Who We Are
Who We Are
The Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church is a purposeful community that engages the world with the love of Jesus through the practice of Christian hospitality.
The Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church is a purposeful community being transformed by the love of God and engaging the world with the grace and truth of Jesus through the practice of Christian hospitality. We are called to create a welcoming and healing space where we embrace those who enter into life with us. We seek to cultivate relationships in which we learn, grow, and thrive together. We seek to live out the love of the Triune God through compassion, reconciliation, and justice in our community and the world.
Our shared history & vision: Oikos 20/20
In 2018, we took a deep look into our past and spent time imagining the future God is calling us towards. We committed ourselves to a renewed vision, called Oikos 20/20, a vision deeply rooted in our values .
Hospitality is an essential aspect of God’s love and of our love for our neighbors. God welcomes us into creation, into covenant, and into an abiding relationship through1-2 the Son, Jesus.3 Through eating with “sinners”4 and welcoming children5, Jesus demonstrated God’s hospitality to all people. As followers of Jesus, we are called to reflect this posture of hospitality both individually and corporately6. Scripture provides many examples, such as when Abraham welcomed the three strangers7, and Israel was called to welcome strangers in their midst8. Jesus showed those who wish to follow him that if they are serious about being his disciples, hospitality is a non-negotiable9. Therefore, the Church is charged with being a place where all are welcome.
The Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church (AACRC) was founded on the principle of covenantal fidelity to one another, in the hope that the community would grow with and into the abundant love of God in Christ. This ethos led to openness from the beginning, and the church embraced both sojourners and Ann Arbor residents, on campus and in our neighborhoods, and sometimes released them to the world. This openness remains one of the church’s strengths, and today we build on that foundation with a renewed vision of hospitality.
The biblical view of hospitality is embodied in the use of the Greek word oikos in the New Testament10. The word oikos means “house” or “household,” but it goes beyond simply a building or a collection of people. Oikos is people dwelling intentionally in relationship for a shared purpose. Oikos refers to the deep conviction that, when we welcome someone into our house or church, we treat them like they belong—because in the kingdom of God, they do belong11. In a world where isolation, brokenness, and loneliness are all too common, we welcome them to fully dwell in a community whose members need each other and respond to those needs through covenantal fidelity. We welcome them to see themselves as uniquely created in God’s image, and through embracing this image to reveal more of God to us.
When we take on the mission of Oikos we share in the vocation of Christ Jesus12. We embody the values of love that Jesus taught and encourage each other. We see our world as being renewed through God’s Spirit, and we hear and respond to God’s call for the restoration and renewal of all things. We do this in part by making room for all, just as Christ welcomed all, and just as Christ welcomed us. We work out the call to “love every person as our neighbor”13 by meeting, working with, living with, and worshiping with those persons most commonly excluded from the “neighborhood.” In this radical community we imitate Christ in seeking out neighbors and becoming neighbors to those we meet. We welcome these neighbors, share life with them, serve them, learn from them, and are led by them. Together we are transformed by the love of Christ and forever changed by his grace.14 God is bigger than categories or boundaries—God’slove knows no limit.15
1Genesis 1:28, 2Exodus 19:5-6, 3John 151-17, 4Luke 19:1-10, 5Matthew 19:13-15, 6Luke 10:36-37, 14:12-14, 15-24, 7Genesis 18:1-15, 8Leviticus 19:33-34, 9John 13:12-17, 10Acts 2:46-47, 5:42, 11Matthew 18:10-14, 12John 21:15-17, 13 Mark 12:31, 14 Romans 8:11, 15 Ephesians 2:14
Jesus is our Lord & Savior – We gather in the name of Jesus. We believe that through Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension, God is redeeming the world. In response to this wonderful gift of reconciliation, we gladly offer ourselves to Jesus and submit to his Lordship to participate in God’s work of reconciliation, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible is our Story – We learn and teach about God through the story of the Bible. This story is a special revelation from God about who God is and who we are. In its Old and New Testaments, we are shown that we belong to a loving God and are told the story of redemption, grace, and peace. This story is also our story. We lament with the Psalms, we grow angry with the prophets, and we find hope in the good news of Jesus.
Worship is our Life – We gather together every week to encounter the Triune God of Grace. All are welcome into this worship space, where we are invited to come as we are, for Christ welcomes all.
We give thanks to God in song, prayer, and word. We hear and participate in the story of God’s love. We gather around the table to celebrate the Eucharist. This is the meal Jesus gave as a sign that, just as he loved the world and gave himself for it, now we also give ourselves for the healing of the world.
Covenant connects us – We are a community founded on the principle that every person is created in God’s image and thereby endowed with inherently equal worth. In this context, we commit to a covenant of fidelity to each other. We commit to fully live life together: a life of healing, love, and care for one another.
We are committed to learn about each other, to explore complex questions and seek answers under God’s guidance, to celebrate our God-given differences, and to center our lives in Jesus Christ as our Lord and teacher. We commit to face new challenges together with confidence in God and united in common cause.
We are committed to being a healing community where all, members and nonmembers, can find healing for hurts, pains, addictions, and dysfunctions and move towards wholeness of body and soul.
We are committed to accepting everyone as God has accepted us, to encouraging authenticity with each other, and to promoting justice, peace, reconciliation, and compassion as a way of life.
We are committed to being a liberating community that encourages and helps people to grow in personal holiness and to live in the power of God’s Spirit; that encourages a spiritual lifestyle that is attuned to the presence of the Holy Spirit; that encourages people to bridge differences; and that encourages people to learn and practice new habits that are life-giving and life-nurturing.
Wherever we are as people of faith or a people seeking faith, we promise to walk together in the life to which Jesus calls us.
Redemption is our calling – For God so loved the world that God gave the world Jesus. Now, Jesus calls the Church to give of itself and participate in the healing and redemption of the world. Therefore, we are a community that serves the world and one another, longs for justice and works for change, seeks to care for creation and all its inhabitants, and makes room for all to experience the transformative love of God in Christ. We do this because we have the sure hope that God will make all things new. We invite all to join us in this good work.
Who we are
“Once we were no people, now we are God’s people.” –1 Peter 2:10
We are a faith community that is part of the Christian Reformed Church of North America. We subscribe to the ecumenical creeds of the historic Christian faith and the historic confessions of the Reformed Church.
We are Christian because we have committed ourselves to following Jesus, we trust in him for our salvation, and we gratefully serve him as Lord.
We are Reformed because we are part of that historic branch of the Christian church that follows the teachings of 16th-century reformer John Calvin, who worked to return Christianity to its biblical roots.
We are Ecumenical because we believe that the Church is people and not walls. We welcome and desire to partner in all God’s work with other traditions in the name of Jesus.
Our creeds, confessions, and contemporary testimonies provide a rich window into the Christian faith that we embrace at Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church.
Our church subscribes to Our World Belongs To God – A Contemporary Testimony and the Belhar Confession
Wherever you are on your faith journey, we’d love to walk with you.