solutions. Though we are not growing larger, we are growing deeper.
Our faith calls us to service. By this we mean that we are committed to be truly inclusive, to put our faith into service and mission, and to support each other within our church community. We have been a More Light Church for many years, and fought hard within the Presbyterian polity to allow gays and lesbians to become ordained ministers and have lay leadership positions within the church. Following the example of Jesus, we invite everyone to share our communion with us. In January of this year we accepted the invitation from the National Presbyterian Church USA to identify ourselves as a “Matthew 25” church, which calls us to commit to “building congregational vitality”, “dismantling structural racism”, and “eradicating systemic poverty.” Our current transitional pastor is keeping track and reporting how we are living out being a Matthew 25 church.
We give generously of our financial resources and of our time. We are unique in that our mission-giving rate is approximately double the rate of most other churches our size. This reflects the priority our church places on mission. Examples of our missions include the Joint Urban Ministry Project (JUMP), Mercy Connections, Vermont Interfaith Action (VIA), Vermont Interfaith Power and Light (VTIPL), Immigration Support, TeacHaiti, Open Door Clinic, and Northern Lights.
We also consider as missions the individual passion-led activities of our members, and we encourage and support their efforts. Examples include Savvy Seniors (a theatrical scam avoidance education program), Hospice Choir, meditation groups, mentoring programs, and senior exercise and spirituality classes.
The Minister We Want to Find
We are seeking a part-time pastor who is engaging, outgoing and energetic. Responsibilities will include leading worship, providing pastoral care, guiding and encouraging our missions, and supporting our Vision to be a Beloved Community.
We are seeking a worship leader who is comfortable with non-traditional liturgy and takes contemporary biblical scholarship seriously. This person will share the weekly worship planning with a team of lay leaders to create a service that inspires us to keep a Ministry of Presence in our daily lives and gives us spiritual nourishment for our life journeys. This Pastor embraces our desire to welcome all different faith journeys in our worship, recognizing and celebrating the many ways we meet God–however we perceive God– and recognizing that we grow and are deepened by sharing the perspectives and beliefs of others.
We are seeking a pastor who is a compassionate and gifted counselor, willing and able to meet the needs of an aging congregation. This includes being comfortable with supporting people through life transitions, grief, and loss. This pastor will support the Deacons in their role and lead the community in its intention to provide pastoral care to each other and to our neighbors.
We are seeking a pastor who will enthusiastically consult and support the leaders of our adult study groups and participate whenever possible. This person will also consult with our Christian Nurture volunteers to provide meaningful Christian Education to our youth.
We are seeking a pastor who energizes and motivates our members in their active involvement with ongoing and new missions. This pastor provides leadership in furthering our Vision to be a Beloved Community and in our efforts to be a “Matthew 25” church. Our pastor will be the face of CCP in the community. This person will interact with other churches, attend community meetings, and communicate effectively.