What Do We Believe?
As Christians, we believe in God. That’s a pretty broad statement though!
In fact, we believe that God has three persons: the Father, who created the universe; the Son (Jesus Christ), who was born to Mary, who died at the hands of the Roman Empire and who was resurrected; and the Holy Spirit, which remains with us all, active in us and in the world.
It’s pretty clear from reading the Gospels – the four books at the start of the New Testament that give us the details of Jesus’s life and ministry – that Jesus Christ was not only an incredible person, but that he was sent by his Father as a result of the mess that humanity had made of the world.
There are lots of opinions on exactly why Jesus had to die – perhaps it was as redemption for human sin; perhaps it was a sign of the ultimate love from God to humanity that he would even bring that level of pain upon himself, to show us just how much we are loved. However, what is clear is that Jesus, both in his life (during which he gave the world a new commandment - to love each other as we love ourselves) and in his death and resurrection, radically re-cast the relationship between God and humankind. Jesus showed us that we can all have a personal relationship with God. He showed us that God loves everyone and everything that he has made. He loves you and knows you better than you know yourself.
So, as Christians, we believe in God! We also believe that the Church is a pretty good place to get to know God. You can be a Christian on your own, but it’s hard to not have a support network around you to help you, and without this it’s also hard for you to help others in the faith. From the earliest Christians until now, faithful people have met as churches, to pray and to receive holy communion (also known as the Eucharist or sometimes as Mass). We do this, eating bread and wine, because Jesus told his followers to do so every time they met, to remember him. Sharing food and drink is also a powerful sign that Christians are bound together through God: we owe each other the love that we give ourselves.
We don’t believe that being a Christian is an easy option. It doesn’t mean that life will be easy, or that no bad things will happen. Being a Christian certainly doesn’t automatically make anyone a ‘better’ person – and there’s nothing worse than ‘holier than thou’ religious people – those who use faith to look down their noses at others. In fact, Jesus had quite a lot to say about those types! We are a group of thoroughly imperfect people who, like everyone, occasionally argue(!) Most of the time, though, we do our best to love each other and try to build up our community, to worship God and to help others.
Our parish is one that has always welcomed children and families. Through our church school and our many children’s and youth groups, we aim to be a spiritual home to people of all ages. There are lots of opportunities to make friends whatever age you are, and to be part of something that feels truly like home.
We are an Inclusive Church. This means that we affirm people of all sexualities and genders and we believe that nobody is excluded from the love of God.
We are part of the Church of England, which is founded on three things: scripture (the Bible); tradition (carrying on the wonderful traditions handed down to us and learning through the wisdom of people through the ages, in word, music and deed) and reason (not being afraid to debate things we don’t understand, or seek new ideas and interpretations). We believe that prayer is a really crucial part of faith, and we also believe that God wants everyone to actively do good in the world, for other people and for creation.
If you would like to know more, please feel free to come along, or get in touch with James, our Rector who would be happy to chat.