Truth 1: We are a worshipping church.
We share communion. We baptize our children. We pray together. We sing together. We share our joys and concerns. The sanctuary is our shared space. In this space, as we worship together, we are transformed from strangers into brothers and sisters. What binds us to one another is not that we think the same things or make the same choices. It is the yearning to open our hearts to God.
Truth 2: We are an informal church.
In a world in which you have to decide what you’re going to take seriously, we care about and love the guy in a Blackhawks sweater and the woman struggling with Alzheimer’s and the child in the toucan costume at the Christmas pageant more than we care about how things look.
Truth 3: We are a thinking church.
This is a church in which we believe God gave us a brain with the hope and expectation that we would use it. This is not a sanctuary where folks hang up their coats and their minds before entering.
Truth 4: We are a learning church.
Real thinkers share one common insight: the more we learn, the more questions we have. We are deeply committed to educating our children and our youth.
Truth 5: We are a diverse church.
Many of us come from Lake Bluff. Yet, in increasing numbers, we are from any number of surrounding communities. The roots of this church are Protestant, but quite a few of us grew up Catholic. Quite a few of us grew up in no church at all. A number of our families blend religious backgrounds: Jewish and Christian, Muslim and Christian. We have folks regularly reading our sermons in Holland, England, Germany, Russia, China and Brazil, among other places.
Some of us are white-collared managers and executives. Some of us are craftsmen and women. And the work some of us are currently pursuing is simply finding a job. Still others of us are more or less retired. We are conservative and moderate and liberal in our politics. We are affluent and middle-class and struggling mightily.
Truth 6: We are an eating church.
Not unlike the family that sits down at the dinner table, when our church family sits down to eat together, we remember just how much we enjoy each other’s company.
Truth 7: We are a member-driven church.
Here’s the bottom line on how this church runs: aside from what the pastors preach and the baptisms and weddings they perform, everything in this church is up to its members. Members run all the meetings. Pastors do not moderate or vote. Things happen in this church as a result of folks working on committees and reporting to boards and taking action at congregational meetings. Every member gets one vote and every vote counts equally.
Truth 8: We are a changing church.
Our job is, and has always been, to carry the essential principles of who we are into each era and to discover the unique challenges and opportunities that are there for us as a church in being the Union Church, here and now. Each generation has done that. That’s why the church is alive and vibrant today.
Truth 9: We are a caring church.
Part of what it means to be the Union Church today speaks to the life we share within this community. We are the Union Church in hard, challenging times. There is a lot of anxiety and insecurity and worry around, and many of those worries are quite real. And yet, the truth that we are called to live with one another is that none of us is alone as we face those challenges. If we freely share the gifts that God has given us and that we have worked to hone with one another, there is hardly a challenge that we cannot overcome!
Truth 10: We are an outreach church.
When someone from beyond our church family arrives at our door, we do what we can to help. We try to identify needs and resolve problems. We care. We help. And yet we don’t sit and wait for those who come and find us. We support the great works that Mother’s Trust and PADS do in their own spheres, and that support is financial, thanks to the Chili Auction that so many people work on and support. We reach out to those in need. What makes us a church and not simply a social club is our willingness to respond to the needs of others both within our church family and well beyond our walls.