God made us and loves us. We are called Christians (Christ ones) because we believe that our best source of information about God is Jesus Christ. God became a human being in order to love us. “Jesus proclaimed the reign of God: preaching good news to the poor and release to the captives, teaching by word and deed and blessing the children, healing the sick and binding up the brokenhearted, eating with outcasts, forgiving sinners, and calling all to repent and believe the gospel.” (From our Brief Statement of Faith). God has reconciled the world and redeemed us by sacrificial love. When Jesus died, our wrongs died with him. When Jesus rose from the dead, death was defeated for us too. Now we follow Jesus in grateful thanks for what he has done for us.
What sets Presbyterians apart from other Christians?
Presbyterians believe “God has saved us! Now what?” For us, being saved is not something we earned or had to choose. It is a gift from God! Our responsibility is to respond to that gift with joyful lives that are obedient to God.
Presbyterians are also distinctive in the way we govern ourselves. We are a representative democracy. We are connected to other Presbyterian churches in ways that give us responsibility for each other through the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Presbyterians believe that “God alone is Lord of the conscience.” That means that what you believe is between you and God. We have doctrine and we take positions on hot topics, but those beliefs are simply “here’s what the majority of our elected representatives believe after study and prayer.” Hopefully those statements hold some weight for you, but you and God get to work it out. You are not required to believe everything in order to be a good Presbyterian. If Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, and you intend to be his disciple, you are with us.
What is distinctive about Orangewood?
Orangewood is often called a “Big Tent” church. At Orangewood, our tent is big enough to encompass a broad range of theologies. It works for us! We love each other, and we find that we are more in our diversity than we would be if we all separated ourselves into narrow camps. The tent is big enough that there is room for you under it!
Orangewood provides a lot of opportunities for you to serve others. We work in clothing banks, feed the homeless, build houses twice a year in Mexico, build with Habitat for Humanity, have sister communities in Honduras that we visit every year, make quilts for sick children, and much more.
An African Fellowship is part of the Orangewood community. It began as a mission with African refugees worshiping on our campus, and has evolved into a greater relationship. We are learning and growing with each other in Christ.
Presbyterians exhibit their faith through acts of generosity, hospitality, the constant pursuit of social justice and reform, as well as proclamation the gospel of Christ.
1. Governing Body: The Presbyterian Church governing body is based on a system of elders. Teaching and ruling elders, or ministers, are ordained and responsible for the discipline, nurture and mission of the local congregation. The practicalities of buildings, finance and temporal ministry to the needy in the congregation are delegated to a group of officers called deacons.
2. Doctrine: Presbyterianism is historically a "confessional" type tradition. Confessional churches express their faith in the form of "confessions of faith." In confessional churches, theology is not solely an individual matter. While individuals are encouraged to understand scripture, and may challenge the current institutional understanding, theology is carried out by the community as a whole. It is this community understanding of theology that is expressed in confessions.
3. Education: Presbyterians put an emphasis on equal education for all people. Because of this they "planted" and encouraged schools across the U.S. as the country grew and the missionaries were sent out to the people. In times past when Presbyterians arrived in a new place, they would usually build a church, a school, and a hospital, in that order. Presbyterians see the right to worship of God as paramount, and education as necessary, so that they can serve the world in God's name.
4. Majority Rule: When Presbyterians have a policy or an action to consider, they pray, they talk, and then they vote. In fact, Presbyterians probably take more votes than any other religious group. They believe that the Holy Spirit lives in individuals but works through the community. Because of this lay and clergy votes count the same.
5. Sacraments: Presbyterians traditionally have held the worship position that there are only two sacraments: Baptism and Communion. Presbyterians baptize infants as well as unbaptized adults by sprinkling or pouring water, rather than immersion. Infants are baptized on the biblical belief that because Hebrew infants were circumcised in order to show that they were part of the covenant community, infants of believing parents should likewise be baptized. The ritual of communion, also known as partaking of the Lord's Supper, is based on the belief that Christ is present in the bread and wine through the Holy Spirit.