There are several opportunities to get to know more about Pullen, from calling a pastor for a one-on-one discussion to jumping right into a mission group or Sunday school class. Consider joining Pullenites for a casual Wednesday Night Dinner and Program, or visiting in members’ homes through Foyers. There are a variety of ways to socialize with others both new to the congregation and those who have been here for years.
Here a few of the most commonly asked questions guests have about our church community.
What kind of Baptist church is Pullen Memorial?
We are a Baptist congregation that holds dear the four fragile freedoms upon which Baptists were founded: soul freedom, Bible freedom, religious freedom, and church freedom. Historically, Pullen has had a strong commitment to meaningful and thoughtful worship and active lay involvement in social justice ministries. Our approach to religious education values asking the questions of the faith while affirming the basic tenets of the faith. Pullen is committed to mutual care and respect for one another, and all of God’s creation. For more information about Pullen’s history, please see A Short History of Pullen.
How do I join Pullen? What are the expectations for membership?
Pullen’s constitution states that people may join our fellowship by the transfer of letter, believer’s baptism, or a statement of faith. Pullen accepts the traditions and rituals of other faiths and does not require a person coming from another faith tradition to be re-baptized. The expectations for membership at Pullen depend upon each individual’s conscience. We trust our members to interpret for themselves how they wish to participate in the life of their faith community, but we also recognize that the ministries of the church are dependent on the commitment of members in terms of time, energy, and resources. We do believe that it is important for people to familiarize themselves with who Pullen is and the ministries that Pullen has historically been committed to before joining our church.
There are several ways for those interested in membership to explore our church. Pullen 101 is a periodic Sunday morning option that meets from 9:30-10:30 AM and provides an overview to Pullen’s identity as well as its mission and ministries. Welcome to Pullen is another opportunity for visitors and those interested in Pullen to get to know other Pullen members over a shared meal. This group meets the third Thursday of every month at the home of a church member. Welcome to Pullen is an informal question and answer session that is meant to help new people make personal connections. For more information call the church office. Foyers are another fun and informative way to become better acquainted with the people at Pullen. See question 7 for more information about Foyers or go to the above link.
What does Pullen believe about God? Jesus? The Bible?
A wide variety of theological perspectives can be found at Pullen. Any statement about what “Pullen believes” is almost guaranteed to do an injustice to the personal beliefs of our members. However, there are some theological themes that are predominant in our community. We stress that God is a God who creates and loves, not judges and condemns. We emphasize the life and teachings of Jesus as central to our faith experience. We affirm that the Bible is a primary source for our beliefs and practice, but it is a book to be engaged, not worshiped. These, and many other theological convictions, can be seen most readily in the language and spirit of our worship experiences.
How many members does Pullen have?
Pullen has approximately 700 members. 450-500 of those folks are considered active members, meaning that those people attend at least one church gathering a month.
How do I get on the newsletter mailing list?
PullenNews is published on the first Sunday of each month and is distributed during worship on the first Sunday as well as via e-mail and Facebook. We’d be happy to add you to the email list. Simply contact Dana Deaton at firstname.lastname@example.org. A weekly update is also distributed via email at the beginning of each week.
How do decisions get made at Pullen?
As a Baptist church, Pullen has a congregational polity. This means that the whole congregation is the ultimate decision-maker. Our church constitution provides the operational framework for this process. In handling day-to-day matters, staff, committees, and councils make a variety of decisions that affect their various areas of responsibility in the life of the church. However, when an issue is raised that affects the entire congregation—such as the budget, hiring of staff, ordination of ministers, capital campaigns, and other matters that affect how we do our life together in significant ways—those questions are put before the entire congregation for a vote. Except where the church constitution requires a greater percentage, a majority vote at a congregational meeting is required to make these decisions. The Coordinating Council, which includes representatives of all of the other councils and some at-large members, sets the agenda for each congregational meeting.
Pullen is generally known as a church that believes in processing issues thoroughly so that all voices can be heard. Typically, we hold “town meetings” prior to a congregational vote so that the question under consideration can be discussed in some detail before a decision is made. Although our congregational meetings still operate with voting and Roberts’ Rules of Order, many of our committees and some councils work hard to make decisions by consensus.
How can I get involved at Pullen?
Most people first encounter our church when they attend a worship service. We recommend that a person who is interested in getting involved attend a Sunday school class held prior to worship each Sunday. There are classes for children and youth and a variety of adult classes that have different formats and topics of study. You may choose to attend any of them and move from one to the other as needed. Participation in one of these classes provides contact with a small group of people and an environment in which to get to know them while wrestling with questions of faith. Pullen 101 is a periodic Sunday school class for those exploring Pullen that can be a very helpful orientation. See question 2 for more information on Pullen 101 or go to the above link.
Another way to get to know Pullen people is by participating in a Foyer Dinner Group.
At Pullen, Foyer Dinner Groups are social gatherings with a goal to build community. Participating households (adults only or mixed – adults and children) are assigned annually to a Foyer group. Each household hosts the rest of the group, usually 6-8 people, for a simple meal and conversation, providing a setting for new friendships to be formed.
Watch for publicity in the Sunday update and newsletter to sign-up for foyers each year in the Fall. Once assigned to a group, those in each Foyer group schedule their own gatherings when they can match their calendars.
FYI: Foyers are one aspect of Pullen’s ministry of reconciliation in conjunction with the Community of the Cross of Nails centered at Coventry Cathedral in England.
Many Pullen people believe that the best way to get know us is to attend our Wednesday night dinner and programs. Held on Wednesday evenings during the academic year, Wednesday night activities include an inexpensive meal followed by one-hour programs for children, youth, and adults ending at 7:30 PM. Over dinner there is time to socialize and get to know others. During the summer months, only one Wednesday night dinner is held each month.
If you are interested in serving the church, volunteer opportunities abound. Although members of our councils must be church members, participation in our music ministries, committees, and mission groups, assisting with children’s and youth activities, and most other roles in the church do not require church membership. Most committees have a defined membership that is set by our nominating process, but all of them are open to input and assistance from new persons. You may simply read the PullenNews (bi-monthly) or Update (weekly), determine when a group that draws your interest is meeting, and attend. You may also contact a staff member to talk about your areas of interest and how to get involved.
We are aware that breaking into a new congregation is not easy for many people, so we try to ease that transition as best we can. Pullen staff and members are always happy to provide advice or assistance if you decide that you want to become involved in our faith community.
What does Pullen offer my children and youth?
At Pullen, our goal is to create a safe, caring environment where our children and youth can learn and grow on their faith journey. On Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings, we offer age-appropriate activities that are structured to teach how our faith informs our relationships with each other, our community and the world. We have many periodic activities which help our children and youth learn more about those relationships through hands-on experiences. We also provide safe, fun social activities in which our children and youth can participate. For more specifics on activities for children and youth, check out Children’s Programs and Youth Programs.
What is worship like at Pullen?
Worship at Pullen seeks to provide a sacred space for all.
Informed by the seasons of the Christian Year and use of the Revised Common Lectionary, worship services are purposefully planned to assist the congregation in gathering for worship, experiencing and responding to God, and going forth to minister. Worshipers are engaged as active participants in multi-sensory expressions, including sound and silence, spoken word and song, visual and liturgical arts.
For more information about Pullen’s worship go to Worship Traditions on this website.