The sacraments provide a picture of God’s promises to us. Fourth-century theologian St. Augustine called them “outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace.” Following his lead, 16th-century reformer John Calvin said sacraments are “visible words” that help strengthen faith and nurture discipleship. While the written words of Scripture teach us about God’s redemptive work in Jesus Christ, the sacraments express God’s grace in tangibleways.The Presbyterian Church believes in two sacraments, the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.
The Lord’s Supper
We celebrate the Lord’s Supper during our worship service on the first Sunday of each month as part of our response to hearing God’s Word. We use this as a time to renew our commitment, and to remind ourselves of the work the Jesus did for our salvation. The Lord’s Supper is a spiritual feast by which the Holy Spirit renews us with the broken body and spilled blood of Jesus through which God reconciled humanity to Himself.We invite all who follow Jesus, however imperfectly, to the Table. All believers, regardless of age, church tradition, formal membership status, or any other external reason, are welcome to partake in the meal. We ask that those who have not yet made a decision to follow Jesus not to partake until they do so. Anyone may make a decision at that very moment, and begin a new or renewed commitment to follow the Lord.
Our communion liturgy begins with an affirmation of faith which is printed in our bulletin. We share together in the prayer of great thanksgiving remembering the sacrifices that Jesus made on our behalf. The bread is then broken and the juice is poured out, representing the body and blood of Christ. We are then invited share the bread and the cup together. As the bread and cup is passed, we hold each element until all have been served and we share together in thanksgiving and in community.
Usually communion is served to you in your seat. Several times a year we offer communion by intinction asking you to come forward to receive.At the serving station we take a piece of bread or matzah available, and dip it in a cup of grape juice (we do not use wine). For those with health concerns several of the serving stations have gluten-free crackers and small, individual cups of juice. (Those stations are announced before the procession begins.) After the procession is finished, the servers will come out and serve those who are unable to come forward due to physical limitations or other reasons.
Those who do not wish to partake in Communion are welcome to remain in their seats, or to move about the building, or to join the procession and simply indicate to the server that they do not wish to receive.
We ask that parents of small children use their judgment for when it is appropriate for the children to receive communion. We welcome children at the table and will refuse no one. We offer occasional workshops for parents of young children. Here are some frequently asked questions about the Lord’s Supper:
- Do we use wine?
No. Like most Protestants we use grape juice, aware of societal issues involving alcohol.
- Is everyone welcome?
Yes. Every follower of Jesus is welcomed, even those just beginning the journey.
- Are children welcome?
Yes, at the discretion of their parents or guardians.
- Dietary concerns.
We offer gluten-free wafers as well as raised bread.
- What is intinction?
Dipping the bread in the cup and then partaking. Several times a year, we offer the Lord’s Supper by intinction.
Baptism is a sign and seal of God’s gift of salvation, the saving work that has already been done for us in Jesus Christ. The sacrament of baptism is our response to God’s gracious gift, offering our lives to God in service and entering into covenant relationship with God as members of the body of Christ. Presbyterians believe baptism is received only once, and we recognize all baptisms with water in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit administered by other Christian churches. With common water, we baptize both infants and adults, and the congregation commits to guide and nurture the baptized in the Christian faith. If you are interested in baptism, please contact our pastor. Because we are a community of believers, Baptism is always done during a worship service and the congregation participates, promising to help nurture and teach the person being baptized.