Membership at New Hope

An Introduction and Overview of our community

Who are we?

New Hope Community Church is a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, and multi-traditional faith community that is receiving and sharing the love of Jesus with one another and our community. As a church body, we are committed to the orthodox Christian belief that we are to be messengers holding forth God’s offer of love and pardon and that it is our call to be God’s instruments living out this message in lives of loving sacrifice to our neighbours. We are to be channels through whom God’s gracious Spirit flows in blessing to the community and to the world.

What are New Hope’s roots?

New Hope Community Church began in 1913 when then Bishop, Lloyd Eby, saw a need for a church in the city of Toronto. It began with a Sunday School in a store on the west side of Dufferin Street just north of Eversfield.  They moved to the present location in 1916, and completed the building in 1919. For many years the church was known as Bloem Ave United  Brethren Church. In 1977, the church merged with the Silverthorn congregation and became Toronto United Brethren Church. In 2001, it was renamed New Hope Community Church to to reflect the desire to offer New Hope in Christ to the community.

What are the church’s values?

Passion for God

Our first priority is to know God through Jesus Christ and to love God with our whole life.

Transformation for All

We are eager to share the Good News of Christ because it opens the door for all to experience the transforming love and power of God.  Jesus’ invitation is for everyone.

Love for Neighbours

In a world where many are disadvantaged, we intentionally come alongside the hurting and the marginalized at home and abroad, sharing help and hope.

God’s Word for Direction
The Bible continues to be the world’s best-seller because, like no other book, it reveals God’s thoughts.  Prayerfully exploring its pages, we learn how to think and live in the 21st century.

Unity in Diversity

We seek a middle ground on issues where equally devout Christians have understood God’s Word differently.  We reach out to partner with all who are centered upon Jesus Christ.

What are some of the church’s unique qualities/practices and perspectives?

  • affirmation of both women and men in leadership and ministry
  • blending of various streams of spiritual traditions
  • charismatic sensitivity

What are the traditions practiced in the life and worship of the church?

At its core, New Hope is biblically rooted, Christ-centered, and Spirit-filled. We are affiliated with the United Brethren Church in Canada. Various streams of spirituality in the Christian faith are respected, drawn upon and practiced in our life of worship, prayer, devotion and ministry. These include the contemplative (prayer-filled life), holiness (virtuous life), charismatic (Spirit-empowered life), social justice (the compassionate life), evangelical (Word-centered life), and incarnational (sacramental life) traditions.

How is leadership exercised and how are decisions made?
The United Brethren-in-Christ book of Disciplines describes the authority structures and processes of the church as well as the various responsibilities of the management team, pastors and the congregation. The management team, pastors and the congregation all have roles in making decisions. The management team and pastors are responsible for the spiritual leadership of the community. Members of the church are encouraged to participate in all congregational decisions.

Where does the idea of membership come from?
Membership as an idea is rooted in the Apostle Paul’s notion that Christians are incorporated by virtue of their baptism and profession of faith into the body of Christ, which is the Church (Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:12-31; Eph. 4:1-13). Each Christian is therefore considered to be a part (or member) of the spiritual body whose head is Jesus Christ. In light of this, each person belonging to and involved in a local Christian church is already a member by virtue of his or her faith in Jesus.  Christians in a local church who take the formal step of becoming a member of that community are actually already members in a spiritual sense.

 Why have formal acts of becoming a member? 
The entire Christian life is one that is lived out of the prior spiritual reality of what Christ has accomplished for us. In Christ there is a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) and as Christians we are called to live ever more fully into this new reality. The spiritual reality of our membership in the body of Christ continually calls out for more complete and expressive embodiment in our lives, which takes the form of formal church membership and responsible involvement in the life of the local church.

 What are the basic requirements for becoming a member?
Membership is not something that is just for the “spiritual elite” or those who have “made it” as Christians. Rather, membership is for everyone who considers New Hope Community Church to be his or her church home and regular worshipping community. The basic requirements of membership are baptism (or willingness to be baptized as soon as possible), public profession of faith in and obedience to Jesus Christ, and commitment to the body of Christ as it occurs in and through the people, ministry and mission of New Hope.

What are the key benefits of becoming a member? The Church community provides its members with a sense of belonging in the context of spiritual friendship. Being a member means you receive the benefit of the community’s love, support and care. Belonging to the church means that you believe that these people are your people, a household of faith given to you as a gift from God for your spiritual strengthening and well-being.

 What are the expectations of members?

Commitment to membership is demonstrated through a depth of seriousness and effort with respect to the life and ministry of the community. Members make their lives together a priority through active participation in the worship, ministry, fellowship and mission of the church. Members are encouraged to share their personal, financial, and relational resources along with their spiritual gifts as ongoing expressions of their love for God and commitment to their fellowship in His Church. While there are normal community expectations surrounding participation in key activities, services, meetings and events that are part of the ongoing life of the church, members are encouraged to participate, but not coerced. The community respects the role of personal discernment and the exercise of responsible choice in these matters. A true sense of commitment, not a list of expectations governs our life together.

 Does New Hope have a set of beliefs that provide a rule of faith for members of the community?
New Hope’s official statement of faith is the United Brethren in Christ’s statement of faith which has been used since 1789. It can be viewed on the United Brethren in Christ Canada website or obtained by asking one of the leadership team. While seemingly dated, this statement is orthodox, biblical and Christ-centered.

 Are members of New Hope expected to believe in exactly the same way?

While there is a standard of faith that comes through the community’s sources of faith (mentioned above) there is latitude in how that faith is practiced. We recognize and celebrate the fact that there are various perspectives and some differences of conviction, which exist within the historic Christian faith.

In all things essential, unity; In doubtful, liberty;

In all things, charity.

 How does one become a member?

For those who have been previously baptized and made a confession of faith, the membership process will usually take the following form:

  1. Through participation in a membership class, potential members will have the opportunity to: explore what it means to become a member of New Hope Community Church; to become further acquainted with the story and traditions of New Hope; and to examine the responsibilities and expectations of members.
  2. Those interested in becoming members can fill out the application form stating their desire.
  3. Potential members will have the opportunity to affirm their desire for membership and receive affirmation from representatives of the management team.
  4. Confirmation/Celebration. In the context of a formal worship service candidates will be asked to profess their faith in Jesus Christ and to express their commitment to His body as found at New Hope Community Church. This also provides the congregation with the opportunity to pledge their support and celebrate the addition of the newest members.

The membership process may take a slightly different and more elongated form for new believers and those who have not yet received baptism.

membership-application-form

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