What We Believe
We are part of the Presbyterian Church (USA), which is a mainline protestant Christian denomination. Presbyterians have a couple of things that make us unique. First, we believe in representative leadership. Our pastor works collaboratively with a group of members who are elected to lead the congregation in everything from building management to personnel to worship planning to mission giving and participation. These leaders are called Elders, and the word “Presbyterian“ actually comes from the Greek word for elder (“presbuteros”). Our pastors are also considered elders, called “teaching elders” which means they have been trained and ordained specifically for preaching and conducting baptism and communion. At every level of our denomination’s organization, Presbyterians believe deeply that we are stronger and better able to listen to the Holy Spirit when we have many voices represented at the table.
Second, Presbyterians are part of the Reformed theological tradition. This is a strand of theology that grew out of the Reformation in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. Much of our theology has grown from the work of John Calvin, a French lawyer who did most of his ministry in Geneva. (You may notice our meeting room is named Geneva Hall. Westminster Hall also gets its name from an important moment in our history.) While Reformed theology is always being, well, reformed, it places a high value on God’s mercy and world-changing love for us and recognizes that humans are always in need of God’s forgiveness and redemption. All of us humans are in the same boat and the ground at the foot of the cross of Christ is level. We believe that it is Jesus alone who redeems and calls us to faith and our lives are our grateful response as we share the hope we have found. As 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because [God] first loved us”. Presbyterians believe it is an essential part of our faith to work for peace, justice, and hope as we offer our lives in service of the healing and new life that the world so desperately needs.
Brief Statement of Faith from the PC(USA)
In life and in death we belong to God.
Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit,
we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel,
whom alone we worship and serve.
We trust in Jesus Christ,
Fully human, fully God.
Jesus proclaimed the reign of God:
preaching good news to the poor
and release to the captives,
teaching by word and deed
and blessing the children,
healing the sick
and binding up the brokenhearted,
eating with outcasts,
and calling all to repent and believe the gospel.
Unjustly condemned for blasphemy and sedition,
Jesus was crucified,
suffering the depths of human pain
and giving his life for the sins of the world.
God raised this Jesus from the dead,
vindicating his sinless life,
breaking the power of sin and evil,
delivering us from death to life eternal.
We trust in God,
whom Jesus called Abba, Father.
In sovereign love God created the world good
and makes everyone equally in God’s image
male and female, of every race and people,
to live as one community.
But we rebel against God; we hide from our Creator.
Ignoring God’s commandments,
we violate the image of God in others and ourselves,
accept lies as truth,
exploit neighbor and nature,
and threaten death to the planet entrusted to our care.
We deserve God’s condemnation.
Yet God acts with justice and mercy to redeem creation.
In everlasting love,
the God of Abraham and Sarah chose a covenant people
to bless all families of the earth.
Hearing their cry,
God delivered the children of Israel
from the house of bondage.
Loving us still,
God makes us heirs with Christ of the covenant.
Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child,
like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home,
God is faithful still.
We trust in God the Holy Spirit,
everywhere the giver and renewer of life.
The Spirit justifies us by grace through faith,
sets us free to accept ourselves and to love God and neighbor,
and binds us together with all believers
in the one body of Christ, the Church.
The same Spirit
who inspired the prophets and apostles
rules our faith and life in Christ through Scripture,
engages us through the Word proclaimed,
claims us in the waters of baptism,
feeds us with the bread of life and the cup of salvation,
and calls women and men to all ministries of the church.
In a broken and fearful world
the Spirit gives us courage
to pray without ceasing,
to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior,
to unmask idolatries in Church and culture,
to hear the voices of peoples long silenced,
and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.
In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit,
we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks
and to live holy and joyful lives,
even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth,
praying, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
With believers in every time and place,
we rejoice that nothing in life or in death
can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Learn more about Presbyterians using this Presbyterian 101 link