Our Mission and Values
Living a life of love. That's what this church is all about. Jesus declared that the greatest commandments for humanity to pursue are to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength and to love neighbor as self. This is what we are striving to do, learning every day how to love better. This document explains in detail what this looks like at Stamford Church. Below is a summary. One of our primary tools for helping people learn to love is our Love In Training seminars. Learn more HERE.
This life of love is
formative, experienced through spiritual practices and habits, especially the contemplative ones;
missional, expressed through the pursuit of justice, evangelism and mercy;
inclusive, building bridges across lines of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, culture and class;
ecumenical, drawing from every stream in the Christian tradition; and
wholistic, nurturing deep spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health.
We are committed to growing more kind, more selfless, more compassionate, and more forgiving to ourselves and to others. We value critical thinking, study, honesty, and good questions over easy answers. We strive for justice, not perfection, in our inner lives, our relationships, and our communities. We prioritize serving our local community. We are a multi-ethnic church, inclusive of all, regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation, and egalitarian in our leadership.
We honor as our spiritual heritage those attempts that began in America in the 19th century to restore the life and spirit of Christianity as exhibited by Jesus and his apostles. Central to our faith is the sacrificial love of Jesus which orients us to a life of self-emptying love, service, and joy with and for all those in our midst. The values that extend from this central notion of faith include:
An Ecumenical Spirit
We recognize the value of different perspectives, seeking to negotiate our differences, or even set them aside, for the sake of the more important things that unite us: the value of love at the center of our lives.
A Just Spirit
We hold at the center of our convictions God’s love for the poor, marginalized, oppressed, and other victims of particular and general injustices. We believe that God is to be found clearly among the weak and vulnerable in our midst and that what we do for persons such as these, we do for God.
A Sacrificial Spirit
We believe that whatever blessings we receive in each of our stations in life are not strictly for our own satisfaction, but are a means by which we might more fully bless and care for one another. Our lives are not oriented toward our own success, but by a sacrificial ethic for the sake of those in our midst.
An Open Spirit
We refuse to discriminate on the basis of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status. We are a multi-ethnic, gender-egalitarian, open and affirming, and socio-economically diverse congregation. That means we honor the particularities we each embody—female, male, poor, rich, gay, straight, queer, Black, White, Asian, West Indian—all as equals, as bearers of the image of God, and as disciples of Jesus.
A Mindful Spirit
We practice the pursuit of truth, honoring the life of the mind as a gift from God. We study Scripture as well history and current events in their various contexts, recognizing that such consideration can often lead to surprising insights and transformed perceptions on how we see and act in the world. We strive to create a space where all truth can be God’s truth, opening ourselves up to the contributions of the arts & sciences across cultures and faith traditions.
A Joyful Spirit
We believe that all that God calls us to is ultimately a call to joy. Not a fleeting or self-centered joy, but the joys found when our lives are given away and poured out for the sake of God and one another.
These resources document and explain our reasoning on difficult topics in churches today. We hope they will be of assistance to those seeking either to understand our position for themselves or to enter into constructive dialogue with friends, family, or churches as a whole.
On Gender Egalitarianism/Inclusivity
Sons and Daughters - documents the history and rationale of our church's movement toward full gender inclusivity.
Affirmation - Sermon delivered by Dale Pauls on April 26, 2015 urging understanding and acceptance of the LGBTQ community; includes an appendix with notes on a class on the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8).
5 Questions on Sexuality and LGBTQ - document in Q&A format answering five typical questions relating to Scripture, tradition, culture, ethics, and practice regarding our affirming position on LGBTQ persons.
Chris and Kendra have been married for more than thirty years and are the parents of Jordan and Jacob. Chris is a spiritual director, university instructor, author of nine books and has served as Senior Minister for three congregations since 1994. Read More
Minister of Music & Worship Arts
Stamford Church Elders