The Presbyterian Church in Ireland
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) was established in 1840 with the coming together of two Presbyterian churches, the General Synod of Ulster and the Secession Synod. The union of the two churches took place at the first General Assembly of Presbyterian Church in Ireland meeting in Belfast on 10th July 1840. The Presbyterian form of Christian faith is best described as ‘Reformed’ with its strong emphasis on the Sovereignty of God, the Kingship of Christ and the authority of the Bible.
Further information can be found at www.presbyterianireland.org
Refined is the digital programme hub for supporting and developing congregational life and witness during the ongoing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic period. If offers a variety of ways to prayerfully seek God’s guidance for this season of church life together and remain open to his leading for the future.
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland celebrates two sacraments, Baptism and Communion.
Presbyterians believe that it is appropriate for Christian parents to have their child baptised because of God’s covenant with Abraham. The sign of the covenant was given, not only to Abraham who believed, but also to Abraham’s children. We believe that in the New Testament the promises of the covenant are extended to all true believers and to their children. Baptism does not mean the child immediately becomes a Christian. Although salvation is promised, in time children must trust and believe in Jesus Christ for themselves.
When believing parents have their children baptised they are publicly declaring they are committed Christians, and that they want their child to come to know Jesus Christ in a personal way and to grow up to serve Him.
Infant baptism is given on the basis of the qualifications of the parent, not the qualifications of the child. It is the parents’ relationship with God which is important. What is required of parents is a credible profession of faith, that is, a profession accompanied by some understanding of the Christian faith, a lifestyle in accordance with Christian values, and public commitment to the worshipping Christian community.
Baptism is a sign of God’s grace. But God’s grace places an obligation on us. We are to keep his covenant, not in order to earn his love, but to show our gratitude and to find his will. Baptism is a sacrament and privilege for those who are part of the Christian family. That is why parents who request baptism for their child must trust in Christ for themselves and accept the privileges and responsibilities of church membership.
In the Presbyterian Church in Ireland it is necessary that at least one parent professes faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. The baptism is in most cases conducted at a church service in the presence of the congregation.
In the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, the bread represents Christ’s body broken on the cross and the wine His Blood shed for the forgiveness of sin. A sacrament is meaningless without faith. Those who come to the Lord’s Supper should have faith in Christ as the One who has died for their sins.
Sharing in the Lord’s Supper is for those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ into their lives. It is for those who have come to Christ for salvation and have committed their lives to Christ and recognise Him as their Saviour.
Admission to the Lord’s Supper is on the basis of a personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Kirk Session of a congregation shall admit to the Lord’s Supper only those who have been baptised, who make a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus and whose character is consistent with such a profession. After a period of instruction, new communicants are admitted to the Lord’s Table on profession of faith in Christ. They are introduced to the Kirk Session and formally received into full membership of the church, usually at a pre-communion service.
Sharing in the Lord’s Supper is of great importance but it is only one part of the Christian life. A profession of faith must be accompanied by obedience to Christ in every area of life.
Communicant members should not only be involved in the life of their own congregation, but should also have an interest in the wider work of the Presbyterian Church.
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