Holy Scripture, Sacraments, Formations & Denominational Affiliation
Christian churches look to the Bible as the foundation of worship and study, yet Christian churches differ in their approach to these sacred texts. We use the tools of modern biblical criticism to seek more light and truth from the scriptures, which are a living witness to faith. While we take the Bible seriously, we approach the text historically and critically to discern God’s message for our lives here and now.
How does the Bible speak to us?
We believe the Bible is a book of faith. The Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) tell us of the ancient Israelite people on their journey of faith and their struggles. The New Testament continues the narrative as a witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and to the developing early church. The biblical writers were conditioned by their culture and history even as they were inspired by their faith. Some of the language of the Bible is not literal but metaphorical. We look within the story to find its meaning for our lives.
How do we study the Bible?
Today we confront issues and conditions that were unknown to the biblical writers. We turn to scriptural witness to illumine our theological and ethical wrestling with today’s challenges. We have a joyful expectancy that new insights and guidance will come from careful study and meditation. In understanding the deeper messages of scripture, we are not limited by past interpretations.
Opportunities for study include:
- Study Groups
- Guest lecturers and Spiritual Searcher programs
- Individual study
The term sacrament is defined as a sign or symbol of God’s action and self-revealing, and our human response. Sacraments are practices based in scripture; they are a gift from God. Every celebration of a sacrament is a reminder of the mystery of the blessing of grace we receive as the family of God. First Community Church celebrates two sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion.
Baptism is the formal initiation into the Christian family of faith. Infant, youth and adult baptism by the sprinkling of water is our practice. See additional information and baptism dates or contact Robin Hood, Congregational Care Coordinator.
Holy Communion is also know as the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist. Communion is offered at one service weekly. It is offered at all services at the change of liturgical seasons (Advent, Epiphany, Lent, Pentecost) and on other liturgical days including World Communion Sunday, Ash Wednesday, and Maundy Thursday. Upon request, the Clergy and the Deacons take communion to those unable to attend a service of worship.
Formation is much more than education and instruction – it is a lifetime process for each person who desires a relationship with the Divine. First Community Church has long been known as a church that cares for people from the cradle to the grave, giving them the opportunity to be transformed by an authentic experience of God. Every service of worship, program, class, Bible study, mission trip, etc., contributes to the formation of our faith community.
Since formation takes place in different ways in each stage of life, our staff responds to the uniqueness of each age, providing developmentally appropriate ministries at each level. These ministries are: Early Childhood, Kindergarten through Grade 5, Middle School, High School, Adults and Older Adults. Each of these ministries has a full-time staff member. An age-appropriate scriptural foundation is a common thread connecting our spiritual formation ministries.
We believe that relationship is central to spiritual formation. A relationship to God can be found in a personal spiritual pilgrimage, supported by worship and spiritual guidance. At all ages, forming friendships and serving in community allows us to experience God in and through others.
First Community Church is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). These denominations have a congregational form of government in which the local churches retain autonomy on all matters of faith and practice.
We are in covenant relationship with other local churches through these denominations for purposes of ordaining clergy and engaging in mission.