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A CHRISTIAN PRESENCE IN EVERY COMMUNITY https://www.churchofengland.org/

What We Believe

Belief in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is at the heart of our faith. Christians believe that Jesus is God’s Son. Jesus reveals to us that God is our Father, and that God is available to us through the Holy Spirit. 

You won’t ever be asked if you completely understand all this. But you are asked whether you believe and trust. This is called faith. It is a different sort of knowledge. It is the knowledge of being known and loved, and of loving in return.

The Christian faith is not a human invention. There are signs of God’s existence and handiwork in creation for anyone to read (Acts 14.15–17). But we believe in the way we do because God has come to seek us out and has made himself known to us. 

Stained glass window of Jesus

God has revealed himself through the Bible. God has revealed himself most clearly through the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ.
God makes himself known personally to each believer through the work of the Holy Spirit.

‘The most important decision any person can ever make is to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. It’s the best thing anyone can do.” Archbishop Justin Welby.

When someone becomes a follower of Jesus they are baptized. (Or, if they have already been baptized, they will confirm for themselves the promises made at their baptism.) During this service a series of questions will be asked – in most respects the questions asked today are the same as those new Christians were asked in the earliest days of the Church.

Bishop baptising young person at font

Brothers and sisters, I ask you to profess together the faith of the Church.

Do you believe and trust in God the Father?
Do you believe and trust in his Son Jesus Christ?
Do you believe and trust in the Holy Spirit?

Everyone answers with either a simple ‘I believe and trust in him’, or by reciting the three parts of the Apostles’ Creed, one of the most ancient summaries of the Christian faith.

Being a Christian means responding to Jesus’ invitation to enjoy a relationship with God here on earth and for eternity. 

‘Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.’

Hebrews 1.1–3

full church for service, Archbishop of York at front

As Christians we believe the full purpose of our lives is to praise God. As we do so we begin to recognize more and more that everything comes from God and to feel even more thankful and full of praise.

Worship helps to recognize who God really is, it opens our hearts to what is good. It catches us up into the life of heaven. It is something we are called to every day of our lives and is fulfilled, among other ways, when we say the Lord’s Prayer.?

The fundamental business of life is worship. At the root of all your being, your intellectual studies, the games you play, whatever it is, the impulse to do them well is and ought to be understood as being an impulse towards God, the source of all that is excellent. All life ought to be worship; and we know quite well there is no chance it will be worship unless we have times when we have worship and nothing else.

Archbishop William Temple (1881–1944)

Man playing guitar in church service

The Christian view of humankind is that human beings were created to know God and live in a right relationship with God of love and fellowship. The true perspective and purpose in our lives is found in the praise and appreciation of God and in our relationship with God.

Because of God’s grace in Jesus Christ we are able to call God ‘Father’; we are drawn into a relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We align ourselves with God’s will for a better world. We begin to see that everything we have comes from God. We place ourselves daily within his love, care and protection.

The worship and praise of God gives us scale and orientation and direction for the whole of the rest of our lives. Praise and appreciation opens out our words and then our hearts and minds – and especially the praise and worship of God.

For Christians, offering praise to God is a daily calling. We are called to worship not only with our lips but in our lives.

That calling is sustained as we say our prayers, and especially the Lord’s Prayer. However, our daily worship also needs to be sustained by gathering with God’s people in praise and worship on Sundays and on other days of the week.

The Church gathers primarily for worship, to celebrate all that God is and all that God has done, to be drawn into the life of the Trinity: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We offer God songs and words of praise in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. 

We attend to God’s words in Scripture. We gather around the table of the Lord in the Holy Communion. We offer prayers for our own needs and the needs of the world. When we do this we join our prayers – thin and weak as they often are – with the great hymn of praise of the Church in both earth and heaven, in time and in eternity:

Vicar presiding and preparing for the Eucharist in church at altar

John Hart

For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.