It is all of these things– and more. Church (Ecclesiastical) membership is our active commitment to our belief in God and the acknowledgement of Jesus Christ in the way that we live our daily life. Merely fulfilling a financial obligation to the Church does not make one an Orthodox Christian. Attending the Divine Liturgy without participating in the Holy Sacraments does not make one an Orthodox Christian either.
One first becomes an Orthodox Christian through the Holy Sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation. It is Chrismation that grants us the participation in the sacramental life of the Church. These alone, however, do not make one an Orthodox Christian. Baptism and Chrismation soon lose their personal validity when, in our everyday life, we inevitably fall short of the commitments made at the Baptismal Font. We must also participate regularly and conscientiously in the sacramental life, the worship, and the stewardship of the Church. This means that we:
1. Have been baptized, in water, in the name of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
2. Have been Chrismated in the Orthodox Christian Church.
3. Have had our marriage blessed in the Orthodox Christian Church.
4. Participate regularly in the Sacraments of Confession, Communion, and Unction, and attend the Divine Liturgy and the other services of our Church.
5. Observe the prescribed Fast Days in the proper manner.
6. Follow the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Christian Church.
Our Church is not some sort of social club to which we belong by paying “dues”, and we receive membership “privileges” in return. We recognize that the Church is much, much more than this.
As do the rest of the parishes in the Archdiocese, Saint Demetrios Church promotes a Stewardship Program. There is no minimum or maximum amount for our financial support, nor our support in giving from our time or our talents to serve the Church. Our conscience must dictate our support of our Church, as thankfulness to God for all His blessings He has bestowed upon us.
The greatest problem our Church faces is not the difficulty of making God’s teachings relevant in our society, but the reality that Church Membership has become so easy it is often meaningless. Our goal at Saint Demetrios Church has been and will continue to be to make membership in our Church what our Lord intended it to be: a conscious decision to be part of that fellowship of believers committed to Jesus Christ and who live that commitment daily.