This covenant (of peace in Jesus Christ) entails sacramental living that respects and reveals God’s presence and reconciling activity in creation. It requires whole-life stewardship dedicated to expanding the church’s restoring ministries, especially those devoted to asserting the worth of persons, protecting the sacredness of creation, and relieving physical and spiritual suffering.
The challenge given in this recent passage of scripture is to expand the church’s restoring ministries and assert the worth of persons. It’s being lived out in the recently released policies on baptism and confirmation. The new guidelines will allow the church to honor the commitment to and covenant with Jesus Christ that individuals may have made when they were baptized in another denomination. Rather than feeling excluded because they don’t feel the need to be re-baptized, the worth of these individuals and their previous experience of baptism are upheld.
At the same time, the new policies can expand the church’s restoring ministries for those previously baptized by inviting them to full membership in Community of Christ through the sacrament of confirmation. What had been an obstacle for some in the past has now been removed.
It’s in community that the mission of Jesus Christ is lived out. The new baptism and confirmation policies allow us to more freely invite others to become part of the community that we know as Community of Christ. By witnessing and inviting others to join us on this missional journey within the context of the new policies, we are not only following recent scriptural counsel, but also living out the words of the Apostle Paul two thousand years ago, “For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” 1 Cor 12:13 (NRSV)
- Interim Policy — effective from January 1 to August 31, 2011
- Official Policy — effective from September 1, 2011 into the future
- Shared Understanding of Previous Baptism
- Letter from President Stephen M. Veazey
- Guidance and reflections related to “Baptism, Confirmation, and Church Membership” policies
John Wight, a resident of Blue Springs, Missouri, is an appointee minister for the Community of Christ. His primary assignment is as the field missionary coordinator for the North Central USA & Canada Mission Field. He also serves as senior president of seventy and president of the Tenth Quorum of Seventy. John received a bachelor of arts degree in communication from Michigan State University and a master of arts in religion from Graceland University. He and his wife, Carole, have six children ranging in age from 18 to 31. Find him on Facebook.