||Our church is part of a larger church family called the Presbyterian Church in the USA. This denomination is part of an even wider family of churches called Presbyterian or Reformed. We are ecumenical, which means we affirm other Christian Churches on their spiritual journeys but we are also clear that we are unique.
We are an historic church tracing our roots back to the reformation fathers: John Calvin and John Knox. People from our heritage originally came from Scotland, Northeast Germany, Holland and Switzerland. Presbyterians were early settlers in the US. In 1776 King George of Britain called the American Revolution “The Presbyterian Rebellion.”
We have a great deal in common with other Christian groups but have our own “flavor.”
God: God is mysterious but very personal. God is beyond our definitions but we know God as a loving Father who provides for us and guides us. We know God as Jesus who is mysteriously divine and human, One to whom we can relate. He is our Lord and Savior. We also know God as the Spirit who gives us love, peace and compassion; who empowers us to be more than we could be on our own. God is revealed to us in many ways.
Covenants: In Scotland, Presbyterians were called “Covenanters.” We are deeply committed to God and each other. We make covenants to be faithful to God and supportive of one another. Relationships are primary to us. Instead of being obedient to a bureaucracy we lay our lives down for God and each other.
Ministry: We affirm that everyone has direct access to God. One does not need a priest as an intermediary…this is called the priesthood of all believers. Presbyterians go deeper in the affirmation of the “ministry of all believers.” We believe that all people are called to a special task in God’s Kingdom through the church. Not only do we ordain pastors, elders and deacons; we believe all people are called to ministry through being baptized into the church community. We all have a God-given purpose, the church family helps us find our “calling” and we support each other in ministry.
The Sovereignty of God: In the Presbyterian Church we affirm that God is Sovereign over every part of our life and all creation. We do not believe in two worlds where there are spiritual and secular dimensions. In our Presbyterian faith we believe in a God in “whom we live and move and have our being.” God is ever-present, we are like the fish and God is like the ocean. God is with us in all moments; in our family life, our political decisions, our business life…..everywhere.” We always “live under the influence” of God’s Spirit who gives us every breath we take. There is nothing outside God’s Kingdom. The spiritual dimension surrounds and permeates the created order. Since there is one integrated world we must live with “integrity.”
The Sacraments: We have only two sacraments, baptism and communion. Both sacraments have to do with belonging…the sacraments are more relational than ritualistic. Our ministers have no power to change a person’s destiny in baptism or to transform the elements of bread and wine in communion. Baptism, following the age old Jewish practice of circumcision, is the sacrament of belonging—Jewish and Christian children can belong before they believe. We baptize infants and adults in the Presbyterian Church, in baptism a person is “adopted” into God’s family. In the Lord’s Supper/Communion we affirm the “real presence of Christ.” God is really present in a special way in the “act” of remembering, as we take the bread and wine,. The presence is among the people, not focused on the “elements” of bread and wine.
The Church: The church is more of an organism than an organization for us. The institution is less important than the people. The buildings are not sacred, the biblical word for “church” actually means people gathered and sent out. The church is not the pastor or denomination but a group of people called together who believe Jesus is Lord and Savior.
The Bible: We are a church that takes the Bible seriously. The scripture is our faith foundation. We study the Bible with serious scholarship and deep reverence.
Salvation: Human beings are in the predicament of falling short. In sin they are separate from each other and God. By Gods’ grace Jesus has built a bridge to God through his sacrificial death and life changing resurrection. Salvation is more than life after death, it is life abundant and eternal. It is a new quality of life lived in relationship with God and others.
Mission and Ministry: Presbyterians are mission minded. Since we believe God rules over all and take seriously the message of the prophets, we are concerned about justice and compassion. We want to share the good news of what God can do for people in Christ but we also demonstrate God’s love as we feed the hungry and heal the sick. We reach out to the world beyond our church and culture.
In the Presbyterian Church USA we affirm the five Great Ends of the Church.
• The proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind
• The shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God.
• The maintenance of divine worship
• The preservation of the truth
• The promotion of social righteousness
• The exhibition of the kingdom of heaven to the world.
The Presbyterian Church USA is a confessional church. Our confessions of faith guide us in our biblical understanding, our conception of God and serve as a guide for our lives. We encourage dialogue and diversity but all stand on our common confessions of faith. We are always reforming. We write new confessions under the guidance of God’s Spirit in the context of changing times. Faith for us is always fresh and new as God guides us.
Presbyterians are thinking people who are encouraged to study and learn. Our pastors are highly educated to help the congregation learn and grow. We have a common faith but encourage questioning and lively conversation. Even though we have different opinions, we respect one another.
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