God – There is but one God, living and eternal, who is creator and preserver of all there is. God is love. God is unlimited in power, wisdom, and goodness and is always present everywhere. God is one but is experienced by us as three persons in relationship: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christians call this relationship of three-in-one “the Trinity.”
Jesus Christ – Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, born of a virgin, the Word made flesh, a human being in whom God chose to live on earth for a short time among God’s people. The eternal Christ is equal in every way to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus was nailed to a cross and died, but God raised him from the dead on the third day to show the world God’s power over sin and death. The risen Christ is with God as ruler of the universe and is with us continually through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit – The Holy Spirit, sometimes called the Spirit of Christ, is God’s presence with us for guidance, comfort, and strength. The Holy Spirit lives in each person as God’s gift. By grace we become aware of the Spirit’s presence in our lives, and we begin our journey of faith. The Holy Spirit empowers us for the task of ministry to the world as our ministry is discerned by us on our faith journey.
The Bible – The Bible is God’s Word revealed to human authors, and it tells us of God’s relationship with God’s chosen people through the ages and of God’s great love for us in sending us the Word in human form, Jesus Christ. Scripture is our primary source of knowledge of the good news of Jesus Christ on which we base our faith and by which we practice our daily lives. While Scripture is primary, we are also guided by the tradition of the church, by reason (ours and others’), and by experience (ours and others’).
Grace – Grace is God’s free gift of love to all persons. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s love; it is by faith that we are able to accept God’s gift. This acceptance is called “justification by faith.” We, then, are by grace what Christ was by nature, children of God. God’s grace is present to us in three ways: Prevenient grace – God’s grace that goes before us, that was and has always been there, even before we knew that there was such a thing as grace. Justifying grace – God’s grace that is with us when we come to accept Christ as Savior — God’s saving grace, saving us from the power of sin and evil in our lives and enabling us to experience wholeness (the person God had in mind when God first thought of us). Sanctifying grace – God’s grace that is our companion all along our faith journey. God’s love never leaves us as we seek to perfect our lives in love for God, ourselves, others, and the world.
Resurrection of the Body – Human beings were created to have eternal life. God raised Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day; he appeared in his actual body to many, and he ascended in his body to be with God in heaven. Therefore, we expect to be raised from the dead on the last day to live forever with God in the bodies God has prepared for us. This is a great mystery.
Sacraments – We celebrate two sacraments given to the church by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion (also known as the Eucharist) and Baptism. A sacrament is “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace” in which God is present and at work in the persons taking the sacrament. It is not the ritual at work; it is God at work.
The Lord’s Supper (Communion) – Jesus, at the last supper he had with his disciples, gave us a way to “remember him until his coming again.” In the Lord’s Supper, which is open to all persons, we eat bread and drink wine as symbols of Christ’s body broken for us (you and me) and Christ’s blood poured out for us (you and me) and for the world.
Baptism – Baptism is a symbol of a person becoming a member of the Body of Christ. We baptize by ritually placing water on the head of the infant, child, youth, or adult being baptized (sprinkling), but we will baptize by pouring or immersion if the person desires that method. Infants and children who are baptized are asked to confirm their baptisms when they reach the age of being able to understand and profess for themselves their faith in Christ and their desire to be members of the church. Before this time they are known as “preparatory members.” Afterward they are “full members.” We accept baptism from other church rituals and do not advocate being re-baptized.
The Church – The church is the body of believers and seekers, wherever they may be, gathered together for worship, fellowship, discipleship, in order to scatter into the world to minister to the needs of people and declare to the world the good news of Jesus Christ by words and actions. The people of the church make up the members of “the Body of Christ.” We ask that everyone take vows of church membership.
Freedom – God in His infinite wisdom created human beings in God’s image. Therefore, human beings are endowed with a will, which they may exercise for good or evil. As creatures with free will, we may do God’s will or act against God’s will, yet God never stops loving us.
Relationship Not Religion – Regardless of your ethnicity, race, denominational affiliation or religious background, we believe the more important thing is to grow in your personal relationship with God.
Marriage and Divorce – Marriage is a sacred covenant, blessed by God, which is expressed in love, mutual support, personal commitment, and shared fidelity between the marriage partners. Marriage is blessed whether or not there are children of the union. Where marriage partners, even after thoughtful consideration and counsel, are estranged beyond reconciliation, we recognize divorce as a regrettable but permissible course of action. We also recognize the right of divorced persons to remarry.