What to expect
In our churches you generally won’t find stained glass windows or grand old buildings. However, you will (we trust!) find a warm community of people that want to worship God, serve others and share the good news about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our times of gathering together for worship are simple and uncluttered. Because worship is ultimately about God and not man (and certainly not entertainment), we deliberately focus on the basic elements of worship that God says please Him. While the exact order or sequence may vary, these will include:
- Reading parts of God’s word, the Bible, together with a sermon explaining what it means and how it applies to us;
- Responding to God by singing praise and praying together; and,
- Rejoicing in the wonder of the Gospel through sharing in or witnessing the sacraments of Baptism and the Lords Supper.
During the week
In addition to gathering for worship on Sundays, during the week our various churches will typically give priority to activities like:
- Meeting together for prayer
- Bible studies in larger or smaller groups
- Sunday School for primary school children
- Youth Group studies, discipleship and social activities for teens and young adults
- Local outreach efforts of various kinds
Contact information for our various churches is provided here. A number of the churches also have their own local website and some host digital audio files of Sunday sermons that can be downloaded.
Gospel unity: How our churches strive for shared faith, love and mutual accountability
God’s word can be understood, loved and obeyed .
While appreciating that some things in the Bible are less clear than others, as a Reformed church we also recognize that many, many things – especially the most foundational things – are clear and unambiguous. In other words, we believe the Bible teaches ‘propositional truth’ that can and should be understood, loved and obeyed by all humanity.
As a church we are bound together by our mutual faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and confidence in what Scripture teaches, both of which motivate brotherly love for one another. And because what the Bible clearly teaches can be understood and summarized, we have adopted the historic Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) with minor amendments as an accurate summary of what we understand the Bible teaches about our shared faith and mutual love.
Why does the PRC have a ‘confession of faith’?
All churches have some system for understanding what the Bible teaches. The advantage of having what you believe summarized in a public document like the WCF is that it can be scrutinized and compared with what the Bible teaches at any time. This does at least three very positive things. First, it helps us all be clear on what we understand the Bible to actually teach. Second, it strengthens our accountability to each other before God as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Third, it preserves true Gospel freedom as it helps prevent anyone introducing new obligations and beliefs that simply cannot be justified from God’s Word.
Do we expect the same of church members and church leaders?
Just like in any church, our church members come from all kinds of backgrounds and are at different points in their Christian walk. Therefore, to receive someone as a church member we only look for genuine evidence of the saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When someone joins one of our local churches, this is expressed in relatively simple vows that reflect basic Gospel truths and the commitments of discipleship. We do not expect church members to subscribe to the WCF as a whole.
As we take our leadership structure from what the Bible teaches, the office bearers in our local churches are called Elders and Deacons. As mature Christian men, all of our Elders and Deacons are required to publicly subscribe to the WCF as an accurate summary of their own faith. This is because church leaders have additional levels of responsibility before God for how His church is led. Importantly, however, because Scripture alone is our final authority, their vows are qualified by saying that “if any chapter or sentence (of the WCF) is noted apparently contrary to God’s Word, the Church is to be informed in writing; whereupon the Church shall give satisfaction from Holy Scripture or amendment of that which is proved to be wrong (i.e. in the WCF).”
Ultimately, because we love God, His Word and each other, our leaders submit themselves to the Bible’s teaching and remain openly accountable to each other in doing so. Having a confession of what we believe is a great help in this and should never be just a ‘worthless paper document’. On the contrary, because we take the Bible seriously, and because we believe the WCF is an accurate summary of God’s word, we are prepared to be “disciplined by our confession” (to paraphrase Carl Trueman of Westminster Seminary).