Westworth United Church is a Christian congregation that is comfortable in identifying itself as a member congregation of the United Church of Canada.
We see ourselves as a congregation that is open to exploring a diversity of matters related to theology, spirituality, and ethical inquiry. In our shared life we attempt to be hospitable to all, inclusive of people and respectful of the different ways we have of doing things. We value accessibility and safety within our building and programs, and visibility in the community.
We believe it is important for us as a congregation to provide opportunities for learning and growth. We are concerned about quality and relevance in the things we do together.
We see value in fellowship and in building relationships. We appreciate and enjoy occasions for celebration and opportunities to have fun together.
In our life as a faith community, we value expressions of caring, supporting, trusting, and serving, both within and beyond the congregation.
We value responsibility, practicality and functionality in deployment of our material and human resources. These are an expression of the committed and faithful stewardship of our members.
We balance a sense of continuity with the belief that God calls us to be active and pro-active, to seek justice, and not be afraid of risk in this life we choose to share with each other.
Faith and Spiritual Growth
Worship and all aspects of Christian Education
We see ourselves as a Christian congregation that is open to exploring a diversity of spiritual experience. Valuing hospitality (giving people a sense of being welcomed, engaged, and valued) we like to include a diverse range of people in our programs, attempting to provide within reason something for everyone. We recognize that our congregation includes a range of ages, interests, tastes, life-styles, and personalities, and believe this variety of people should be valued and considered. This means that what we do should reflect values of accessibility (avoiding barriers both literal and figurative to peoples’ ability to participate in the life of the church), flexibility (openness to doing things in a variety of ways), visibility (both as regards the congregation’s profile in the community and the congregation’s ability to see and so participate in its activities), and intimacy (a sense of connectedness to God and to one another).
In this area of our life, we value opportunities for celebration, learning, and growth in faith, understanding and discipleship. As a congregation we value quality and relevance in what we do, and we appreciate a response of faithfulness and commitment of time, energy, and financial support from the congregation.
Although we value a sense of continuity and tradition, we also appreciate innovation and believe we should be pro-active and creative in taking new initiatives and willing to take risks in this area of our life.
Faith development and spiritual growth can flourish, we believe, in an atmosphere of healing, nurturing, sharing, safety, and trust in our relationships with one another.
Community and Interpersonal Relationships
The settings in which we come together in fellowship and
the ways in which we interact with others in the congregation
We are a Christian congregation that values the spiritual dimension in our relationships with one another, and being open to a variety of people. We understand that this openness should be expressed in a high degree of visibility in the community (i.e. we want the neighbourhood to know we are here) and in an atmosphere that is warm, welcoming, and hospitable, toward those who are new and those who have been with us for longer periods. People should experience our church as a €œsafe€ and respectful place. For us, being inclusive means accepting people in all their diversity. It also means being accessible (avoiding barriers to people’s ability to participate), and flexible in the way we design activities. Recognizing our human need for intimacy, we value opportunities for people to get to know one another in some depth.
We believe that it is important for our church community to celebrate significant events in our life together. We realize that it requires the work of committed people to see that such occasions are provided.
Opportunities for learning and growing together are also opportunities for strengthening interpersonal relationships. This we value as well.
Whether building relationships in the congregation is a one-on-one sense, or providing occasions for strengthening a sense of community and fellowship, we value a common life that is characterized by caring, healing, nurturing, comforting, supporting, listening and trust. We believe we should treat one another with courtesy and respect. We feel called to reach out to one another in service.
We like to make our fellowship relevant to people’s needs and to the realities of their lives. We believe it is important to conduct ourselves in ways that are responsible, with an eye to what is practical and functional.
As people who respect the congregation’s traditions, we value continuity but recognize that new ventures require us to be pro-active people who are prepared to take risks and try new things. We like to be part of an active, lively faith community that has fun together.
Mission and Outreach
The ways we reach out beyond our own congregation to
the neighbourhood, the wider community, and the world
We believe that a Christian church does not live for itself alone, but that it has a purpose beyond its own maintenance and interior life. Our spirituality includes a sense of being called to take risks in the interest of justice and to be a humanizing agent in the world. We express our sense of mission in ways that are relevant to human realities and consistent with our membership in the United Church of Canada.
What we value in our own church home, we value as well in the ways we reach out to others. In our relationships with people beyond our congregation we like to be warm, welcoming and hospitable. If we try to be inclusive and accepting of a diversity of people in our congregational life, we also value these qualities in our relationships with others. We believe we should try to avoid placing barriers between ourselves and others, but should uphold the principle of accessibility. In the context of mission, visibility means not hiding from our neighbourhood or our world, but being where we can be available. We value flexibility in our ability to respond appropriately to changing needs and opportunities for outreach that may present themselves. If intimacy means connecting at some depth with others, we value outreach opportunities that build relationships with people who are beyond our faith community and may be different from ourselves.
Other values that we uphold in our relationships both within and beyond the congregation include caring, healing, nurturing, serving, trusting, comforting, supporting, and listening. We value opportunities to create a sense of community with people beyond our congregation as well as within it.
Although mission and outreach require work, effort, and commitment, we like to create, in this part of our shared life, opportunities for fun, celebration, and fellowship.
Awareness of the concerns of the wider community and the world requires openness to learning and growth in relation to particular issues. We value opportunities to expand our knowledge and understanding in these areas.
In finding ways to express our mission beyond the congregation, we see the need to be responsible, practical and functional in deploying our human and material resources.
Continuity in our ongoing external commitments has value for us, but we also welcome opportunities to take new initiatives. We like, therefore, to be both active and pro-active in relation to the challenge of mission and outreach.