The Presbyterian Book of Confessions includes many beautiful “confessions” or expressions of faith that church people throughout the centuries have found helpful and meaningful. However, no one in any Presbyterian church is required to subscribe to a particular set of beliefs. We continually strive to understand what the Bible is saying to us. We are Christians by faith in Jesus Christ and in the saving power of his sacrifice on the cross. Although there are many Protestant denominations that came about based on points of faith that various people thought were important at different times in church history, we are all together the children of God and the hands and feet of Jesus in this world. We are saved by God’s grace. Grace essentially means “unmerited favor.” We are saved by God because he loves us. There is nothing we can do to earn this wonderful gift—it is ours for free. Our loving response to that gift is the way we live out our time here on earth.
- We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, both human and divine.
- We believe that he was crucified for our sins.
- We believe that his resurrection from the dead is the triumph of God’s love over the evil of the world, the triumph of life over death, and the triumph of light over darkness.
- We believe that God’s Spirit is living and active in our world, calling us to greater and greater obedience to the righteous and abundant life that God wants for everyone.
- We believe that everyone is at a different stage of their faith journey, but that together we are all on the same path. We would love to walk with you and to support you as you discover your own unique way to God.
Believers are Christians inasmuch as they affirm that Jesus is the One who takes upon himself the consequences of our brokenness. Because of this work, we acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Jesus, out of love and mercy, saves people from the ultimate consequences of our failures and instead gives us forgiveness, peace, and new life.
Jesus was crucified. Death is the ultimate consequence of humanity’s brokenness. His death on the cross was his bearing the consequence of this brokenness. But his death was not final. He rose from death into new life and so opened the door for the new life that is now possible for all. Easter is the acknowledgment and celebration of Jesus’ resurrection and of his victory of life.
In Presbyterian churches there are four levels of governance and connection. The details of who Presbyterian churches are and what they do are specified in the constitution of the PCUSA which is made up of two books: the Book of Order and the Book of Confessions.
Each Presbyterian congregation is governed by a Session. The Session is made up of Elders who are people of the church elected and ordained by the congregation to envision, implement, and manage everything the church does.
The Presbytery is made up of the pastors and elder representatives of the congregations in a given geographical area. The Presbytery provides oversight and accountability to all pastors and churches in its given geographical area. Our Presbytery (the Presbytery of Genesee Valley) covers the greater Rochester area.
The Synod is made up of representatives elected by each Presbytery. Our Synod (the Synod of the Northeast) covers the northeast section of the United States. The General Assembly is the biennial national gathering of representatives of each Synod and presbytery across the country
Presbyterianism sprang out of the Reformation in the 1500s-1600s. John Calvin’s theological perspective became the foundation for the teachings of the reformed branch of Christianity. John Knox, a student of Calvin’s, took those perspectives to his home in Scotland and applied a very democratic form of governance to them. This blend of reformed theology and democratic governance gave rise to modern Presbyterianism.
The Presbyterian Church recognizes two sacraments: the Lord’s Supper (commonly called communion), and baptism.
- The Lord’s Supper, a small piece of bread and a little bit of grape juice, helps us look backwards, remembering Jesus’s last supper with his disciples before he was crucified, and it helps us look forwards, to the full and joyful feast that all believers will have one day in heaven. This sacrament strengthens us for our journey of faith.
- Baptism is a sign of God’s love as we are warmly welcomed into the family of faith. By water and the Holy Spirit, we participate in Christ’s death and resurrection, and we are joined to the church, which is Christ’s body.
Guided by God’s Spirit and grace, we are called as disciples to share Christ’s love with the world.
We are known as the big white church on the hill in Perinton. We are grateful for our history and heritage of connecting through Jesus Christ, sharing his love and becoming faithful disciples. Now, we set our eyes on an exciting future as we continue to be guided by God’s Spirit and Grace and called as disciples to share Christ’s love with the world.
We recognize the need to adapt our approach to ministry in our ever-changing world so as to more effectively share Christ’s love while continuing to be faithful to the message of the Gospel. We are open to new approaches and willing to take risks in our efforts to do God’s will.
We recognize Christ’s teaching that Christians will be known by how they live their lives; by their love for God and for their neighbor; and by expressing that love in all they say and do. As a congregation of believers, we strive to pursue lives of love.
We are prayerfully called as a congregation to share Christ’s love through worship, education and mission in the following ways:
- to nurture our multi-generational family of members and friends
- to address the needs of our changing congregation
- to engage groups and make new connections
- to use our facilities and resources in dynamic and versatile ways
- to address evolving community needs
- to collaborate with other faith communities in service to our fellow children of God
- to actively participate in our church family, community, and the world while sharing God’s love with vitality and generosity
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
We are called to go out and serve our Lord.