SACRAMENTS

Denominations often differ over what they recognize as sacraments. Some recognize as many as seven sacraments; others have no sacraments in the life of the church. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) celebrates two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper.

We believe Baptism and the Lord's Supper to be Sacraments, instituted by God and commanded 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.

"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."

Communion
We serve communion in joyful remembrance of the Last Supper, knowing that we are joined with Christ and His entire church when we celebrate.

The invitation to the Lord's Supper is extended to those who trust in Jesus Christ and seek to live as his followers. Access to the table is not a right conferred upon the worthy, but a privilege given to the undeserving who come in faith, repentance, and love. In preparing to receive Christ in this Sacrament, the believer is to confess sin and brokenness, to seek reconciliation with God and neighbor, and to trust in Jesus Christ for cleansing and renewal. Even one who doubts his worthiness may come to the Table in order to be assured of God's love and grace in Christ Jesus.

Serving The Home Bound
The Session of First Presbyterian Church provides its local homebound members an opportunity to receive the Lord's Supper away from the church. The pastor and an elder serve members who are no longer able to come to church because of persistent health problems.

When the Lord's Supper is Celebrated at First Presbyterian
Usually the sacrament is shared every other month and on certain special days. Those days normally include: World Communion Sunday, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Eve, and at various retreats.

Baptism
In Baptism, the Holy Spirit binds the Church in covenant to its Creator and Lord.  The waters of Baptism symbolize the waters of creation, of the flood, and of the Exodus from Egypt.  Baptism is the sign and seal of God's grace and covenant in Christ.

Both believers and their children are included in God's covenant of love.  The Baptism of children witnesses to the truth that God's love claims people before they are able to respond in faith.

As there is one body, there is one Baptism.  The Presbyterian Church (USA) recognizes all Baptisms with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit administered by other Christian churches.