What We Believe
New Goshenhoppen acknowledges as its sole Head, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Savior of the World.
It acknowledges as brothers and sisters in Christ all who share in this confession.
It looks to the Word of God in the Scriptures, and to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, to prosper its creative and redemptive work in the world.
It claims as its own the faith of the historic Church expressed in the ancient creeds and reclaimed in the basic insights of the Protestant Reformers, including the Heidelberg Catechism.
It affirms the responsibility of the church in each generation to make this faith its own.
In accordance with the teaching of our Lord and the practice prevailing among the evangelical Christians, it recognizes two Sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion.
- Article V of the Constitution of New Goshenhoppen United Church of Christ
“Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” - Matthew 28:20
Jesus commanded his followers to observe two sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion. The word sacrament means “sacred mystery.” Sacraments combine earthly elements with the spoken Word of God to impart grace (God’s kindness) on believers. Sacraments are ways in which God comes to us in community to affirm the forgiveness of our sins and grant us strength on life’s journey.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” - Matthew 28:19
The word baptize means “to douse, dip, or immerse.” The Sacrament of Baptism combines water (an earthly element) with the spoken Word of God from Matthew’s Gospel.
In baptism, we are claimed by the Holy Spirit as God’s children. We are promised the forgiveness of sins (they are spiritually “washed away”), publicly identify with the life and death of Jesus, and unite in faith with Christians throughout history and around the globe. The water further symbolizes the drowning of our old, sinful natures and the raising to life of our new, spiritual natures in Jesus Christ.
Though baptism is intended to happen only once in a lifetime, we are called to remember it frequently, reflecting on the promises and the obligations of being in relationship with God.
In our tradition, it is most common for baptism to occur in infancy or early childhood, with parents making baptismal vows in place of their children. The children later make their own professions of faith and affirm their baptisms during the rite of Confirmation, which usually occurs when they are middle-school aged.
Baptism at New Goshenhoppen usually involves gently pouring water three times over the head of the one being baptized, once for each of the persons of the Trinity.
We welcome adults and older children who’ve never before been baptized to receive this sacrament, after being instructed in Christian faith and expressing a desire to join our church. If you would like to be baptized, or if you would like to have your child baptized, please speak with one of our pastors. If you have been previously baptized in another Christian tradition and wish to join New Goshenhoppen, you will not need to be re-baptized. Your original baptism is valid.
“Do this in remembrance of me.” - Luke 22:19
The Sacrament of Holy Communion combines bread and wine (earthly elements) with the words of institution spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-25). Communion means “act of sharing,” and in Holy Communion we share in relationship with both Christ and each other.
New Goshenhoppen practices “open communion,” which means that anyone who wishes to join us in this holy meal may do so, whether a member of our church or not. Children may commune at an age considered appropriate by their parents or guardians.
Unlike some Christian traditions, we do not attempt to explain how the “sacred mystery” of Communion works. We simply trust that Christ is mysteriously present with us as we partake of the consecrated (prayed over) elements.
Our congregation receives Communion in one one of two ways: The ushers may bring trays of bread and wine to you at your seat (pew communion), or you may be invited to join others in coming forward to dip a piece of bread into a chalice of wine (intinction). For those whose needs require, we offer grape juice and gluten-free bread as alternatives to wine and wheat bread.
We celebrate Communion on the first Sunday of each month and on special holy days, including the first Sunday in Advent, Christmas Eve, Epiphany Sunday, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Easter, Pentecost, and World Communion Sunday.
Statements of Faith
Among the statements of faith recognized by New Goshenhoppen are the United Church of Christ Statement of Faith and the Apostles Creed.
United Church of Christ Statement of Faith
We believe in you, O God, Eternal Spirit, God of our Savior Jesus Christ and our God, and to your deeds we testify:
You call the worlds into being, create persons in your own image, and set before each one the ways of life and death. You seek in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin. You judge people and nations by your righteous will declared through prophets and apostles. In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Savior, you have come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to yourself. You bestow upon us your Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races. You call us into your church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be your servants in the service of others, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil, to share in Christ's baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory. You promise to all who trust you forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, your presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in your realm which has no end. Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto you.
We believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
* - universal