How do I become a member at First United Presbyterian Church of Tarentum?
Officially, to become a member you must meet with the Pastor for a series of “new member” classes, be approved by the session (the ruling body of the church) with you being present with the session, and then answer several questions (including affirming that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior and that you will be a faithful member of First UP Church – Tarentum) and be welcomed as a member within a worship service. You may come to membership by way of affirmation of faith, reaffirmation of faith, or transfer all of which are explained in the “new member” class. If you have not be baptized, baptism is a part of membership – please see the Baptism FAQ for more information on baptism. To understand more of the philosophy of membership at First United, please see the rest of the FAQ.
How often do “new member” classes meet?
As our congregation is a mid-sized congregation, classes are scheduled when at least three people indicate their willingness to become a member. There is no set “schedule” or time of year for classes to be held. Classes are held on an “as needed” basis.
What if I can’t attend the classes typically held Sunday mornings? Please contact the pastor if you can’t attend the morning class. Other accommodations can be made, but please understand that these should be for unusual circumstances.
What is the first step in becoming a member?
The first step is to be present in worship regularly. We do not take membership lightly at First United and it is important that you not take it lightly either. Attending worship on a regular basis is that first step. Once you become a member, we ask you to participate in the Worship Plus Two (see separate sheet) to become involved in the life of the congregation beyond worship.
Can I participate in the activities in the life of the church without being a member?
Absolutely. *You may participate in almost all activities in the life of the church including worship, Sunday School, mission activities, Bible Studies, sing in the choir, and church work days. The only activity you are asked to not participate in is when congregational meetings are held – you may not vote. You are certainly welcome to attend any congregational meeting. Congregational meetings are typically only help twice a year. *Please note that if you are participating in leadership activities with youth and children you must have been regularly attending the church and have up to date clearances submitted to the church office. If you do not have clearances, the church office can help you apply for the clearances. In addition, you may not work with children/youth until we have all your clearances.
What are the “benefits” of membership?
First United Presbyterian Church is not a service organization or social fraternity (ex. Rotary, Elks, Lions Club, etc.). In addition, we are not a club that charges for membership (ex. Swimming pool, country club, gym) in exchange for services. Membership at First United is not an exchange for services or benefits. Membership does allow for your child to be baptized, to vote at congregational meetings (typically for those who will be in service as elders or deacons in the life of the church or the call of the pastor), and to be considered for service as ruling elder or deacon. If you are looking to “join” the church just to have a child baptized or to get a discount on a wedding, we would ask that you consider again your priorities. Membership is about participating fully in the life of a local congregation.
Does it cost to be a member?
There are no fees or financial costs associated with becoming a member of First United. As First United is a part of the Presbyterian Church USA and is connected to all other Presbyterian Church USA churches, the congregation does pay a “per capita” for each member of the congregation. Per capita helps support the mission and ministries of the greater church. Currently per capita is approximately $39 per member. The church does ask that you consider giving that amount over and above your regular giving in support of the greater church. If there is a “cost” for membership it is that we ask each member to give generously, lovingly, and compassionately of their money, time, and talents and that you regularly attend worship.
Further Questions?: If you have any further questions about membership feel free to contact the Pastor at 724-224-2550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.