New Member Classes
We are glad you have found us online. If you do not have a church home in New York City, we encourage you to consider becoming a member of this congregation.
We also invite you to join us on Sundays for one of our three worship services (two during the summer months) and for our Christian Education Hour. Your presence adds strength to our praise.
We are a community of 780 active adult members, approximately 60 percent women/40 percent men, plus 185 children. Our largest and growing contingent includes many young families between the ages of 26 and 45. The second largest contingent is over 65, followed by 56-65, then 46-55, with fifty-two who are 25 years of age and younger. Our members come from all over Manhattan with a fairly even split between the East and the West side of the city. People from Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, New Jersey and Connecticut also worship with us and participate in our ministries. In addition, we have members living in London, Paris, Milan, Hong Kong, and Tokyo.
If you are interested in membership, or becoming a Christian, our pastors would be delighted to talk with you to discuss whatever questions you might have.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am thinking about membership. What should I do?
Please speak with one of our pastors and register for an Inquirer’s Seminar. The six-hour seminar is offered in two alternating monthly formats—Saturday from 9 am until 3:30 pm, or on two consecutive Wednesday evenings in the month, from 6:30 until 9:30 pm. Both formats include a light meal. Professional childcare will be provided if arrangements are made prior to the seminar. Contact Rev. Don Wahlig or phone him at 212-288-8920 x 242. He will be glad to register you and answer any questions you may have.
Who comes to an Inquirers’ Seminar?
Typically, a class will include people from a broad spectrum of faith experiences and traditions. Often one or two in the class will have not yet been baptized. Others, though baptized as infants, have never made a public profession of faith. Still others grew up in a Christian church, drifted away from participation in a church community, but have decided to renew their Christian commitments and are looking for help in doing that. Frequently, classes will include people from Roman Catholic or Orthodox backgrounds who, because of personal circumstances, are looking for a new church home that is similar in worship style but more reformed and open in theology and practice. We also have lifelong active church members, whether Presbyterian or other Protestant traditions, who come wanting to transfer their membership to MAPC. MAPC is made up of a diversity of Christians. All are welcome!
What happens in an Inquirers’ Seminar?
The seminars begin by exploring the basic theological affirmation that all Christians confess: “Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.” This question is also the only doctrinal statement required for membership in the Presbyterian Church. Using contemporary and more often than not non-religious language, the group explores the layers of meaning behind the words “Jesus,” “Christ,” “Lord,” and “Savior,” making connections with contemporary life. From there the seminar turns to a brief history of the Church from New Testament times through the division between the Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Roman Catholic) churches in the 11th century. Issues and events leading to the Reformation in the 16th century and the major issues that shaped the Presbyterian Church’s faith and creeds are also discussed. The conversation explores what it means to be “Reformed” and how this tradition fits within the larger Christian household of faith. We then explore what makes Presbyterians unique in terms of theology, mission, and governance. We look at several major theological themes that have shaped the Presbyterian denomination since the Reformation, e.g., the sovereignty of God, the priesthood of all believers, the paramount role of scripture, the centrality of worship, mission, education and service, and the role of personal conscience in all matters of doctrine. Finally, we turn to the Scriptural basis for the Presbyterian understanding of church governance and ordination. The final portion of the seminar explores life and membership at MAPC. This includes a bit of our history, with special emphasis on the ministries of the congregation and our programs of education, nurture, outreach and witness. The seminar concludes with a discussion of the responsibilities of membership, and an invitation to unite with the congregation.
Must I be ready to become a member to participate in a seminar?
Absolutely not! Being ready to join the church is not an expectation of those who attend a seminar. That is why it is called an “Inquirers’ Seminar.” We want participants to be free to think through membership at MAPC and what is involved with that commitment. Each seminar regularly includes several people who are still exploring their faith, or for other reasons are not yet prepared to join the church. We encourage these people to continue to worship with us and take part in our ministries, telling them that should the time come when they are ready to join, we will gladly welcome them into membership. We welcome anyone who is truly “inquiring” about these various dimensions of the faith! And, we welcome last-minute attendance. Though we appreciate a phone call or e-mail to let us know you plan to attend, it is not absolutely necessary.
If I am ready to join MAPC what do I do?
Contact Rev. Don Wahlig and register for a seminar. At the end of the seminar, an invitation to join the church will be extended. We will help you determine which of the various means of joining is appropriate for you. If you have not been baptized, we will schedule a date for your baptism and include additional time for you to talk with one of the pastors for baptismal preparation. You will then be ready to be received into church membership upon your first public profession of faith and baptism. If you are baptized but never confirmed, we will welcome you upon your first pubic profession of faith. If you have been baptized and confirmed but have not been active in a congregation for some time, we will receive you into membership by your reaffirmation of faith. If you have been an active member in another church, we will receive you by transfer of membership from another congregation. In this instance, we will write the appropriate letters necessary to complete that transfer. In preparation for being formally received into membership, we will invite you to meet with members of the church’s governing body (the Session) on a Sunday morning prior to being welcomed into membership during one of the morning worship services.
I was baptized in another church; do I need to be baptized again?
No. Presbyterians recognized the baptisms of all Christian churches, whether received as an infant or an adult. We do not re-baptize.