What does it mean to be Presbyterian?
First, Presbyterians are Reformed Christians, meaning that we believe in Christ and we believe that there is direct communication between the individual and God (as expressed in the teachings of Luther, Calvin and Knox). Presbyterians are said to be reformed and always reforming: God is always acting to transform the world into the just and loving creation God intends. Presbyterians believe that God alone is Lord of the conscience, so we can disagree about issues and still be part of the same family.
Presbyterians are associated with the doctrine of predestination, which has been interpreted in varied ways. The basic point is that God is the Creator, and life is an unearned gift. In a similar way, God’s salvation is a gift, we do not earn it. Only God knows who will ultimately accept and reject this gift.
Presbyterian means elder, implying wisdom and not age. Presbyterian governance is representative: individuals are elected by the congregation to serve as Ruling (decision-making) Elders to direct the church body. This group of Elders is called the Session. Pastors are sometimes referred to as Teaching Elders. Both women and men may be ordained as elders in the PC(USA).
First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro, GA is a part of the Presbyterian Church (USA) or PC(USA) denomination. As part of this denomination we are governed by the Book of Order, and guided by the beliefs expressed in the Book of Confessions.
Worship in the Presbyterian Church
Presbyterian worship includes prayer, music, and the reading and interpretation of Scripture, as well as the opportunity to offer our material resources and ourselves for God’s service.
Presbyterians celebrate two sacraments, baptism and communion or the Lord’s Supper. Presbyterians believe that baptism is a sign of God’s covenant of love which claims us even before we can respond, so people of any age can be baptized, including infants and children. For Presbyterians, the Lord’s Supper commemorates the meal Jesus shared with his disciples on the night of his arrest, and also signifies our communion with the crucified and risen Lord. All believers are invited to share in the table.
When Presbyterians pray the Lord’s Prayer, they use the phrase “forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors”. This phrase appears in Matthew’s version of the Lord’s Prayer. In Luke, the same word is rendered as “trespasses” or “sins”.
Often during worship, we recite the Apostles’ Creed. This is a way of affirming our belief in the core historic values of our faith. The creed uses the word “catholic” referring to the universal church, and not to the Roman Catholic church. We also affirm our faith using other more contemporary creeds.
If you have other questions, just give our Pastor, The Rev Meg Jackson Clark a call at 706-453-4956.