House Faith Names
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House Faith Names
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Olive Wood Cross

Olive Wood CrossEach House can be named after a Biblical or Early Church title or name used for Jesus, rather than by saints names which have come to identify local churches. For example, a House name might be "The Lamb House" at St Mark's Bebington. The choice of house faith names would be one of the first tasks of the newly formed House and would require the consensus of the group and the approval of the clergy. Names or titles for the Father or the Holy Spirit may also be used.

Early Church Titles

The Lamb of God x The Savior x The Resurrection x The Truth The Root of Jesse x The Wisdom of God x Emmanuel x The Christ The Way of Life x The Creator x The Gracious Spirit The Healer x The Holy One x The Heavenly Father x The Fish The Anchor x The Shepherd x The Morning Star x The Governor The Redeemer x The Dayspring x The Light of the World

Household Sacramental Acts

Communion WafersHousehold sacramental acts including Baptism and Holy Communion have their place in the Christian household church. What place would the sacraments and ceremonies of the Church have in the Household of Faith? In the New Testament, many of the household sacramental acts occurred in the Christian home. In a time before the institutional church had found its present form, the Communion, Baptism preparation and Biblical teaching were at the core of the Household ministry. These and other sacraments such as Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, and Confession/Absolution reside in the local church today. If there is no local church in an area, there would be no reason why these sacramental acts could not be practiced once again in the Household of Faith. There will be variations across the church and these parameters could be drawn up by the bishop and clergy for each situation.

House Church of Christ

Corner churchThe House Church of Christ functions as a domestic spiritual center with clear Christian ethics and a peace-filled atmosphere. "What are the roles of the church leaders, the bishop, clergy, the house leader, the host and the members in the house church of Christ?" The House is connected to and is part of the larger Christian church. Like the corner church, it is a place for continuous faith development, with God at the center of all that it does. It is guided by clear Christian ethics and teaching and set under the authority of the bishop guided by the hand of the Holy Spirit. It is joyful, prayerful and forgiving. The house church of Christ is a "domestic Church" which is Christ-centered and therefore peace-filled, caring, generous and spiritual. Though connected to the wider Christian church it is still a separate entity. The house is intended not as a drain upon the local church but support and stimulus to it. It is meant to be a mechanism for not only building up its members but also drawing in others. This model will work differently in urban and rural settings. The bishop of the diocese in which the house is situated would know and approve of the formation of houses there.

House Faith Development

Household GroupThe house faith development as a church group and its choice of an identifying name encourage healthy diversity. The house of faith seeks to encourage healthy diversity by including a spread of ages, and the representation of different racial and cultural groups. We know from the names of house members greeted by Saint Paul in Galatians 3.28, "So in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." These groups included Jews, Greeks, Romans, men and women, gentiles, Gauls, black and white persons, slaves and free men and women and so on. We encourage, as he did, the gifts of different ethnic and cultural groups to be shared in the house, as they undoubtedly were in the Early Church. Members of other denominations are welcome to be part of the house faith. Several generations should also be included as extended Christian homes did in the Early Church including all ages from grandparents down to the smallest child. This is ideal but we recognize that, for example, a group of teenagers may be more comfortable meeting together with their leadership than mixed in with older people. The house would agree to meet weekly during the first two years at a time decided by the group during the week or weekend, but not clashing with worship services at the local Church. Retirees or shift workers might prefer to meet during the daytime. Working adults or teenagers might gather in the evenings. Children might be part of an adult meeting with their teaching or as a separate group with an adult Leader and Host on a Saturday. All of these agreements would be reflected in their Household Covenant.

House Faith Leadership

Fish symbol of early churchThe house faith leadership and the natural authority of the host are important to the house's success. House faith leadership will normally be a different person to the host so that there will be no conflict of duties. The host's main concern is the environment for the house but the leader's concern is the running of the house itself. The leader is to be a respected and trustworthy person with natural authority and the ability to lead. The host will be a person who is willing to open their home to the household of faith for a gathering every week. Light refreshments may be provided before or after a meeting but not on an elaborate scale. An occasional shared meal to which all could contribute a dish may be part of the gathering. A distinctive marker may be placed on a street sign, a door, in a window, or on a post box to indicate the location of the House of Faith. The sign could be made available to Houses when they register.

House Clergy Role

Bishop Tom and ClergyThe household clergy's role and support to attend houses every month is of vital importance for the health of the Household of Faith. The Clergy in whose parish or area the House is situated would be requested to give his support to the formation of Household of Faith there. One cleric might have oversight of up to ten Houses of Faith when there is no institutional church in an area. Clergy will generally not attend Houses once they are formed except to celebrate a communion service perhaps one week in four. If problems arise, the clergy in consultation with the bishop may name a new leader, host or location or set up another mechanism for resolution of a dispute or when necessary close the house altogether.

Equipping Role

Clergyman CollarThe clergy's role is to equip the leaders, train up new leaders and retain personal oversight of the houses. Each House will register with its parish and diocesan affiliation. The clergy and his family could be part of a house of faith themselves but not take leadership there. Leaders could be selected and supported by the clergy who will meet with them regularly to talk about house activities.

House Faith Ceremonies

Certain introductory house faith ceremonies would be the initial priority including the adoption of a name. The event would end with closing prayers together. The first meeting of the Household of Faith would do several things

"House Faith Names"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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