Becoming A Member
Active membership in any Presbyterian Church rests on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and acceptance of his authority over all of life. New members who hold these two basic beliefs come to membership in the Presbyterian Church in one of three possible ways:
- Baptism and Public Profession of Faith: Trinitarian Baptism (Father, Son
andHoly Spirit) has always been the visible sign of entrance into the community of the Church of Jesus Christ. If you have never been baptized, joining the Church would include this sacrament performed in a service of worship. The Presbyterian Church (USA) recognizes all forms of prior baptism, infant or adult, immersion, effusion (pouring), or sprinkling. The most common form of baptsimwe see for adults involves profession of faith and placement of water on the head (sprinkling). Other forms are permitted, of course, when preferences or reasons are compelling. For those who have never been part of a Christian congregation, a period of education may be undertaken before baptism.
- Reaffirmation of faith in Jesus Christ: Many people find themselves later in life returning to the church out of their personal convictions and commitment. When a return to the church follows a period of inactivity, the new member reaffirms his or her faith by answering in the positive to a series of questions, such as, "Do you believe in Jesus Christ as the
Songof God and author of salvation?" "Do you accept Christ as Lord of your life, and source of salvation for you?" ect. Reaffirmation of faith does not require re-baptism if that sacrament has ever previously been received.
- Transfer of "letter" of active membership: When Presbyterians relocate, they may transfer their active membership from a former church to this one. This happens through official correspondence between church governing boards. If a prior membership has become inactive,
transfermay still occur,but may be supplemented by reaffirmation of faith, described above. Transfer of membership can also occur from non-Presbyterian churches that are in correspondence with the PC (USA) denomination. When that is not possible, or when a prior church for whatever reason does not respond to Eastminster's request for transfer, reaffirmation of faith takes precedence. Transfer of membership from another Christian denomination does not require re-baptism.
Elders from the Session of Eastminster