We are delighted that you are interested in exploring membership at First Presbyterian Church!
Visitors and non-members friends of the church are welcome to attend and participate in the worship services and programs of the church as often and as long as they wish. For most people, however, there comes a time when they wish to make the commitment to become a full member of the church, and to do so is a relatively easy process.
The Session ordinarily meets with people who wish to join the church on Sunday mornings. Individuals wishing to join introduce themselves to the elders, share their faith journey, and join by Profession of Faith and Baptism (for those who have never been baptized), by Reaffirmation of Faith (for those who are not currently active members of another Christian church), or by Transfer of Church Letter (for those on the active role of another church, either in this area or elsewhere in the United States).
Joining by Profession of Faith
When a person who has never been baptized wishes to unite with First Presbyterian Church, he or she is received by Profession of Faith and the service of baptism is scheduled. In a meeting of the Session, the governing body of the local church, the person is asked three questions: 1. Do you recognize that you cannot earn you way into heaven, that you’re a sinner and need God’s grace? 2. Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior? 3. With God’s help, will you be a good and faithful member of this church?
After giving an affirmative answer to each of these questions, a motion is made and seconded to receive the person into full, active membership of First Presbyterian Church, pending baptism. The date for their baptism is then set (as soon as the following Sunday). Baptism in the Presbyterian Church (USA) always takes place during a regular worship service of the congregation. One reason for this is that all the members of the church promise to nurture the new believer in the faith and help him/her to learn about Jesus Christ.
Joining by Reaffirmation of Faith
When a person who has been but is not currently a member of a Christian church — or a person who belongs to a church that does not transfer letters — wishes to unite with First Presbyterian Church, he or she is received by Reaffirmation of Faith. In a meeting of the Session, the governing body of the local church, the person is asked the membership questions listed above. After giving an affirmative answer to each of these three questions, a motion is made and seconded to receive the person into full, active membership of First Presbyterian Church.
Joining by Transfer of Church Letter
When a person who is currently a member of another Christian church wishes to unite with First Presbyterian Church, he or she is received by Transfer of Church Letter. After stating the name and location of the church where the person is currently a member, a motion is made and seconded to receive the person into the full active membership of First Presbyterian Church. The clerk of session contacts the individual’s former church to notify it of your desire and the necessary paperwork is exchanged. Transfer of membership is typically done between Presbyterian churches but can sometimes be done between other denominations.
Regardless of the method of joining this or any other Presbyterian church, it is the Session of the church, not the congregation that conducts and oversees the process. The Presbyterian form of church organization (government) is representative, with members of the Session, who are called “elders,” being elected by the church members to serve as the governing board of the local church. Anyone wanting additional information about church membership, or who wants to start the process of becoming a member of First Presbyterian Church, is invited to contact the church office and speak to the pastor.