“You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
Parkway Christian Church is a congregation who welcomes all regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation or disability;
- Inviting Disciples (those who learn) and
- Sending Apostles (those who are sent)
Parkway’s Core Values:
- Spiritually involved;
- Reaching out as servants of God’s love
As Part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Tradition:
- We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. (www.disciples.org)
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Parkway Christian Church members come in all ages, races and sexual identities. One of the more unique aspects of our worship experience is a very strong lay leadership. Members of the congregation are involved in every worship service, from the opening prayer, to reading the gospel, to stewardship moments, to running the sound system, to delivering communion, and more.
It doesn’t stop with the worship service. Anyone at Parkway can get involved! Whether it is helping rearrange chairs, set up for a potluck, mow the church yard, teach Sunday school, wash dishes, help with VBS, or something else, there are many opportunities and all members are encouraged to get involved and take ownership of their church.
Parkway is also the place for many different support groups, including Masathenia Gravis, Multiple Sclerosis, and Al-anon/Alateen.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I was naked and you gave me clothing,
I was sick and you took care of me,
I was in prison and you visited me.”
Parkway is a “tithing” congregation which pledges 10% of its actual monthly operating income, under the administration of the Diaconate for outreach ministries and missions.
The Diaconate currently supports:
- The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Disciples Mission Fund (DMF) for regional, national, and international outreach efforts;
- The remaining funds support unique Diaconate mission and ministry efforts, such as:
- Meals at the Ronald McDonald House supporting five cook teams;
- Phoenix Center collections of personal goods & “Sundies”;
- Our neighborhood elementary school, Carl Sandburg;
- A “pay it forward” outreach also has provided disaster assistance to other Disciples congregations;
- Camp CoCo sponsorship of two children;
- Adult/Youth Mission trips;
- Senior Citizen Center food & monetary support;
- Pastor’s Discretionary funds;
- Thanksgiving baskets.
The Diaconate currently supports in serving communion.
We are dedicated to using the allocated funds with which we have been blessed. We feel, as a core value, that it is imperative Parkway Christian Church maintains its commitment to serving others.
“All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.”
- Mission Work:
- Mission Trips;
- 30 Hour Famine;
- Stewardship – helping around the church.
- Candy Making
Evening Christian Women’s Fellowship (ECWF)
For most of the 35 years of Parkway’s history, the ECWF has been an active ministry. It began meeting once a month in the afternoons, but then changed to an evening meeting group, reflective of the dynamic of women working outside of the home.
ECWF now meets the first Tuesday evening of each month and meetings include devotions, fellowship, Bible study, and discussions about how the ECWF ministry is an integral part of the life of Parkway.
- Outreach projects:
- Washington Street Mission meals for children;
- Mary Bryant Home for the Blind;
- Inner City Mission;
- Lap robes for local nursing homes;
- Annual Cookie Walk;
- Card ministry.
- Church projects:
- Kitchen appliances and upgrades;
- Vestments for worship;
- Fundraising efforts divided among Parkway activities:
- Youth Camps;
- 30% “tithe” to Outreach;
- Funds for future projects/ministry opportunities
Each year brings changes, but ECWF continues to serve our Church, the community, and our Lord.
Christian Education (CE)/Vacation Bible School (VBS)
- CE – Children at Parkway experience the Gospel in a cooperative environment and participate in learning with adults and other children from age three through sixth grade. This family atmosphere reflects the Family of God and teaches children to fully participate in the life of the church now and not at some later time when they are “old enough”. All children are welcome.
Currently, there are three active adult Sunday School classes that meet between worship services and offer a variety of studies that are both lay and clergy led.
- VBS – Vacation Bible School is full of active learning experiences in a variety of “stations” (learning centers) that reinforce the main theme. VBS normally is held during late July and is welcoming to all children in the church’s “neighborhood”.
“When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, and they reported all that God had done with them.”
Although immersionists, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Parkway honor prior forms of baptism whether done as an infant or in another faith tradition, and does not require “rebaptism”.
Like many Disciples of Christ congregations, Parkway has a history of strong lay leadership. People from the church serve three year terms as elders; the number of elders varies from year to year because rather than having “warm bodies” to fill slots, we think it is important to have people who feel led to serve in that particular way at that particular time. We have had as few as four elders at a time and as many as nine. We strive to insure that the elders represent the diversity of the congregation.
Collectively, the elders work closely with the senior pastor to plan meaningful worship services, both on Sunday morning and special services throughout the year. The elders take turns serving at the table during worship, with one elder each week responsible for the stewardship moment and communion meditation as well as helping the Diaconate serve communion. The elder always emphasizes to the congregation that we practice open communion and all are welcome at the table, even our visitors and guests. The elders also assist the senior pastor in calling on shut-ins or making hospital visits and offering communion to those who can’t make it to church on Sunday mornings.
Finally, the elders are responsible for shepherding the congregation and are often tasked with reaching out to the congregation to communicate about matters that impact the whole church. If we need to get the word out about something before the following Sunday morning, you will most likely receive a call from one of the elders to give you an update and answer any questions that you may have. Most importantly, elders pray for the congregation, including prayer requests that people have asked the elders to keep confidential. Along with the senior pastor, elders may reach out to specific people in the congregation that they know are going through a difficult time.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers”
The identity statement of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is:
“We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord’s table as God has welcomed us.”
As a congregation, we share in communion together each time we gather in worship. Sometimes we pass the plates and sometimes we come forward to receive the elements, but what never changes is that all are welcome at the table. In fact, the elder who is serving at the communion table that week will make it a point to say so; that way even guests and visitors know that they are welcome to receive communion.
Many churches limit communion to only their members and some go even further, restricting it based on factors such as a person’s age, marital status, sexual orientation, or even voting record.
As Disciples, we at Parkway believe it is not our role to stand in the way of someone who desires to receive communion and God is the only one who can truly judge a person’s heart.
Another Parkway practice is to keep the bread and cup uncovered through the end of the service as a visible reminder of God’s invisible grace that is to be shared with the world.
The practice of receiving communion is a central element of our worship together; we even use a chalice in our logo to symbolize the importance of this.