Church of the Nazarene

 Mountainside Communion—-a church of the Nazarene

A Statement of Affiliation with the Church of the Nazarene

We as Mountainside Communion, a body of people in the one holy catholic and apostolic Church[1] of Jesus Christ, who have been shaped by and celebrate a variety of church traditions, and who have gathered with our minds set on the missional vision of Micah 6:8, affiliate formally with the Church of the Nazarene.

1 Corinthians 3:11

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.

Micah 6:8

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

In joining the Church of the Nazarene, we as Mountainside Communion will continue to place our hope in the God who by the Spirit raised Jesus’ first century Jewish body from the dead.

The following are acknowledgements, hopes, and affirmations that we embody by formally affiliating with the Church of the Nazarene:

We acknowledge…

  • the ways that God has used the tradition of the Church of the Nazarene to birth and sustain us.
  • the Church of the Nazarene—which has been formed to embody Jesus’ teaching concerning the Kingdom of God—as a grace and gift of God, and it is our prayer that working with it will be a means of grace toward being faithful to God, church, and neighbor.
  • the importance of Christian fellowship and look forward to associating with the people of the Church of the Nazarene as a corporate site of God’s openness, hospitality, and compassion.
  • that God works particularly and historically among fleshy human beings and the patterns and structures by which they organize their lives.

We hope…

  • for the movement of God’s Spirit, which breathes life and change into those human beings, patterns, and structures, making them together the site of God’s openness, hospitality, and compassion.
  • that the Church of the Nazarene’s history of intercity mission work among the poor and disenfranchised, in Los Angeles and elsewhere, will be a means of grace for us, helping us live out our founding mission expressed in Micah 6:8 and helping us to be a site of God’s openness, hospitality, and compassion in the City of Monrovia and its surrounding areas.
  • in the God for whom all things are possible.

We affirm…

  • that we are to be concretely attached to the flesh and blood people of the church catholic.
  • the full participation of women in all ministries of the church.
  • that all children are welcome to participate fully in the Eucharist and Baptism.
  • the importance of radical obedience to God.

Galatians 3:26-28

…for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:17-22

So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

We as Mountainside Communion, by joining the Church of the Nazarene in particular, actively embody our relationship to the church catholic.  While we feel called to join with the people of the Church of the Nazarene, we acknowledge ecumenical diversity of stories and theological visions within our local body.

We share:

  • The Eucharist[2]: We gather to practice the embodiment of the Slaughtered Lamb.
  • Holy Scripture: We recognize that both the Old and New Testaments bear witness to God’s work in Jesus Christ.  We embrace Micah 6:8 as our statement of mission.
  • Our Practices: We gather to trust in God and perform the work of Christ through Worship, Prayer and Prayers of the People, Leadership Gatherings, Compassionate Action, Life Groups, Godly Play, Monrovia Youth Alliance, Immigration Response, etc.
  • Church Tradition: We acknowledge that all we do is preceded and followed by the faithful witness of the church.  Thus our catechesis attends to the Nicene Creed, and the conversion and baptism that God works among us are into the one holy catholic and apostolic Church of Jesus Christ.
  • Church of the Nazarene Affiliation: We join into fellowship with the Church of the Nazarene by drawing from, working with, and carrying forward its tradition in faithfulness to God, church, and neighbor while remaining hospitable to the work of the Spirit among all the people of God.

Just as the table of the Eucharist is the point of tangible focus and the gathering place during our times of worship, the central aspect of our relationship to the church catholic will remain the Eucharist.  Until now, the first four ways in which we share in the body of Christ have been used by the Spirit to gather us as Mountainside Communion and have united us with the Body of Christ. In all that we do, we pray that we will be humbly faithful to the work of the Spirit who has called us together and is the sole guarantor of our future.

John 3:5-8

5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Our vulnerability, weakness, and frailty are embodied in all we do as human beings.  They take shape in the structures and patterns of Mountainside Communion and in the structures and patterns of the Church of the Nazarene.  These structures and patterns set what “has been” and “is.”  Yet the Holy Spirit again and again brings newness and freshness of life to that which carries on from the past to the present, giving a future we cannot control or force.  For us as Mountainside Communion, to be gathered into Christ’s body as the church is for it to be the place where God’s Spirit breathes life into what in itself is “dust and ashes” (Genesis 18:27).

We affiliate with the Church of the Nazarene, not to become more effective or more secure, but as a way of yielding to the Spirit who is breathing life into our mortal body.  Our hope is that the Church of the Nazarene will be a vessel through which the wind of the Spirit will continue to blow new life into us.  Our hope also remains with Christ in the Gospel of John 2:24-25, that it is not to human testimony of people or institutions that we entrust ourselves. We will be faithful to the Spirit, continuing to cross borders according to our missional call, humbly acknowledging that we never fully know where we are coming from or where we are going.

Consensus reached on October 12, 2008

[1] This phrase is taken from the Nicene Creed.  In using the word ‘catholic’ to describe the Church, we are remembering those who have gone before us, hoping with those who work alongside us, offering ourselves to those who will come after us, rejoicing with those who sit at the table of the Lamb in the coming Kingdom of God.

[2] This sacrament is also referred to as Holy Communion and the Lord’s Supper.