Our Faith

Our Mission Statement


By the grace of God, the people of Ocean Heights Presbyterian Church, a member congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), gather for worship and ministry in the name of Christ.

We joyfully welcome people from all walks of life, acknowledging the differences of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and disabilities.  We celebrate all people as children of God.

We strive to be the body of Christ in the world, working for peace and justice for all persons.  We join with people of good faith to address the threats of climate change and the degradation of God’s good creation.

As a progressive Christian congregation, we endeavor to understand and practice the faith we have from scripture, informed by the wisdom of science and the theological and cultural diversity of the world’s people.

We give thanks to God for the community we share in worship and ministry for the sake of a world where love is more possible. 

 

Words of our Reformed Confessional History

 
In the 2nd century, the church sought to define their faith in one God of Jacob and of Jesus, and so we proclaim in the Apostles’ Creed:
I believe in God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ.

In the 4th century, the church was faced with a controversy over the unity of the Trinity, and so we unite our voices and our faith with the words of the Nicene Creed:
We believe in one God, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

In the heart of the 16th century reformation, the church need to remind itself of what mattered most, and so we answer the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism:  What is your only comfort in life and in death?
That I am not my own, but belong, body and soul, in life and in death to… Jesus Christ.

In 1934, faced with the racist and anti-Semitic policies of Hitler’s Germany, faith German Christians resisted and responded, and so we have the words of the Barmen Declaration:
We reject the false doctrine, as though the church were permitted to abandon the form of its message and order to its own pleasure or to changes in prevailing ideological and political convictions.

In the 1980’s, the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa saw generations of apartheid and oppression stifling the lives of black people, and so they penned the words of the Belhar Confession:
We reject any doctrine which in such a situation sanctions in the name of the gospel or of the will of God the forced separation of people on the grounds of race and color and thereby in advance obstructs and weakens the ministry and experience of reconciliation in Christ.

In 2021, the church faces as many obstacles as any generation before and so we proclaim our commitments this day:
We are called to be a witness to the ongoing work of the Spirit: to stand against racism, injustice, and oppression in all forms; to love the strangers, to welcome the outsiders, and to work for the reign of Christ among us.  Hallelujah! Amen! 

 Earth Care Pledge


Peace and justice is God's plan for all creation.  The earth and all creation are God's.  God calls us to be careful, humble stewards of this earth, and to protect and restore it for its own sake, and for the future use and enjoyment of the human family.  As God offers all people the special gift of peace through Jesus Christ, and through Christ reconciles all to God, we are called to deal justly with one another and the earth.

WHY SHOULD WE CARE FOR THE EARTH? Our faith urges us to strive for eco-justice: defending and healing creation while working to assure justice for all of creation and the human beings who live in it. This call is rooted in the human vocation of “tilling and keeping” the garden from Genesis 2:15, as well as Christ’s charge to work with and for the most vulnerable. Because of their love for Christ who is firstborn of all creation (Colossians 1:15), churches are challenged to live in a manner consistent with God’s call to not only care for creation, but commune with creation.

 

 Our Commitment to Inclusive Language

We are proud of our continuing efforts to be more inclusive. Recently we decided that we will use inclusive language in all events and services. Here are some examples of inclusive prayers, words and images:

INCLUSIVE VERSIONS OF THE PRAYER OF JESUS

BY MANNY SANTIAGO
Our Parent, who is among us, blessed be your Creation.
May your reign be a reality here on earth.
May we become more interested in building your kin-dom here and now than in waiting for it to come down from above.
Let us share our bread with those who hunger.
Let us learn to forgive as well as to receive forgiveness.
Help us through the time of temptation, delivering us from all evil.
For ours are the eternal blessings that you pour upon the earth. Amen.

Copyright © by J. Manny Santiago, 1999. From the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists. Used with permission. Downloaded at Many Voices

BY PARKER PALMER
Heavenly Parent, Holy and blessed is your true name. We pray for your reign of peace to come, We pray that your good will be done, Let heaven and earth become one. Give us this day the bread we need, Give it to those who have none. Let forgiveness flow like a river between us, From each one to each one. Lead us to holy innocence Beyond the evil of our days — Come swiftly… come. For yours is the power and the glory and the mercy: Forever your name is All in One.

FROM NEW ZEALAND
Bill Wallace, Aootearoa/New Zealand
O most Compassionate Life-giver, may we honor and praise you; May we work with you to establish your new order of justice peace and love; Give us what we need for growth, And help us, through forgiving others, to accept forgiveness. Strengthen us in the time of testing, that we may resist all evil, for all tenderness, strength and love are yours, now and forever.
Amen.

THE PRAYER OF JESUS
-Author Unknown
Loving God, in whom is heaven, may Your name be honored everywhere. May Your kin-dom come.
May the desire of Your heart for the world be done, in us, by us and through us.
Give us the bread we need for each day. Forgive us.
Enable us to forgive others. Keep us from all anxiety and fear.
For You reign in the power that comes from love which is Your glory forever and ever. Amen.

1.   Our worship and discipleship will celebrate God's grace and glory in creation and declare that God calls us to cherish, protect and  restore this earth.
2.   In education, we will seek learning and teaching opportunities to know and understand the threats to God's creation and the damage already inflicted. We will encourage and support each other in finding ways of keeping and healing the creation in response to God's call to earth keeping, justice and community.
3. Our facilities will be managed, maintained and upgraded in a manner that respects and cherishes all creation, human and non-human, while meeting equitably the needs of all people.  In our buildings and on our grounds we will use energy efficiently, conserve resources, and share what we have in abundance so that God's holy creation will be sustainable for all life and future generations.                                   4.  Our outreach will encourage public policy and community involvement that protects and restores the vulnerable and degraded earth as well as oppressed and neglected people.  We will be mindful that our personal and collective actions can positively or negatively affect our neighborhood, region, nation and world.  We will seek to achieve environmental justice through coalition and ecumenical partnerships. 

 

 

 

Inclusive Words and Images for God

• Who was and is and is to come (from Revelation 1:8)  Beloved, Lover, and Love
(based on Augustine’s On the Trinity)
• Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer
(by the 16th century reformer Martin Luther)
• Of Whom, Through Whom, In Whom
(also suggested by Gail Ramshaw)
• Source, Word, and Spirit
(by Ruth Duck and Patricia Wilson-Kastner; 1999 book Praising God: The Trinity in Christian Worship)
• Fountain of Love, Word of Truth, Spirit of Power
(also by Duck and Wilson-Kastner)
• Parent, Child, and Love or, Parent, Lover, and Friend
(also by Duck and Wilson-Kastner)
• Fountain, Offspring, Wellspring (by Ruth Duck)

Non-gendered Metaphors for God
• Rock and fortress: Psalm 18:2
• Shepherd: Psalms 23:1
• A cypress tree: Hosea 14:8

Inclusive Phrases for the Trinity by Rev. Thom Shuman
Gracious God, Healing Hand of God, Loving Spirit
God in Community, Holy in One
God of Imagination, God of the Vulnerable, God of the Feast
God Surrounded by Glory, Healer of the Hopeless, Compassion's Heart
Holy God, Loving Christ, Spirit of Strength
God of our Joy, God of Steadfast Love, God of Mercy
Gentle God, Christ our Bread, Gifting Spirit
God of Every Moment, God of Love We Cannot Understand, Spirit of Transformation
God who Feeds Us, Fills Us With Grace, Touches Us With Hope
God of all Wonder and Glory, God, Whose steadfast Love Dwells, God of every blessing

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