Attending Williston-Immanuel United Church is a privilege of which anyone can take advantage. People who attend may participate in all of the programs and activities of the church and they may invite anyone else to attend with them. Membership in the church gives the added privilege of participating in the decision- making processes as well as specific leadership positions. It is customary when seeking membership to begin by setting up a conference with the Pastor who will then outline one of the following membership procedures:
A JOURNEY TO CHURCH MEMBERSHIP WITH SEVERAL ROADS. Williston-Immanuel United Church respects and practices the traditions of both the United Church of Christ (UCC) and the American Baptist Churches in the USA. The following paragraphs will illustrate the shades of difference and similarity respected and accepted by this emerging faith community.
BY CONFIRMATION. Any person who has been "baptized" as an infant in the United Church of Christ, or any other Christian faith community, may ask to be part of a "Confirmation Class," led by the Pastor and other members of Williston-Immanuel United Church. The purpose of this class is to remind participant of the commitments made by his or her parents when he or she was an infant . Then, as a more mature individual ready to make a life-decision of faith, that person may desire to "confirm" those commitments for himself or herself. The Confirmation Class of several sessions leads to that experience and to ones becoming a full member of Williston-Immanuel United Church, upon the affirmative vote of their acceptance by the Williston-Immanuel Church Council.
BY BELIEVER'S BAPTISM. Any person whose parents "dedicated" him or her as an infant in a Baptist Church, may choose as a youth to make a personal decision to become "baptized" as a "believer." A "Membership Class" in the Baptist tradition, very similar to a "Confirmation Class" in the Congregational tradition, will be scheduled for that purpose by the Pastor. And after several sessions it also will lead to the experience of ones becoming a full member of Williston-Immanuel United Church,upon the affirmative vote of their acceptance by the Williston-Immanuel Church Council. MODE OF BAPTISM. One who has never experienced any kind of Baptism is required and invited to do so using either the method of "sprinkling" (the United Church tradition) or "immersion" (the Baptist tradition). Because Williston-Immanuel has combined these two traditions, either mode of baptism may be selected and will be honored by Williston-Immanuel United Church, as a prerequisite of full membership.
BY LETTER OF TRANSFER. Any person who is at present a member of any other Christian Church may request that Williston-Immanuel United Church send for a "letter of transfer of membership" from that other Church. Upon receipt of that letter and the affirmative vote of their acceptance by the Williston-Immanuel Church Council, that person may become a full member of Williston-Immanuel.
BY CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE. Any person who may have already been baptized, but who was never a member of a Christian Church which provides such a letter of transfer, may request full membership in Williston-Immanuel United Church by an affirmation of their personal, Christian commitment to Christ, the purposes of Williston-Immanuel, and upon the affirmative vote of their acceptance by the Williston-Immanuel Church Council.
BY AFFILIATION. Any person, who for reasons of their own, may want to continue to hold membership in another church, may enjoy voice without vote in Williston-Immanuel United Church. While there may be some limitations on what affiliate members can do, it is possible to hold membership in more than one church at a time. The advantages of full membership in Williston-Immanuel include serving as a church officer, serving on church committees and participating in the decision-making deliberations (Annual Meetings, special meetings, etc.) necessary to conduct church business. Affiliate membership is activated upon the affirmative vote of acceptance by the Williston-Immanuel Church Council.
(NOTE) Because Williston-Immanuel United Church recently became a reality in 2011, it's in the infancy of being a single church. Therefore, a mission statement, a covenant and a more detailed structure of membership are all in the process of refinement. This wonderful journey of being an emerging faith community is indeed a work in progress. Enthusiastically Williston-Immanuel invites inquirers to join this experience which leads to church membership.