The West Islip Church of Christ is an independent, local church. While we are not part of any specific Christian denomination, we believe that we are part of the body of Christ, participating together with other churches, believers, denominations, and traditions in–and for–our community.
Churches of Christ have no formal denominational structure, yet we do share a common origin, growing from roots in the Campbell-Stone unity movement of the 18th century. We maintain an ecumenical vision for the church. Among its membership there is a diversity of Christian opinion that the congregation cannot easily label liberal or conservative because it varies from issue to issue. Even so, the West Islip Church has forged a way to live creatively with its diversity without weakening the vitality of the whole congregation and its Christ-centeredness.
Also, we are a congregation that loves to sing and to ring the rafters in worship. We expect new insights from our teachers. We love to see our youth grow and develop in a variety of Christian ways. We value sharing our various interests and turns of life with a deep sense of joy and compassion. We feel a need to open ourselves more as a congregation to Long Island so that others may take advantage of our congregational life and be encouraged to live and grow in Christ.
This fellowship cares for those who have come to us hurting from frustration with other churches, from loneliness, and from grief through disappointed relationships. This congregation sees itself as a pastoring community of Christians, helping people to discover and taste the fruits of Christ’s resurrection.
Nonetheless, we realize our need for trained and experienced ministry. We value imaginative and biblical preaching. We seek pastoral administration with a vision. And we expect to be enriched by our contacts with other churches and community organizations made possible, in part, by our minister.
Our life together includes meeting regularly for prayers of praise and petition, supplying needy families with food all year, sharing ecumenical projects and services with area churches, studying the Bible intensively and regularly, as well as housing and lending support to a day care center run by an independent outside board.
One of the things we have worked through together in the past few years is opening positions of leadership and public participation to women. The congregational goal: to make worship of God the focus of our attention and not the gender of the person leading us.
We are and we offer a community in Christ.
There is one God. He has created our world and all that is in it, and he sustains it with his power and love.
Jesus is the divine Son of God, and at the proper moment in the history of our world he took on flesh and blood. He did this to help us know the Father. During his time on earth he lived a perfect life, redeemed the outcast, healed the sick, and performed other miraculous acts to usher in the Kingdom of God. Jesus was falsely accused of insurrection and blasphemy and the very people he sought to redeem crucified him. Through it all the love of Christ never wavered. He prayed for his torturers and at the point of his death a work was accomplished which removes the stain of sin from humanity. On the third day after his death he was resurrected, and as he rose so shall we. Christ ascended into heaven, and now is our personal mediator with the Father.
The Holy Spirit
After Christ ascended to the Father humanity was given a helper in Christ’s stead. This helper is the Holy Spirit, who guides our hearts and minds in service to the Father. The Holy Spirit is operative in the life of the Christian to allow them growth and understanding beyond their own ability. The Holy Spirit is a gift of grace; it is God’s work on us, and a seal of our salvation.
The Bible is the revelation of God in word to all of humanity. It is some parts theological story, some parts history, some parts poetry, some parts correspondence between early Christians, and some parts revelatory. In all parts it is a light unto our paths.
Humanity, represented in the person of Adam, chose rebellion rather than communion with God. As a repercussion of this choice we live as a fallen people in a fallen world. God is in the process of redeeming this world. Our redemption (our salvation) comes through the justifying work of Jesus Christ, the continual sanctification of the Spirit, and the final glorification given us by the Father. Our faith in this love and work is our acceptance of an unmerited grace, which God freely gives.
Our congregation practices the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper (communion), a meal of great importance to the early church and instituted by Jesus on the night of his betrayal and arrest. It is a time of important corporate fellowship for the church body. Communion is a shared meal with the God of the universe. God is the host of the meal, and his invitation is to the weary and heavy laden. All are invited to participate in the feast he has prepared. Our congregation also practices believer baptism by immersion as part of our faith response and acceptance of God’s grace. We believe baptism to be a transformative moment of empowerment, and closely linked with the reception of the Holy Spirit in one’s Christian walk. All are invited to participate fully in our fellowship and worship regardless of one’s baptismal past and religious heritage.
Worship is the central response of the faith community to its Lord and Master. Worship is done in many valid ways and styles, ours is but one, and our style of worship has grown out of our heritage and our present ecumenical membership. Our worship consists of the classic Christian expressions of one’s heart to God: we sing, pray, read scripture, commune, are extolled with a homily, invite a benediction, read responsively, and sit in silent reflection. Our worship follows the readings of the Revised Common Lectionary, used by many denominations as way to receive the whole counsel of God and maintain a Christ-centered posture. As a unique distinctive our worship singing is primarily done a cappella. This is not done in response to our theology of worship but to preserve a beautiful tradition present within our religious heritage.
It is our mission to love God and neighbor. This most often finds expression in meeting the needs of others within our community. It is our goal to give freely as we have freely received. The church is involved in various ministries that present the healing hand of Christ to those in need. We strongly believe that the church is in existence for the sake of others (see our Ministries page)
Freedom in Service
God’s kingdom is a kingdom of equality. At the foot of the cross the matters that divide the world, such as race, economic status, and gender are nullified. Our areas of Christian service are open to all, including corporate worship roles, deacons of ministry, and church shepherding roles.
God’s church is ripe with diversity. We desire to interact with the wider denominational world to both learn and teach this great faith. Our ministers meet regularly with an interfaith clergy cluster, and our church body participates in interfaith worship services throughout the church liturgical year. We have found great strength in coming together with a diverse group of believers and have found that what unites us is much more prevalent and important than what might divide.
Our church is an autonomous (self governed) congregation that has historical roots in the Stone-Campbell movement of 19th century origin. We have no denominational headquarters, and are not under the guidance of an area diocese or synod. We are simply a Christian church that desires to do the will of the father. We meet regularly to decide upon matters of faith, and we do our best, with God’s help, to be faithful to his calling.