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Presbyterian 101

Willow Grove Presbyterian Church is part of the Presbyterian Church, USA. (PCUSA)
What is a Presbyterian?
Presbyterians are Christians! We belong to that branch of the Christian family which sprung off of the Roman Catholic church during the Protestant reformation in the 1500s.  Some theologians felt that Luther's reforms weren't quite enough - and so they in turn reformed the church.  Presbyterians came primarily from Scotland and the leaders of the Reformation there were John Knox and John Calvin.
Presbyterians come in every shape and size and ethnicity. Our church is a part of the Presbyterian Church (USA). For more information on Presbyterianism, visit!

How are you different from other Christians?
Presbyterians are distinctive in two major ways: they practice a pattern of religious thought known as Reformed theology and a form of government that stresses the active, representational leadership of both ministers and church members.
Decisions within the church are not made solely by the minister or the priest but in partnership with those in the congregation that have been elected to serve the church.

What do you believe about the interpretation of scripture?
For Presbyterians and others of the Reformed tradition, the Bible is the means by which Christian believers come to understand how God has been present with humanity since the beginning of time and is present in our world today.  We understand Scripture to be the unique and authoritative witness to God's interaction with the world. Furthermore,

"The church confesses the Scriptures to be the Word of God written, witnessing to God's self-revelation. Where that Word is read and proclaimed, Jesus Christ the Living Word is present by the inward witness of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, the reading, hearing, preaching, and confessing of the Word are central to Christian worship."

(Presbyterian Book of Order W-2.2001)
What do you believe about Baptism?
Baptism signifies
* the faithfulness of God,
* the washing away of sin
* rebirth
* being sealed by God's Spirit
* adoption into the covenant family of the Church
* resurrection and illumination in Christ.

(Book of Order W-2.3004)

We baptize infants because we believe that God loves us long before we are able to love God in return - and because baptism signifies the adoption into the church. It is the sign and seal of God for the child, as well as for the witnessing community.  If you have already been baptized in any Christian church at any age, we do not re-baptize.  We recognize one baptism among all Christian churches, denominations, and traditions.

What do you believe about the Lord's Supper?
As Presbyterians, we have an “open communion,” meaning that any baptized Christian who wishes to participate in the Lord’s Supper (Eucharist, Communion) is welcome.  Around the Table of the Lord, God's people are in communion with Christ and with all who belong to Christ. Reconciliation with Christ moves us to reconciliation with one another. All the baptized faithful are to be welcomed to the Table, and none shall be excluded because of race, sex, age, economic status, social class, handicapping condition, a difference in culture or language, or any barrier created by human injustice. Coming to the Lord's Table the faithful actively seek reconciliation in every instance of conflict or division between them and their neighbors.   (Book of Order W-2.4006)

We celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday of the month.
In preparing to receive Christ in this Sacrament, the believer is to confess sin and brokenness, seek reconciliation with God and neighbor, and trust in Jesus Christ for cleansing and renewal. Even one who doubts or whose trust is wavering may come to the Table in order to be assured of God's love and grace in Christ Jesus. When we share in the bread and the cup, we are reminded that WE are the living body of Christ in this world - redeemed by his blood. Christ is present!

Must I be a member in order to participate?
No. Non-members (as well as inactive members) may participate fully in the life of the church, with two exceptions. They cannot vote in congregational meetings, nor can they hold office with the church.
All are welcome to join us in worship - and in classes, in mission - and in fellowship, and around the Table during the Lord's supper.

Willow Grove Presbyterian Church looks forward to welcoming you!

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