Mindful that as “church” we are the community of believers and not a building that houses us, South Presbyterian Church is a “movable feast” expressing our Christian faith in the Reformed Tradition.* As we embrace the next phase of our congregational life, having sold our building and discerned the changing nature of our call to be a people of God in the city of Rochester, we seek to manifest the ancient watchwords of our faith:
ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda (the church reformed, always reforming).
The Church is the body of Christ, that is, we are the hands, heart, smile and voice of Hope, Love and Radical Inclusiveness. The Church is not a building, but rather the community of faith, entrusting itself to God alone, even at the risk of losing its life. As a church, we are a community of:
- HOPE, rejoicing in the sure and certain knowledge that, God is making a new creation;
- LOVE, where all is forgiven and reconciliation can be accomplished; and
- WITNESS, pointing beyond itself through word and work to the good news of God’s transforming love and grace as shown to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
As South Presbyterian Church, we strive to bear a present witness to God’s grace and all-inclusive love as emissaries of peace, seeking the good of all. We are entrusted with God’s message of reconciliation and work to heal all that separates people from God and from each other.
We are called:
- TO SERVE GOD wherever we are, at work or play, in private or in the life of society;
- TO LEAD PEOPLE to develop their own relationship with the Divine Mystery from whencewe come, offering new life in Christ; and
- TO BEAR OPEN TESTIMONY TO THE GOSPEL, the Good News of God’s ever-present invitation to love and be loved, to forgive and allow ourselves to be forgiven, and to work for reconciliation and new life.
. . . that we are loved by our Creator God who seeks to be in relationship with us. The Spirit speaks to us in many ways and one is through Scripture. We can read the same thing three times and get three different meanings out of it because God recognizes that our needs change.
. . . that Jesus is the Head of the Church. In other words, no one person has all the answers. We believe that the Spirit comes to us when we ask its guidance … especially as a group … so the Church is Christ’s ambassador, his hands, feet, passion and compassion in the world.
. . . that Jesus Christ lived, died, was buried and rose again, but what those things mean to each one of us may be different and their significance will be individually unique.
. . . that “God alone is Lord of the conscience” so we can’t judge anybody else’s path, journey, or decisions. What we can do is stand with each other and witness God’s grace.
. . . that our Communion Table is open … it is not up to us to judge who should receive the sacraments because it’s Christ’s church and he never turned anyone away.
. . . in God’s love and grace, not in a God of retribution and judgment; God weeps and celebrates with us; God will never abandon or desert us.
* Portions of the PC(USA) constitution which informed this statement include quotations and adaptations of the following: F-1.0301, 9.01, 9.25, 9.31, 9.32, 9.35, 9.37, 9.47, 9.50, 9.55.