“When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream…”
Hope, in this case is not flimsy or fragile but our dreams built on faith. So, with expectation we imagine what God will do through us. This is the future towards which we work and pray.
A church of Worship where singing, sacraments, heartfelt prayer, laughter and sadness each reflect and point to the heart of God. We bow together in confession and lift our eyes in hope as words of grace penetrate the layers and touch the heart. The ancient Christian gospel rings with divine life and contemporary significance deepening faith and planting it new. So with our mind, emotions and will we respond to the beauty of God in Jesus Christ. And, through lives energized by the Holy Spirit, we orient all that we are to reflect his worth.
A church of Connection where the indicators of wealth, poverty, education, ethnicity, stage of life, and race do not separate but display the power of Jesus to unite diverse people through a common faith. We linger in conversation, eat in each other’s homes, celebrate the successes, and walk through the tragic as we pursue authentic community. Through our Christian friendship we better know our savior and embody his counter-cultural ethics in Mirroring God’s hospitality and pursuit of us we build a community that welcomes those who do not believe. In this context of connection to the church the unconvinced experience the goodness and truth of Christ with many embracing the savior at the center of this community.
A church of Depth where Christian spirituality is not a religious makeover that better hides the disfigurement of sin, but a place of transformation. The deformed become beautiful, the anxious find rest, the fractured become whole, the addicted are freed and the selfish become generous through inner renewal by the Holy Spirit and the cumulative effect of worship, prayer, study, connection, service, and suffering. This deepening Christian spirituality functions as the launching point for witness and service as faith is integrated with all of life, renewing our work, recreation, relationships and engagement with culture.
A church of Service where our unique abilities and the God given opportunities converge in tangible expressions of care. We bring meals to a neighbor, listen to the despondent friend, pray with a hospice patient, help immigrants navigate social services, tutor students, and mentor in job skills. Instead of demeaning those in need through blame or sentimentalism, our expressions of God’s sacrificial love are marked by respect and compassion. Beyond our service to individuals we also engage complex structural issues like poverty, discrimination, education, economic development and crime through the thoughtful and skilled response of Christians in these fields. Rather than separate “secular” work from the life of faith we equip and encourage Christians towards excellence, creativity, and distinctiveness in their vocations.
A city thriving where the renewal and multiplication of churches positively influences the lives of citizens, the corporate identity of Worcester and the structures of the city. While such change is beyond our strength, we work for the good of city and hope for something only God can do. We dream of relational wholeness in marriage and singleness. Children thrive, the elderly are valued, and college students build cross generational friendship. Poverty, crime, and discrimination decrease without simply relocating, segregating or incarcerating those on the margins. Worcester is marked by sustainable economic development, continued partnerships in education, and increasing political cooperation. A growing and diverse urban population strengthens city neighborhoods furthering cultural development. Instead of envying and resenting Boston, Worcester finds contentment in its own identity as an unique city at the heart of Massachusetts connecting New England.