What Does It Mean to be a Member of MCC North London

The Metropolitan Community Church of North London (MCCNL) takes membership very seriously.  We believe, and our Bylaws state, that each member is a minister.  While the  United Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC)  sets aside clergy ministers to service our churches and works, the rest of us are lay ministers, and are expected to make a covenant commitment as members to engage in active Christian ministry.  We believe that God gives each member at least one of the spiritual gifts and human skills needed to succeed in some ministry in the church. Each member accepts the responsibility to share their gifts and skills with the world through active involvement in the Church.

Becoming a member is a Rite of the Church in UFMCC.  According to Article III, Doctrine, Sacraments and Rites, Section C 2, of the UFMCC Bylaws.  “The Rite of Attaining Membership in the Church shall be conducted by the pastor or pastoral leader before a local congregation at any regular worship service.  In accordance with criteria established by the local church, a baptised Christian may become a member in good standing of the local church group through a letter of transfer from a recognised Christian body or through affirmation of faith.”

Thus, in order to become a member in good standing of a local MCC a person is required to take membership classes.  Usually the membership classes will deal with the local church history, history of the UFMCC, the beliefs and doctrines of the church, and what is required and expected of members.  They may help prospective members to discern their spiritual gifts so that they may be integrated into the church community and ministries.

Notice also that one must be a “baptised Christian” in order to be a member of any MCC.  You may have been baptised as an infant, an adolescent, or an adult in another church.  Some people chose to reaffirm that baptism in UFMCC.  It is not necessary for you to do this, since UFMCC believes that baptism is always valid, regardless of the church in which it was performed.

The reception of new members always happens at a regular worship service of the local church.  This is because we view membership as a commitment to celebrate.  Also membership in MCCNL is membership in a community of faith.  The entire church will want to welcome you into community with them.

UFMCC also views membership as a covenant between the individual believer, God, and the local church.  Much is expected of members in MCCNL.  In fact, four things are looked at each year by the board of directors when reviewing the rolls of members.  The Bylaws say that “Any member who does not have registered attendance, identified financial support, definite service contribution, and demonstrated interest and loyalty within the preceding period of six months to one year may be removed from the roll of members in good standing”.  At MCCNL we expect a person to already be demonstrating these things prior to application for membership.

Registered Attendance

A member is expected to attend church worship services regularly.  This is usually defined as 50% of Sunday services but is dependent on personal circumstances.

Identified Financial Support

This has sometimes caused problems for some people, but it is an important element of one’s covenant commitment to God, the local congregation, and the broader community of faith.  It is also a significant part of how the church is kept fiscally sound.  Your giving is between you and God.  When the board reviews the membership rolls, the treasurer affirms whether or not a particular member has regularly given to the financial life of the church, without specifying any amounts.  Many people have their financial giving identified by making their tithes and offerings by Gift Aid using a Standing Order or offering envelopes for this purpose.

MCCNL teaches and believes in tithing.  Article IX A of the UFMCC Bylaws says, “The UFMCC adopts and teaches tithing as the scripturally affirmed means of supporting the Church and its ministries, and as the expression of good stewardship of time, skills, and money by individuals and church bodies.  Therefore, it shall be the responsibility of both the clergy and the lay leadership of local churches to plan and implement programs of stewardship both to help persons grow in the grace of giving and to fund the Church’s ministries.”

Tithing – giving ten percent of one’s income back to God – is the ancient way God set forth in the Scriptures for us to honour God for all that has been done for us.

Definite Service Contribution

This means our involvement in the life and ministry of the church.  In Article IV, Ministry, the UFMCC Bylaws say, “The UFMCC affirms the universal priesthood of all believers (I Peter 2:5-10).  All members of the Church are called by God to a ministry of the Gospel of Christ in the church and in the world.”

The Bylaws further say in Article IV 1 A that “Laypeople are the People of God, called by God and authorised by Scripture to respond to the Word, serving as Christ served, to the end that the Church may be edified and the world transformed.  The UFMCC affirms that this is the ministry of every layperson in the UFMCC.”

As all members are “ministers” in the “priesthood of all believers,” they are expected to exercise their ministry in some form of “definite service contribution” in the life of the church.  This may mean service on the board, or as a lay delegate; it may mean serving on a worship team; it may be in a particular church ministry; it may be as ushers, serving communion, or reading Scripture during worship; it may be as a member of the choir or music staff; it may mean setting up or breaking down all the service equipment.  But all members are called to ministry.  All are expected to exercise their ministry for the glory of God.  And MCCNL believes that the end result of us all doing our ministries is that “the Church may be edified and the world transformed.”

Demonstrated Interest and Loyalty

This means that members in good standing of the local church will demonstrate their commitment to the church in their daily lives.  They will participate in activities sponsored by the church in addition to Sunday worship.  They will be loyal to the church, not attacking it gratuitously, but speaking truth in love about the church.  They will refrain from deliberate or malicious acts which damage or bring harm to the church.  They will not undermine the authority and ministry of the pastor.  They will support and participate in the vision, mission, and goals of the church.

This does not mean that we will never disagree in MCCNL.  What it does mean is that our disagreements will be characterised by prayer, love, kindness, honesty, and direct dealing.

In addition to these four things the UFMCC Bylaws lift up two other expectations of members in good standing.  The Discipline section of Article VI C, Church Membership, says “The UFMCC cannot condone disloyalty or unbecoming conduct on the part of any of its members; therefore, the Board of Directors of the church is empowered to remove by majority vote any member and friends; therefore, the local church administra­tive body shall develop and implement a procedure for taking appropriate disciplinary action as it deems necessary.”

MCCNL seeks to be a welcoming and affirming place for all people, however during the membership process you will be asked to disclose any criminal convictions.  This is not because we wish to bar you from attending, but to enable the Pastor and Pastoral staff to evaluate how we can support you in your attendance, ensuring that the church is a safe space for all its members.

You don’t have to be a member in order to attend worship services, take Holy Communion, or attend and participate in the many ministries and programs of this church. You are welcome regardless of membership status.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a member of MCC North London and when membership classes are taking place then please send an  email to pastor@mccnorthlondon or telephone 0844 335 0507 and leave a message with your contact details.