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Affiliation and Identity

October 19, 2018

This week Rev. Kelly and I had a great conversation about Christian formation. 

The conversation was initiated by a conference Kelly attended, where one of the speakers talked about the difference between "affiliation" and "identity." 

Affiliation and identity aren't the same thing. 

It's possible for someone to be formally affiliated with a church or synagogue (and even attend it regularly) but not have a strong Christian or Jewish identity.*

(Conversely, it's also possible -- but more of a stretch -- for someone to identify as a Christian or Jew, but not be formally affiliated with or regularly attend a faith community.)

Two questions Kelly and started discussing, and invite you to join us in discussing, are, 

  • "For those of you affiliated with The Falls Church Episcopal -- those of you attending (perhaps even regularly) and who are perhaps even officially members, but who do not have a strong sense of Christian and Episcopalian identity -- what kinds of experiences would it take for you to develop such a sense? Do you even desire such an identity? If not, why not? If so, why so? 

  • "For those in the wider community (of the city of Falls Church/Northern Virginia/Southern Maryland/DC) who identify as Christian, but who are not affiliated with this or any other church, what are some good ways to invite, welcome, and connect them with The Falls Church Episcopal/The Episcopal Church?" 

and -- to take the conversation further than Kelly and I did, but to ask another question I'm particularly passionate about: 

  • "For those who are affiliated here, regularly attend here, and who strongly identify as an Episcopalian but not necessarily as a Christian -- what kinds of experiences would it take to strengthen your identity as a apprentice of Jesus...someone who has gone from knowing ABOUT God to knowing God and having daily conversational intimacy with God in ways that are transforming your life, and the lives of those around you, for the better?" Do you even desire such experiences? If not, why not? If so, how can we help? 

See you Sunday,


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