Our Understanding of Church & Worship
The definition of “church” endorsed by our Church is derived from the New Testament. It is the translation of the Greek word ecclesia, which is synonymous with the Hebrew word kahal in the Old Testament.
Both words simply mean “an assembly” in the sense of a gathering in a Home Church.
Our Church rejects any definition of church that is restricted to a physical place of meeting or a “bricks and boards” building of worship which came about three hundred years after the first Home Churches .
On May 15, 2010, the directors of the Church adopted a Resolution to restate the Church’s theology and practice of worship. The text of this resolution follows:
Clergy Support Memorial Church’s understanding of the word Church
Our use of the word church is that defined in the New Testament. In the New Testament it is the translation of the Greek word ecclesia, which is synonymous with the Hebrew kahal of the Old Testament, both words meaning simply an assembly, the character of which can only be known from the connection in which the word is found.
There is no clear instance of its being used for a place of meeting or of worship till about three hundred years later. Nor is this word ever used to denote the inhabitants of a country united in the same profession, as when we say the “Church of England,” the “Church of Scotland,” Anglican Church etc.
The word church from the Greek word ecclesia is used in the following senses in the New Testament:
There is no clear instance of the word being used for a building as a place of meeting or of worship. The New Testament meaning is quite clear, it is where a few people gather for worship in a Home.
All the Christians in a particular city, whether they assembled together in one place or in several places for religious worship, were an ecclesia. Thus all the disciples in Antioch, forming several congregations, were one church ( Acts 13:1); so also we read of the “church of God at Corinth” ( 1 Corinthians 1:2 ), “the church at Jerusalem” ( Acts 8:1 ), “the church of Ephesus” ( Revelation 2:1 ), etc.
The children of all who thus profess the true religion are members of the visible church along with their parents. Children are included in every covenant God ever made with man.
Worship happens not just in a congregation setting but more often:
- Worship can happen in an online chat situation like Zoom.
- During our e-church services;
- When Clergy gather in worship during Ministers’ training;
- When Clergy and their families gather in worship during retreats;
- When leaders gather together in worship to Appoint or Ordain new Clergy at a Celebration of Ministry Service;
- When Clergy gather with couples to solemnize a couple in holy matrimony, in any location.
- In our Home Churches whenever a leader, and the focus of their ministry, come together for Pastoral Care;
- When Clergy gather with family members to celebrate the sacrament of baptism, in any location;
- When Clergy gather with grieving family members to celebrate a funeral service, in any location;
- As in Scripture ‘where two or three are gathered’.
- During visitations to nursing homes or hospital patients who request a Bible reading or Prayer, whether in a hospital chapel or in a patient’s room;
- At ad hoc spaces rented for worship services from time to time;
- When Clergy are invited as speakers to other denominations’ church services;
- Worship can happen even in our telephone distress call situation.
In other words, the expressions of worship of the members of the Church in any Province has expanded greatly. Worship for us happens wherever a gathering of like-minded people comes together no matter where or their number. It can take a variety of forms and expressions. Worship may or may not have traditional elements in it, but it is not confined by traditional understanding of Sunday worship. Wonderful as that may be for some.