In the 1990s, a member of Heritage took the approach of discerning words for a mission statement for the congregation by spending a year of listening. The congregant reported at the end of the year that the church had the mission of being a “real community.”
In the mid-2000s, the church took a more traditional approach of forming a task force, conducting whole-congregation group exercises, and hiring a consultant to develop the mission statement for Heritage. After several meetings with the task force, the consultant remarked that much more than most any other organization the consultant had worked with, this congregation had noted, listed, and lifted up the idea of “community.” The task force eventually wrote a mission and vision statement (available as the first item under “About” on this website), and the Senior Minister, Rev. Bill Gupton, summed the mission up in the six-word phrase, “Celebrate Life. Create Community. Seek Justice.” Community was identified as central.
Later still, the first line of the Church Covenant was changed to read, “Love is the spirit of this church.” That loving spirit expresses itself both outside and inside the walls of the church. When expressed among ourselves, it is community.