I know, I know…it was a bit of a firehose. Pastor Julie and I were trying to cover a lot of ground in last Sunday’s team sermon on what it means to be “egalitarian.” (That is, a church that ordains both men and women to all offices of ministry.)
This was the first of our nine-part DNA series. Over the years, we have come to realize there are several qualities—or values—that we hold sacred. I’m not talking about the basic, essential stuff like who Jesus is, what he did, how we view the Bible and so forth. Every evangelical church worth its salt holds those essential values at their heart.
But—beyond that, we are aware that Chapel Hill has a secondary set of “markers” or “traits” that are inherent to us. Without them, we just would not be Chapel Hill. For instance, we champion the equal role of women in all ministries of the church—and—we believe we have a biblical basis for doing so. It’s probably our greatest distinctive in that we have ordained eight women to pastoral ministry, more than any other church in our denomination. It’s also the one we get most questions about, so we decided to start there.
I realize there are those who disagree with us. We respect that. But as we tried to show last Sunday, our “egalitarianism” is based upon our reading of scripture, not in spite of it. In fact, you can go online and find the sermon manuscript with every scriptural reference that we mentioned or alluded to.
Anyhow, our view on women in leadership is one biggie that separates us from many other wonderful evangelical churches. Here’s another: we are Reformed. We use that word to describe our understanding of the Bible, the sacraments and the saving work of God in the world. Our Reformed perspective is at the heart of who we are as a church.
But what does it mean, anyhow? What is Reformed? Great question—and this Sunday, on week two of our DNA series, we will tackle that topic. As I said last week, you don’t have to hold all these values to be welcome in our church family. But you ought to know where we stand as you are deciding whether or not Chapel Hill is the right home for you! (You can learn more about our DNA here.)
This Sunday will also be Baptism Sunday. (That’s another way that we aren’t a typical Presbyterian—we dunk folks as well as sprinkle them!) I know we have 10 baptisms scheduled. But we will also have elders at the ready to receive your testimony if you feel compelled to be baptized. And if you do, praise the Lord! It means the Holy Spirit is stirring in you. (That distinctive—being “Spirit-filled”—we’ll talk about next week????)
We had nearly 1,000 people in our post-Easter Sunday services. Numbers aren’t everything, of course, but they do represent individual people, each one of whom is loved by God. Aside from Easter, we haven’t had that kind of turnout since the pandemic. Who knows—maybe this Sunday we’ll hit that magic number! I hope you’ll come and be part of that…and the baptisms—and the reflection on our Reformed DNA—and any other surprises that the Lord might have in store for us!