Vision: The gospel of Jesus Christ compels us toward justice, hospitality, and compassion. Therefore, by God’s grace, we will embrace the way of the cross and claim our hope in the resurrection.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit and the disciplines of prayer, worship, learning, and service, we will:
- Cultivate a community of safety and inclusion that renews and liberates us for greater risk and a deeper commitment to Christ.
- Repent of our own complicity in the world’s injustice and live toward new, more equitable forms of common life, both locally and globally.
- Pursue our Christian identity through encountering the Word of God, delighting in the wonder of God’s creation, and sharing the stories of God’s grace in our lives.
By God’s grace, we will embrace the way of the cross and claim our hope in the resurrection. So long as any of God’s people still need liberation, Christ’s mission, and thus ours, has not been fulfilled.
At Westminster Presbyterian Church, you will find an inclusive community that engages deep questions of faith and life as we seek to follow Jesus Christ. We don’t pretend to have all the answers; we find that our faith is deepened as we wrestle with the questions together. We are a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA), part of the Reformed Tradition.
At the center of our identity is the expansive love of God in Christ that welcomes all, without exception. That includes you! Because of our trust in God’s wide circle of love, every Sunday morning we offer what has become known as The Westminster Welcome. We say something to this effect:
We believe God not only welcomes and accepts us all, but also calls each of us to live transformed lives in service to God’s mission of justice in the world. Faith is a claim upon our whole lives; God is always calling us to transformation. We believe that happens together in community, led by the Spirit through Jesus Christ, as revealed to us in Scripture. For us, belief is less about unwavering intellectual assent, and more about active trust in the God who refuses to let us go. Our trust in Christ we consider a gift, a grace—that is, something given to us—and we believe we are to employ that gift for the good of all creation and humanity.
Westminster deeply affirms that we are called to love with our minds. It is possible to find intellectual integrity and vibrant deep faith—and it is an important part of our identity as children of God.
God alone is Lord of the conscience
In other words, no one can come between you and God—not the preacher, not the leadership, not the church—no one. Your relationship to God is ultimately a matter for you and God alone. One of the consequences of that affirmation is that the people seated next to you on any given Sunday morning may believe many, many different things about God.
We are not required to agree on every point of understanding God; we do agree that Jesus is at the center of our relationship to God . Beyond that (even what it means to have Jesus at the center) is part of our ongoing conversation and discernment as a Christian community of faith.
Jesus Christ at the center of our faith
People who wish to join as members of the church answer “yes” to three questions. Joining the church is a way to say “yes” to the life of faith and the struggle to find deep meaning in this world. The first question is the key: Do you trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? What does that mean? In brief: When we say Jesus is Lord, we mean more than a personal, individualistic relationship; we affirm that Jesus reigns with compassion and justice over all things. When we say that Jesus is Savior, we mean that Christ’s love and acceptance reconcile all of humanity with God and one another.
The second question spells out the consequences of that first affirmation: Do you intend to be Jesus’ disciple, obey his word and show his love? Joining the church means you’ll try to follow Jesus and his example, commit yourself to God’s mission in the world through him, and trust his claim on your life.
The third reminds us that God asks us to love with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and that Christ’s Church is bigger than just Westminster: Will you be a faithful member of this congregation, giving of yourself in every way, and so fulfill your calling as a disciple of Jesus Christ the Lord? We pledge to follow Christ, not to be Presbyterian. “Presbyterian” is the means by which we hope to be faithful, but we don’t assume that it is the only means by which to be faithful.
The Church matters
We know the Church isn’t perfect. At the same time, we believe Christ has called the Church into being, and being part of a faith community matters. God is bigger and more gracious than we can discern on our own. As others have said, trying to be spiritual without employing the resources and wisdom of a particular religious tradition is like trying to talk without using a particular language. It’s in the human community of faith that we begin to encounter the fullness of God. Give it a try—Westminster is a pretty amazing place to seek the substance of faithful living and practice.
It’s also a very Presbyterian affirmation to say that God is bigger than the church. Although we trust that God works through the Church, we also believe that God is free to work to great effect outside of the church.
There is an old Latin phrase that is the motto of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)—ecclesia reformata semper reformanda. In brief it means: The Church reformed, always reforming. That phrase reminds us that we are in the tradition of the Reformation (like Martin Luther) and in the “Reformed” tradition (like John Calvin). It also reminds us that the work of reforming the Church is never done. We are a work in progress. Won’t you join us?