As a church that is connected to long standing tradition, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) adheres to an historic view of the Sacraments rooted first in the practice of the early church and second in the history of the Reformed tradition.
“The early Church, following Jesus, took three primary material elements of life–water, bread, and wine–to become basic symbols of offering life to God as Jesus had offered His life. Being washed with the water of Baptism, Christians received new life in Christ and presented their bodies to be living sacrifices to God. Eating bread and drinking wine they received the sustaining presence of Christ, remembered God’s covenant promise, and pledged their obedience anew.
The Reformed tradition understands baptism and the Lord’s Supper to be Sacraments, instituted by God and commended by Christ. Sacraments are signs of the real presence and power of Christ in the Church, symbols of God’s action. Through the Sacraments, God seals believers in redemption, renews their identity as the people of God, and marks them for service” [W-1.3033].
Are Sacraments a private matter?
No. Sacraments are an act of worship within the community of faith. Sacraments must be performed by a Minister of Word and Sacrament and an Elder of the church [W-3.3601] within the context of worship.
The Meaning of Baptism
Baptism is the sign and seal of incorporation into Christ…In Baptism, we participate in Jesus’ death and resurrection. In Baptism, we die to what separates us frmo God and are raised to newness of life in Christ. Baptism points us back to the grace of God expressed in Jesus Christ, who died for us and who was raised for us. Baptism points us forward to that same Christ who will fulfill God’s purpose in God’s promised future [W-2.3001].
Relationship to Circumcision in the Old Testament
As circumcision was the sign and symbol of inclusion in God’s grace and covenant with Israel, so Baptism is the sign and symbol of inclusion in God’s grace and covenant with the Church. As an identifying mark, baptism signifies:
1. the faithulness of God,
2. the washing away of sin,
4. putting on the fresh garment of Christ,
5. being sealed by God’s Spirit,
6. adoption into the covenant family of the Church,
7. resurrection and illumination in Christ. [W-2.3004]
Do You Baptize Infants?
Yes. The Baptism of children witnesses to the truth that God’s love claims people before they are able to respond in faith. [W-2.3007b]
Do I Need to be Rebaptized?
Baptism is received only once. As there is one body of Christ, there is one Baptism (Eph 4:4-6). The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) recognizes all Baptisms with water in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit administered by other Christian churches. [W-2.3010].
How Can I Learn More?
Spring Hill holds periodic Baptism Classes for parents, grandparents, sponsors, adults who wish to be baptized, and anyone else who wants to learn more about baptism. The session and pastors strongly encourage all parents to take this class prior to their child’s baptism. For more information, dates for classes, or to register for a class, please contact the Director of Christian Education at 342-1550.
How Do I Arrange a Baptism for Myself or My Child?
Please contact Sallie Connell to set up an appointment with a Pastor. Phone: 251-342-1550, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A Brief Theological Statement about Communion
Around the Table of the Lord, God’s people are in communion with Christ and with all who belong to Christ. Reconciliation with Christ compels reconciliation with one another. All the baptized faithful are to be welcomed to the Table, and none shall be excluded because of race, sex, age, economic status, social class, handicapping condition, difference of culture or language, or any barrier created by human injustice. Coming to the Lord’s Table the faithful are actively to seek reconciliation in every instance of confilct or division between them and their neighbors. Each time they gather at the Table the believing community
(a) are united with the Church in every place, and the whole Church is present;
(b) join with all the faithful in heaven and on earth in offering thanksgiving to the triune God;
(c) renew the vows taken at Baptism;
and they commit themselves afresh to love and serve God, one another, and their neighbors in the world.[Taken from the PC(USA) Book of Order, 2004-2005. W-2.4006]
Who May Receive Communion?
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) practices open communion. “The invitation to the Lord’s Supper is extended to all who have been baptized, remembering that access to the Table is not a right conferred upon the worthy, but a privilege given to the undeserving who come in faith, repentence, and love” [W-2.4011].
When Do We Receive Communion?
Communion is generally served about once a month, often on special days such as Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, World Communion Day, and Christmas Eve. For the specific days, please see the calendar.