What We Believe
Our church is a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church and it's East Coast Conference. The Covenant Church is a non-creedal church. That means that while we have no formal doctrinal statement, we see ourselves as part of God's universal church while maintaining the freedom to look for the ways God has been at work in the Covenant Church since its founding in 1885. As St. Augustine said, "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love." This is the spirit that Covenant Churches seek to live in.
We see our place in the worldwide Christian church by the fact that...
- We are an apostolic church. - We confess Jesus Christ and the faith of the apostles as recorded in the Holy Scriptures.
- We are a catholic church. - The word "catholic" literally means "universal". We belong to the universal body of believers that began with Jesus' first followers, is alive today, and will continue until Christ comes again.
- We are a Reformation church. - We stand in the mainstream of a church renewal movement of the sixteenth century called the Protestant Reformation. Especially important is the belief that we are saved by God's grace alone, through faith alone, not by anything we do.
- We are an evangelical church. - We trace our roots through a series of spiritual awakenings especially shaped by Pietism. These awakenings lead us to a belief in biblical authority, the reality of new birth in Christ, and a commitment to reaching out to others with compassion, mercy, and justice.
For Covenant people, our essential beliefs are summed up in what we call Covenant Affirmations...
- We affirm the centrality of the word of God. - We believe the Bible is the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct. The dynamic transforming power of the word of God directs the church and the life of each Christian.
- We affirm the necessity of new birth. - New birth in Christ means committing ourselves to him and receiving forgiveness, acceptance and eternal life. It also means being alive in Christ, and this life has the qualities of justice and righteousness, joy and peace.
- We affirm a commitment to the whole mission of the Church. - The early covenanters were known as "Mission Friends" - people of shared faith who came together to carry God's mission out both far and near. We follow Christ's two central calls. The Great Commission sends us out into all the world to make disciples. The Great Commandment calls us to love the Lord our God and our neighbors as ourselves.
- We affirm the Church as a fellowship of believers. - Membership in the Covenant Church is by confession of personal faith and is open to all believers. The church is to be understood as a family of equals where we all share in the ministry of the church. We observe baptism and Holy Communion as sacraments commanded by Jesus.
- We affirm a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit. - The Covenant church affirms the Trinitarian understanding of one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe it is the Holy Spirit that instills in our heart a desire to turn to Christ, and who assures us that Christ dwells within us. It is the Holy Spirit who enables our obedience to God, conforms us to the image of Christ, and enables us to continue Christ's mission in the world.
- We affirm the reality of freedom in Christ. - The Apostle Paul wrote, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." (Galatians 5:1, TNIV). This freedom is a gift of God in Christ, and it manifests itself in a right relationship with God and others. It is not a private gift to be used selfishly, but is given to serve the community and the world. We in the Covenant Church seek to focus on what unites us as followers of Christ, rather than on what divides us.