We believe that God is at work in our world today, inviting us into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that can bring great comfort, joy, peace, and purpose in our lives, and that through the power of the Holy Spirit, God can stir our hearts with love and action and ideas and ways to minister to and love other around us and in our world.
Jesus’ life – and the ultimate sacrifice of his life for us – shows us a personal example of God’s character, and that when we make mistakes or sin, that God offers us tenderness, grace, and forgiveness, and that God calls each of us to be loving, gracious, and forgiving of one another.
Friends believe that Jesus’ commands involve two priorities: To love God and love people (Matthew 22:37-40).
When we gather to worship God, it is a time to express our love for God and to receive God’s love for us, as well as a time to listen to how God is calling us to live our lives each day. God can speak to us in many ways — through a sermon or scripture reading, through music, in silence, or through the testimony of someone in the congregation.
We believe that worship and ministry are connected and that both are vital parts of our spiritual life: “Vital ministry grows out of vital worship” (Paul Anderson). We need both, and our congregation not only offers a vital worship service each week, we also offer many opportunities to participate in the life of our church and to serve our local community. We believe that God calls each of us to serve, and that we are all ministers. We actively support many Friends missions as well as local outreach organizations.
Friends and the Sacraments
There is a common misconception that Friends don’t believe in the sacraments; however, we strongly believe in the sacramental work and presence of Jesus, which can’t be reduced to outward sacraments or symbols. A sacrament is generally defined as “an outward and visible sign of an invisible, inward spiritual reality.” Outward sacraments — such as communion and baptism — are not spiritual realities themselves; rather, they point to the inward spiritual reality.
John the Baptist said, “I baptize you with water … but after me will come one who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Friends believe that it is not necessary to be baptized with water. We believe that baptism is an ongoing, daily process. Being baptized means to be immersed, to have our lives changed, and to become more like Jesus. So baptism is not a “once-and-for-all” action; it involves a lifetime of daily immersion in the Holy Spirit and of learning to abide in Christ.
Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). We recognize that taking communion can be a helpful reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice and presence with us; it is not required for Jesus to actually be present with us. We believe that every meal, every conversation, every gathering of believers is potentially a sacramental experience — Christ present with us — and that our communion with God cannot be reduced to outward communion. Our ongoing communion with God affects everything we do and say, and it affects our choices and how we live our lives each day.
Friends are well-known for their testimonies – ways we feel God calls us to live, to love, and to care for those in our family, community, and world – as well as being good stewards of and caregivers for all that God has given us – the environment, animals, and our resources. There are two acronyms Friends like to use to make these testimonies easy to remember: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality (SPICE) and Peace, Integrity, Equality, Simplicity (PIES).