Who Are We?
Hiram Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is a historic congregation related to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Christian Church in Ohio (Disciples of Christ). www.ccinoh.org
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is a mainline Protestant Denomination with international offices in Indianapolis, Indiana. Take a look at www.disciples.org.
Our congregation has been in Hiram since 1835 and was one of the early congregations in the Campbell-Stone Movement that became the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The Hiram congregation and other northeast Ohio congregations partnered in 1850 to form the Hiram Eclectic Institute that later became Hiram College. President James A. Garfield was a regular preacher for the congregation when he was president of Hiram College in the 1850’s and 1860’s.
Our congregation includes about 250 members from a large variety of backgrounds and vocations, some with families dating back many generations in the area and some new to the area. Our average worship attendance is about 120 per Sunday.
In response to the call of Jesus Christ, Hiram Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) seeks to reach out to our community and the world with the transforming love of God for all people and all of creation.
Our worship includes the Lord’s Supper each week. This communion service is open: everyone who has faith in God in Jesus Christ is welcome to participate in communion.
We are an “open membership” congregation. We invite Christians into membership in the congregation regardless of form of baptism or prior church affiliation. No classes are required for membership. We practice “believer’s baptism by immersion” as a rule but also occasionally practice infant baptism in recognition of the diversity of our membership.
Hiram Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is a caring community of people committed to growing in faith and knowledge, expanding our understanding of God’s transforming love and grace through Jesus Christ for all people and all of creation.
We have been a faith presence in Hiram for more than 170 years. The average age of people in our congregation is younger than the community we serve. We are a congregation with many gifts to share. We are committed to teaching and learning. We are committed to a style of ministry that is joyful, inclusive and rooted in the traditions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
We believe strongly in the importance of education and strive for a thoughtful, informed approach to Christian faith practices and beliefs.
While we strive to be followers of Jesus Christ, we are respectful and accepting of other faith traditions. We are accepting of diversity while sharing common faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
As our General church vision statement affirms, We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.
As a community we have many members whose lives are rooted in nature and creation. We seek to encourage each other and our community to develop lifestyles that take seriously the concepts of environmental stewardship and sustainable living.
We serve a community that includes, but is not limited to, northern Portage County, southern Geauga County and Hiram College. Our congregation provides worship, Christian education, youth ministry, senior services, counseling, fellowship opportunities, outreach and other activities focused on meeting the needs of this community. In addition, our facilities function as a community center with many community groups meeting regularly in our buildings.
Our Current Specific Goals
1. The Aging and Elderly Population.
We anticipate that the elderly population in our community will grow. In light of that we will look for new ways to include this aging population in our church’s life.
We will evaluate our physical plant in light of this growing population with an eye toward improving accessibility for aging persons and others with physical disabilities.
We will need to strengthen our ability to reach out to and care for our aging and homebound members. This may include improving our web site and audiovisual resources.
We will seek to find ways to meet the social needs of an increasingly active aging population.
The Lunch Bunch already meets some of these needs. The same is true for the Parish Nurse Ministry. How can we own and strengthen these ministries?
2. Spiritual Growth
We are a community of people who are committed to growing in the awareness of God’s presence in our lives. Toward that end we will:
Provide one or more annual local retreat opportunities focused on prayer and spiritual growth.
Encourage more participation in Christian Church in Ohio (Disciples of Christ) spiritual life retreats at Camp Christian for families, women, youth and men.
Provide new small group opportunities where people can connect with each other and God.
Offer teaching and learning opportunities in environmental stewardship, sustainable living and healthy lifestyle choices that will improve spiritual life and the general quality of life.
Improve our newsletter, website and other communication tools to effectively inform our community of all such spiritual growth opportunities.
3. Youth Ministry
We will strengthen and expand our present youth ministries.
Expanding adult involvement in youth ministry and offering appropriate training for adults
Strengthening support for mission trips for youth
Providing opportunities for youth leader development in all areas of our church life.
Providing opportunities for relationship building across generations
Strengthening congregational support for church camp scholarships
Provide new opportunities for youth outside the congregation to engage in our youth activities
4. Family Oriented Educational Events
One of the expressed needs in the community we serve is the need to strengthen family life. Our congregation will provide learning opportunities to address this need. These may be offered by our members or by outside professionals. We may consider the following:
An annual seminar or educational opportunity focused on improving parenting skills
A seminar or class on financial planning and management for families
A seminar or class for the community focused on sustainable living and conservation
Occasional family nature hikes offered by the naturalists in our congregation
Other events or programs focused on strengthening family life in the community
5. Hiram Farm Facility for People with Autism
Because of the availability of land and other resources, and because of the exponential growth in the incidence of autism in the United States, we will offer support and guidance in the development of a facility in Hiram to serve people with autism. This facility will be related to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). It will be a working farm with a day habilitation program and residential housing for adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The facility will offer a variety of supports and services to adults, youth and children with ASD and their families. The programs may include art activities, summer day camp for youth, extended school year for school-age children, respite care, therapeutic horseback riding, special Olympics or other programs in need of volunteer assistance.
In addition to these stated goals, this facility will be a model of environmentally sustainable development, and will develop and practice sustainable agriculture.
6. Focus on Fair Trade
Fair Trade is an organized social movement and market-based model of international trade which promotes the payment of a fair price as well as social and environmental standards in areas related to the production of a wide variety of goods. The movement focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts, clothing, and foods such as coffee, cocoa, tea, etc…
The concept of Fair Trade offers excellent possibilities to teach and learn about issues related to poverty and about how our lifestyle choices affect the poor of the world.
We will partner with Hiram College students to sell Fair Trade products in our community. This may involve providing space, volunteer time, etc. as this ministry develops.
We will develop relationships of support and encouragement with college students centered around this ministry
We will educate ourselves about issues related to Fair Trade
We will promote the sale of Fair Trade products in our community area churches.