Spirituality comes in many forms and expressions. At Shadow Rock, you’ll find people from many different faith traditions (or no tradition at all) coming together as one. Some bring their Bibles to Sunday worship, others have never cracked one open in their lives. We have folks who prefer to meditate and chant, and others who shout “Amen!” during the sermon. Our different spiritual practices, beliefs, and experiences blend us together into a rich and beautifully woven crazy quilt. Our spiritual focus is less about the content of a faith and more about the process of faith for one and all. Our other core values are a part of that quilt, too – inclusion and justice are an integral way we experience the Spirit of Life and Love among us.
What Do We Believe?
We believe God’s love embraces all, regardless of gender, race, age, ability, or sexual orientation and that every person is unique and unrepeatable.
We know that to understand the Bible means taking it seriously but not literally.
We understand what Jesus had to do with justice.
We nurture children through innovative teaching and action and help adults expand their faith.
As a community we strive to be on the cutting edge.
We covenant one with another to be that sensitive and responsive part of human society which perceives and responds to God’s newest thrust in the midst of history. The uniqueness and greatness of every life is radically affirmed. Our task together demands a comprehensive view of life, always pointed intentionally to the future. Our life together involves us individually and corporately in study and worship, always maintaining a proper balance between proclamation of the Word about life with the deeds which make life good. Those activities which eliminate age barriers, cut across religious dogma, reduce cultural parochialisms, and engage secular people with life’s ultimate possibilities will be worthy of our best efforts.
The Shadow Rock Covenant guides the life of our congregation. It helps to frame and structure decisions about what we are called to do. It was written at our founding by people who cared deeply about the kind of church we wanted to become. Lots of organizations have statements like this – mission statements or visions. Sometimes, despite good intentions, these statements gather dust and never live up to the spirit in which they are written. We try to keep our Covenant alive by continuing to talk about it and celebrate it during worship.
What does it mean?
We covenant one with another to be that sensitive and responsive part of human society which perceives and responds to God’s newest thrust in the midst of history.
This sentence talks about our relationship with history. We want the church to be on the edge, discerning where God is at work to bring peace and justice to humankind and joining that work ourselves.
The uniqueness and greatness of every life is radically affirmed.
You’ll hear Shadow Rockers talk about people being unique and unrepeatable. This spirit drives us to welcome every person as an expression of the holy. At Shadow Rock, and at many congregations that are part of the United Church of Christ, you’ll hear this Sunday morning welcome: “No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!”
Our task together demands a comprehensive view of life, always pointed intentionally to the future.
We have lots of work to do! We try to do that work with eyes wide open – seeing clearly the good parts of life and the bad parts of life. We help one another celebrate life despite its ups and downs… and sometimes BECAUSE of its ups and downs.
Our life together involves us individually and corporately in study and worship, always maintaining a proper balance between proclamation of the Word about life with the deeds which make life good.
This part of the Covenant talks about balance:
*Balance between individual action and communal action
*Balance between study and worship
*Balance between talking and doing
*Balance between individual action and communal action
This isn’t easy! We have seasons of life that pull us in one direction or another. The Covenant reminds us that life is complicated. Everyone has a lot going on, and that’s OK. As a church community, this part of the Covenant helps us balance our life together, making time for action, worship, and study.
Those activities which eliminate age barriers, cut across religious dogma, reduce cultural parochialisms, and engage secular people with life’s ultimate possibilities will be worthy of our best efforts.
What’s worthy of the best of us? This last sentence gives a possible answer: activities that break down all kinds of barriers that separate us from other people.
The Wedgeblade symbol is found throughout Shadow Rock’s campus, decor, and literature. This symbol points to a faith that calls us to consider what it means to be in right relationship to history and inspires us to be change agents of history that brings God’s love, peace and justice into our world.
That portion to the left of the vertical line of the Wedgeblade represents an orientation to life which is dominated by living in the past. This is an orientation that is satisfied with the way things are and accepting circumstances and conditions of the status quo.
An orientation to life which is characterized by hope and living for the future is represented by the portion to the right of the vertical line. When we live in this orientation we are inspired by visionaries and dreamers.
The tip of the Wegeblade represents the point of creative tension where life can be most hopeful and most demanding as we live in the interface of the present moment and the next emerging future moment. This is the place of the unknown where metaphorically speaking crucifixion and resurrection happens in every moment. This is the place for social pioneers, risk takers, and explorers who are ready to lead others and work in the unknown.
Sometimes we live in the comfort and security of the past and sometimes we make a jump toward the future and dare to walk into the unknown, trust the goodness of life, and work for positive social change for the good of all.
The Wedgeblade beckons us to orient ourselves to the future. Shadow Rock as a congregation strives to equip its members to live in this most risky and tenuous of places, the tip off the Wedgeblade which is the “cutting edge” of history. We trust that when we live on the cutting edge there will be pain but ultimately because God is there, there will be joy.
Shadow Rock United Church of Christ
12861 N. 8th Avenue | Phoenix, AZ 85029
Rev. Ken Heintzelman, Senior Minister
Church Office Hours:
Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.