As Presbyterians, we ascribe to the idea that we are "reformed and always being reformed." This means simply that we value exploration of ideas in an effort to gain further insight and understanding about God. We further believe that God alone is Lord of the conscience. Therefore, it is up to each individual to discern what principles and values will have priority in his or her life. However, there are some essential or core beliefs to which most Presbyterians adhere.
GOD - We affirm the traditional belief in the Trinity -- that God has come to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that God is in charge. By that, we do not mean that everything that happens to us is caused by God, but that God can bring good out of everything that happens. We believe that God's main way of dealing with us is through love . . . love which brought Jesus to our world to live and die and be resurrected for us . . . love which brings the Holy Spirit to our lives to help us live in a Christ-like manner . . . love which forgives, sustains, guides, and supports us all of our lives, and even after our death.
SIN AND GRACE -- We affirm the doctrine of "original sin," which basically means that sin (brokenness, alienation) is a part of our lives that we can never escape. However, we also affirm the doctrine of "grace," which means that God does not abandon us in our sin, but constantly reaches out to call us, help us, inspire us, save us, love us.
THE CHURCH - We affirm that the Church is the Body of Christ in our world. We believe that when Christ comes into a person's life, Christ immediately calls that person to the Church. Worship is absolutely the most important thing we do as Christians. The Church is the place where we gather together for encouragement and fellowship, for learning and support, for guidance and fun. In the Church, we become family together . . . children of God, brothers and sisters of Christ, sisters and brothers of each other.
THE SACRAMENTS - We affirm, with other Protestant churches, the practice of two Sacraments: Baptism and Communion. Baptism is our entrance rite into the family of God in the Church. We believe that baptism is a symbol of God's claim upon our lives, which comes to us even before we know how to respond. Communion is the meal in which God spiritually feeds us with the presence of Christ. We believe in the real presence of Christ at the table but how Jesus is present is a divine mystery. We believe that all persons who are baptized are invited to participate in this holy meal with us.
THE BIBLE - We affirm that the Bible is the Word of God for our lives, for our Church, for our world. We believe that the Holy Spirit inspired writers of old, working with them through their own culture and world-view to speak God's Word to specific people in specific situations. We also believe that the Holy Spirit continues to inspire us as we, in our own day and situations, try to listen for God's Word in our lives.