Come As You Are – As One Loved
Christ’s Church at St. Nicholas Welcomes, Affirms and Serves All
By the grace of the Spirit, St. Nicholas shares the all-embracing love of God in Christ with everyone, celebrating diversity in fellowship, service, mission, and worship.
Parish Vision Statement
St. Nicholas is a thriving multicultural Episcopal community that lovingly offers a sanctuary for spiritual exploration and Christian growth by respecting the dignity of every human being, while being encouraged to follow more closely God’s plan of salvation for our sanctification as individuals and as a community of faith.
*Baptist, Buddhist, Roman Catholic, or Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Spiritual But Not Religious, Agnostic, “Unchurched,” or a Cradle Episcopalian…
•We embrace our relationship with God and wish to share this unique relationship with all.
•We are to love God with all of our hearts, with all our mind, with all our strength, and with all our souls; and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.
•Ministry, service, and mission are to take place outside the walls of the church, in addition to occurring within the parish family and in the sanctuary.
•We respect the dignity of every human being and celebrate diversity within our community, excluding none.
•We are to love without trying to possess, change, control or judge.
•We are confident in the power of forgiveness and healing.
•We strive to grow – individually and as a community.
•We are called to incarnate the mission of the Church which is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.
(BCP p. 855)
•We pursue the mission of the Church when we pray and worship, proclaim the Gospel, and promote justice, peace and love.
(BCP p. 855)
Let’s All Journey Together in Service, Love, and Acceptance.
Come As You Are – As One Loved by God
Ministry Identity Statement
Our theology at St. Nicholas is Trinitarian, Incarnational, and Relational. We believe our God (the One, Almighty God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) invites us to make God’s story of love, peace, and justice – as reflected in Holy Scriptures and incarnate in Jesus Christ our story. Our approach is thoroughly relational with an emphasis on the Great Commandment (“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself” (Lk10:27)), as embodied in living out the New Commandment – to love as we are loved (Jn 13:24). We invite everyone – as one loved by God – to come, see, and share our peace in the love of Christ.
Our welcoming statement makes clear that absolutely everyone is affirmed and warmly welcomed at St. Nicholas. We believe Anglicanism’s greatest gift to Christendom and, indeed, to the entire world is the maxim, born out of the Elizabethan Settlement, that Communion is broader than Confession, Community broader than Statements of Belief. We witness to the world that, regardless of differences, we benefit from being side-by-side before God, staying together until we find agreement, abhorring divisiveness and schism. Trusting God to shape righteous belief through common prayer and worship, we seek to be a community of both/and, rather than either/or.
We take seriously our baptismal identity and baptismal covenantal responsibilities, but we try not to take ourselves too seriously. We live in the joy of knowing that God intends the best for us, and that in Christ we have abundant life, being made one with the Father and each other through Christ Jesus. That being said, we are often like the disciples in Mark’s Gospel who misunderstand Jesus’ mission (Mk 8:31-33; 9:31-32; 10:32-38a) and need prayerful reflection to discern God’s plan for us.
Animated by the Spirit, we strive to be ever more fully the Body of Christ in the world, bringing the kingdom (and the kin_dom) of heaven near through relevant ministry outside the walls of church buildings. We rejoice to participate in the ministry of Christ – a ministry of reconciliation with all for all, that especially brings Good News for the poor and liberation for the oppressed (see Lk 4:18). We take seriously the example of Matthew 25:34-40 and inspired by the social justice ministry of the Lucan gospel, we believe all life and labor can be sacred. This approach is reflected in our signature ministry – the Holy Grill of St. Nicholas mobile feeding ministry, feeding bodies and souls by going outside the walls of church and beyond the boundaries of fixed sites to meet people where they are and to share the love of Christ in concrete and relevant ways, touching and changing lives for the better – materially and spiritually. Our Holy Grill mobile ministry complements well our decades long assistance to the homeless through support of St. Laurence Chapel to which we deliver annually thousands of hard-boiled eggs (an easily transportable source of protein), in addition to monthly donations of clothing and other necessities, as well as a monthly hot meal following Holy Communion.
We are intentional in bringing ministry to all we do. Bingo, for example, is not just a ministry of hospitality and entertainment which also produces funds for our other ministries of the church. Bingo is – as we intend all our activities to be – a community building experience. For this reason, we have officiated at funerals and visited bingo players who have been hospitalized regardless of their faith community affiliation, in addition to sharing our thanksgiving meals with them.
Building community is part of the Christian experience. Because the Christian experience is often distorted in the media and poorly understood by increasing numbers, we believe it imperative to build community outside traditional worship spaces, while always inviting people to enter the safe space of our sanctuary, free of judgment, to explore reconnecting or deepening their connection to God and the Body of Christ in the world. To this end, we have several ministries that reach out to the wider community, including our Thrift Shop, an annual concert series, and donating book bags for back-to-school for those in need, among others.
We also are intentional in our religious witness to the broader community. For example, we have offered “Ashes-to-Go” for several years on Ash Wednesday at a local Tri-Rail Station, and we observe Good Friday with a public procession with the Stations of the Cross, beginning at the corner of Sample Road and Federal Highway and make our way to the parish grounds.
In short, we seek to manifest the Great Commission of Jesus in our lives and ministries: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Mt 28:19-20)