Columbia Hope Church looks to live up to core values

Sunday, April 12, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

Columbia Hope Church:

What they believe

Columbia Hope Church is the newest Episcopal church in Missouri. The congregation held its first public worship service on Feb. 8.

The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which traces its roots to the Church of England. The Episcopal Church describes itself as walking a “middle way” between Roman Catholicism and Protestant faith traditions.

Episcopalian worship services are similar to the Roman Catholic Mass. There is a celebration of the sacraments, but members do not recognize a single authority such as the pope. They follow the Book of Common Prayer – a collection of worship services and belief statements used by all churches in the Anglican Communion.

In addition to its status as an Episcopal church, Columbia Hope Church’s character is also defined by seven core values the congregation intends to live out:  hospitality, spirituality, discipleship, environmental sustainability, compassion, justice and creativity.

Pastor Heather McCain said she settled on these values after much prayer and meditation as she tried to discern what was important as the congregation developed.

Another goal of the congregation is to practice "radical hospitality” by welcoming every person without reservations, without questions.

"It means that when someone walks in the door, they're bringing their full self with their background, their roots, their tradition, how they grew up," McCain said.  "That full self is going to be acknowledged, recognized, appreciated and loved. They won't have to hide any parts of themselves for them to be accepted here."

What that means in practicality, McCain said, is that the congregation will be open to change and new ideas, based on who comes for Sunday services.

Those interested in getting more information about the church can go to

By the Numbers

Number of Episcopal congregations in Missouri: 98

Number of members in Missouri: 25,024 (as of 2007; last year data available)

Number of members in U.S.: 2,116, 749 (as of 2007; last year data available)

Sources: Episcopal Church in the United States; Diocese of Missouri; Diocese of Western Missouri

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