What We Believe

Who is God?

We believe in one triune God, manifest in three Persons - "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." Each Person of the Trinity is co-equal and fully God. 

Because we believe God transcends human constructs, we also refer to God using gender-neutral language, most often in the triune name "Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer." We also use various pronouns for God, recognizing God's existence beyond masculine gender. 

Our God is not a distant or far-off God, but a God who took on flesh and dwelt on earth in the person Jesus Christ. This person, Jesus Christ, is God incarnate; fully God and fully human. In Christ's incarnation, God becomes one with humanity. Following Christ's death, resurrection, and ascension, Christ sent the Holy Spirit. By the Holy Spirit, we are united to Christ and sustained in the faith.

Scripture 

We acknowledge the Bible as infallible and our only rule of faith and life. We accept certain doctrinal standards (The Belgic Confession, The Belhar Confession, The Heidelberg Catechism, The Canons of Dort, The Apostles' Creed, The Athanasian Creed, and The Nicene Creed) as historic and faithful witnesses that testify to the message of Scripture. 

However, we also acknowledge that the Bible is written by hundreds of authors over thousands of years of time, in many different places and in many different languages. We acknowledge that no one translation of the Bible is perfect; rather, as a Reformed people, we believe the church is always called to continue discern and reform its understanding of Scripture. 

If you are interested in reading these creeds and confessions, please click on the following links to take you copies of these documents hosted on our denominational website. 

The Apostles' Creed
The Athanasian Creed
The Nicene Creed

The Belgic Confession
The Belhar Confession
The Heidelberg Catechism
The Canons of Dort

Sacraments

We acknowledge two sacraments - the Lord's Supper (also called the Eucharist or Communion) and baptism. These sacraments are signs and seals of God's covenant promises to us. If you are interested in learning more about the sacraments, follow this link which will take you to resources from our denomination. 

Gifts of God: The Sacraments

Communion
Communion is Christ's gift to the church; a meal of "remembrance, communion, and hope." In this meal, we remember Christ's life, death, and resurrection, and his words to "do so, in remembrance of me," as he did at the last supper. This supper is also a meal of communion; communing (that is, being together with) all those from past, present, and future. This sacrament reminds us that we are not alone, but rather connected to one another and to God. And finally, we believe this is an act of hope, hope for what is to come, when all things will be made right again. 
We believe that Christ's invitation to the Table is open to all, therefore any who seek communion with God is welcome, regardless of church membership. Our communion bread is made by Different Blend Bakery a local gluten-free bakery in Schenectady. Due to our commitment to supporting individuals in recovery and as a host site for several AA groups, we only use 100% grape juice. 

Baptism
Baptism is the visible word of God that we are cleansed in Christ's blood, buried with him unto death, that we might rise with him and walk in newness of life.
In baptism, we believe God promises to forgive our sins and marking us as people who belong to God's covenant family. As such, all are welcome to baptism, particularly infants and children. We do not believe that baptism is merely an outward act of obedience, but rather the visible sign and seal of God's covenant promises in the same way circumcision was of the God's people in the Old Testament. 

Baptism is always practiced in the context of the congregation of God's people, as baptism connects us not only to God but to one another. The journey of faith that begins in baptism continues in the church community.

Recognizing the symbolic cleansing and refreshing characteristics of water, the RCA affirms sprinkling, immersion, and pouring as methods of baptism.