Our Beliefs

From its inception in 1888, the Acton Presbyterian Church has been a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching and preaching church. As a congregation we are firmly rooted in the Reformed Tradition out of which American Presbyterianism has grown.

The guiding principles of our Christian faith are these: We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, based on God's Word alone. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Out of these principles grows our beliefs:

1) The Bible consisting of both the Old and New Testaments, is God's Word to us, and the chief witness to Jesus Christ as Lord;

2) That Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord and Head of the Universal Church, often referred to as the Body of Christ;

3) That the Church, the Body of Christ around the world, exists to fulfill these six objectives:

a) The preaching of the Gospel for the salvation of humankind;

b) The preservation of God's truth in the world;

c) The nurture of the people of God;

d) The maintenance of regular praise and worship opportunities;

e) The promotion of social righteousness;

f) And the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, both now and in the ages to come.

4) That the Sacraments of Baptism and The Lord's Supper (Holy Communion) have been given to the Church by Christ as avenues of God's grace into individual lives as well as the Body of Christ as a whole. Through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ is present with God's people in a special way when the Word of God is read, when the Word of God is preached, and when the Living Word of God is made visible and present in the Sacraments.

5) Regular participation in the Sacrament of The Lord's Supper is an important part of growing in one's faith, being made one with the Lord Jesus, and in gathering believers together for mutual sharing and support. All Christians are welcome at the Lord's Table, regardless of their particular faith tradition. If an individual has made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and has chosen to live out that commitment in one's daily life, they are welcome at the Table. All baptized children are also welcome.

6) The Sacrament of Baptism is available to all who wish to be identified as followers of Jesus Christ as Lord. The Biblical word "baptism" is derived from the Greek word which means "to dip or to pour." Therefore, the Presbyterian practices both sprinkling, pouring, and emersion as forms of administering the Sacrament. In Baptism a person makes a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ, is marked internally by the Holy Spirit as belonging to God, is entered into the Body of Christ, the Church, and declares his/her intention to be obedient to God's call as Christ's disciple. The Sacrament is also administered to infants and young children at the request of their parents or guardians, believing that they are, in faith, trusting that as the Holy Spirit begins a "good work" in the life of the child, that person will one day be brought to a realization of their own faith and confirm those baptismal vows as their own. As God has made Covenant with all God's people, it is our faith that the joys and responsibilities of that Covenant are conferred upon our children through Baptism.

7) Because of Christ's coming into this world as a human and by dying on the Cross for the sins of the world, God's forgiveness and healing are available to all people.

8) That the Church, in its many forms and shapes is still God's chosen instrument for not only introducing people to Jesus Christ, but is to be a faith community in which believers have mutual support, opportunities for service, for spiritual growth, and challenges to help expand personal and group understanding of God's call to discipleship.

9) That all believers are "priests" before the Lord and have equal access to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore, all people are called to fulfill their vocation as servants of God in a variety of occupations, and when serving in church ministries, are called to service and not to status.

10) That Jesus Christ will return as he promised, claiming all who have placed their faith in him as Savior and Lord; that he will claim his Kingdom and assume his rightful place as King of kings and Lord of lords.

11) That the basic beliefs of the Presbyterian-Reformed Tradition are stated in the words of the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, statements of faith which embrace all believers.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is governed by its Constitution which is made up of . . .

Part I -- The Book of Confessions: a compilation of historic statements of faith dating from the earliest expressions of Christianity and the Reformation, and from various parts of the worldwide Church within the Reformed Tradition;

Part II -- The Book of Order: This manual governs the actual human organization of the national, regional, and local governing bodies (General Assembly, Synod, and Presbytery) as well as the local congregation, by setting out guiding principles within which each group may develop their own ministries as an expression of their own unique style and locality. The Book of Order contains the Form of Government, the Directory for Worship, and the Rules of Discipline.

The Local Congregation is governed by a Board of Elders known as "The Session" whose members are all elected by the congregation at its annual congregational meeting. The administration of all facilities and properties, the worship needs, Christian education ministries, financial concerns and budget distribution of funds are all the responsibility of this Board.

The pastor of the local congregation is given specific duties by the Book of Order, and receives additional responsibilities as determined by the Session and the needs of the congregation and community. The pastor also serves as the Moderator of the Session.

The Ministry of the Local Congregation is determined by the Session, the pastor, and the congregation together. Support through resources of personnel and materials is available from the Presbytery.

The Presbytery of San Fernando is the area governing body and is made up of 32 Presbyterian churches in the Antelope, Santa Clarita, San Gabriel, and Conejo Valleys. The Presbytery provides oversight of record-keeping, resourcing, facilitating ministries which would be impossible for a single church, and provides support for pastors, training for elders and deacons, and counseling for churches seeking pastors and who may be in crisis. It is made up of all pastors, both active and retired, as well as elected active Elders from each of its churches. There is always an equal number of pastors and elders. The Presbytery of San Fernando is one of eight presbyteries which make up the Synod of Southern California Hawaii.