St. Paul's United Church of Christ

We Believe

We Believe

-We are a non-creedal church, meaning that we are not bound by any one creed or statement of faith. We embrace many, actually most, historic Christian creeds as clear and lasting expressions of the Christian faith.  We embrace many historic creeds as guidelines or possible examples of belief, but never as tests of faith or required tenets for membership in the local church. We forever seek new ways to express our faith in God that it may be meaningful to each new generation yet faithful to historic Christian belief. We believe that God is love. We are taught by Jesus to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and to love our neighbor as we first have love for ourselves. We are taught that faith without works is a dead faith, so we are committed to active service in the world.  In all matters of faith we are generous and allow much room for individuals to come as they are and find room for a lifetime of growth in faith and understanding. So, that said, nothing that follows is in any way binding. It merely expresses what many of us hold dear. Some members may, and do, believe otherwise, and we like it that way.

– God is all-good, all-loving, all-wise, all-forgiving, all-providing, all-just, all-merciful.

– We believe God loves us unconditionally and accepts us as we are, through the life, sacrificial death, and joyous resurrection of Jesus Christ. God wants our trust.

– We believe that God loves and welcomes all people of good will and intent to church fellowship, no exceptions.

– We believe that God continues to reveal new depths of love and understanding through the Holy Scriptures, and through many wise and faithful people through the ages. While only the Bible is the true word of God, there has been a wealth of incredible wisdom written for our benefit through the ages that is very excellent.

– We believe that God gave us the church as the place to best live out our humble attempts at unconditional love and forgiveness, knowing well our human imperfection.  We believe that the Holy Spirit gives life to the church.

– We believe that the Christian life is a life of service and generosity to all people, to all creation, to the ends of the earth and in our own back yard.

– We believe that there is no true peace on earth until there is basic sustenance, dignity and respect for all people, all nations, all creation.

– We believe in total separation of church and state with freedom to gather as we choose for religious purposes as we define them, and affiliation with the church by free and voluntary association, free from any government influence or  that of any outside authority. We believe in the right of any other religious body who believes in peaceful assembly and separation of church and state to exist as they please.

– We believe in the freedom for each person to hold their own heartfelt beliefs about every aspect of the Christian life, including the authority of scripture, Biblical interpretation, and theological understandings. While we seek to welcome into fellowship all who sincerely desire to join us, we see no reason why anyone opposed to the Christian faith, working against our good and chosen purposes, or whose main or sole purpose is to cause unhealthy disruption would have ay interest in uniting with us. In joining the church it is traditional to ask, “Do you believe in God, in Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit, in joining us as often as possible in worship, in supporting the church with time, talent, resources and finances, and in joining in the work of the church as called upon or led by God to pursue?”

– We take no position on political issues, granting the freedom of conscience to each person. We do not in any way endorse using the pulpit for political purposes.

– We believe each person is on a spiritual path or journey that, if we choose it, leads us ever deeper into the heart and will of God.

– We believe in the freedom for others to take different paths to God. We seek to partner with any religious group that has as its aim the freedom, blessing, well-being and support of all humankind, regardless of whether it squares totally with our beliefs. While standing by our Christian faith, we always seek to work with loving people of any faith or tradition who are working towards the common good.

– We believe in the Sacrament of Baptism that welcomes each new person into God’s family and affirms our lifelong for their journey.

– We believe in the Sacrament of Holy Communion as the sign and symbol of God’s love and forgiveness demonstrated through the ultimate love of Christ laying down his life that all may live in peace with God.

– We believe in being “born” to a new way of life by being in Christ. We believe that this spiritual birth is an ongoing lifelong process. We believe that to be “born again” is the process of “waking up” to our total connection and dependence on God. We believe in a never ending path of growth in spiritual maturity. We believe that God alone knows where we stand with him, so no one on earth has any right to judge another human being.

— We believe in affirming the deepening of faith for our young people by offering the rite of Confirmation after a time of preparation and study. We also acknowledge the deep flaw in this practice that too often is seen as an end to active involvement in the church for a confirmand and his or her family rather than a deepening of faith and involvement. We continually seek a way to correct this tragic flaw.

– We believe in a foundational program of Christian education in the faith for every child.

– We believe in lifelong learning and growth in the Christian faith, and continuous maturing for every person.

– We believe in generous giving to the church and its missions and ministries, based on God’s command to tithe with sacrificial giving. We give first because God calls us to take the risk of generosity as a sign of faith. We also give because the church has no outside form of support. Our church’s financial health is entirely dependent on the faithful giving of members and attendees.

– We believe in the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit as the life force of the church and all its work. We believe that the Holy Spirit gifts each of us with a spiritual gift to use in the world.

– We believe in gathering often to worship God, which means opening our lives to give God thanks and praise. We also gather to learn, to pray, to sing, to offer our gifts, and to receive comfort, healing, and challenge. We believe that God, being God, does not need our worship or adoration since God has no ego needs. We believe that worship is entirely for our need to align our lives with God’s love, help, healing, and holiness. Worship is a spiritual discipline or habit that positively shapes our days.

– We believe that the church must be made new and renewed in each new generation, to meet the needs, preferences, understandings, and culture that is ever being revised. We believe that all renewal and adaptation to culture must be first and foremost faithful to God’s eternal truth.

– We believe in a democratic form of church government, granting all power to the local church to govern itself. We grant a vote to every member of the church on any issue that comes to a vote before the gathered church body. We believe anyone, member or not, can come to almost any called meeting, but only members have a vote. We believe in local autonomy, meaning that no higher authority can impose on us anything that we should believe, do, or adopt. We treasure our autonomy.

– We believe in representational church government, granting power to a church council to carry out the day to day administration of church life, as well as setting the tone and direction for our life together.

– We believe that Jesus Christ is the head of the church, and see that faithfully carrying out his teachings as our reason for being.

– We grant freedom of the pulpit to our pastor, trusting him or her to bring good news as led by God. The pulpit is open to no other pastor or person except when granted permission by the currently called minister, in consultation with the church council.

– We call our pastors to bring good news, to administer the sacraments, to comfort and support those in need, to promote and encourage the work of the church, to pray for our people, to work in the community for its betterment, to partner with other churches when able, to teach the foundations of the faith, and many other duties that strengthen and enhance the life of the church.

– We offer membership to those seeking deeper commitment, affiliation, opportunity for service, a vote in all church matters, and the support of the church and pastor in personal needs. We believe that membership affirms desire for active involvement in the life of the church, including worship and service, financial support, and a basic agreement with the aims and missions of this local church and the greater United Church of Christ.  We offer all our love and support to non-members as well, without vote and without other certain member benefits.

– We welcome the full participation of all people, member or not, with the belief that not all feel called to membership, but all are welcome to celebrate and work with us.

– We affirm the ministry gifts of each person. Everyone brings something that they can share for the common good. We believe that literally everyone has a gift to share.

– We believe in the freedom to expand, contract, or in any way change this list of beliefs, acknowledging that they are not given to us by or endorsed in any way by the United Church of Christ or any other body or organization. This list of beliefs was compiled by Pastor Bill Baldwin, and may reflect his understanding of church beliefs more than those of any individual or the church as a whole. They are designed only to give a flavor of what we believe and stand for, not a definitive or in any way binding list of core, essential beliefs.