Aldrich Church is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
People always ask, "How in the world do you spell Presbyterian?!" And then when we tell them, they ask, "Okay, so what does it mean to be Presbyterian?"
The first thing you should know is that being Presbyterian means that we are Christians. We don't want the first thing we emphasize to be about how we are different than other Christians. We want to emphasize that we are part of a family of believers bigger than just ourselves. We are all striving to follow Jesus together. We are all a part of the same team.
We believe that Jesus Christ is Lord; he lived, died, and rose again so that we could be at one with God, with each other, and with ourselves, now and forever. We believe that the Bible is God's word for us, and that when interpreted in the power of the Holy Spirit is our ultimate guide for matters of faith and life.
That being said, there are some specific ways that we live that out.
The word "Presbyterian" comes from the Greek word presbyteros, which means, "elder." A lot of times, we think of elders as being an older person. But when the Bible talks about elders, it refers to spiritual leaders chosen from among the people. Those leaders can be young, old, or right in the middle!
At it's core, that's what being Presbyterian is about. We don't have a pope or a bishop, giving orders from the top down. The pastor does not "run the show" or make all the decisions. And the congregation doesn't vote on every single issue in the life of the church. We elect leaders to represent the congregation and provide for the life and ministry of the church. Think about how the American government works. We elect representatives to lead the people. That's essentially how the Presbyterian Church works. We all work together to discern God's will for the church, the world, and our individual lives.
So being Presbyterian is, in part, about how we govern ourselves. It is also about theology.
We believe that God came into this world and revealed himself to us in the person of Jesus, so that we could know what God is like and know his will for this world and for our lives. God came to us in grace to bring healing and wholeness to a broken world. We believe that there is nothing we have to do to earn the love and favor of this God. God freely pours it out upon us, even when we feel like we don't deserve it. God sought us out and gave his life up for us while we were still sinners. God's love is a gift, not something we earn for ourselves by believing the right things or acting the right way.
Because of our salvation is a gift, we strive - with the Holy Spirit's help - to live lives of gratitude. We want to live as faithful disciples not because that will make God love us more or because we need to earn anything from God. We do so because we are so incredibly grateful for God's grace that we can't imagine living otherwise.
To find out more about our stream of Presbyterianism, check out the PC(USA) website.