Jesus says that He wants His followers to be baptized with water as a sign of cleansing and incorporation into His family. Throughout history, however, Christians have interpreted this in different ways. At Harvest Ridge, we will baptize by total immersion or by sprinkling those who have come to faith in Jesus Christ. We will also baptize the infants of believing parents (or we’re glad to dedicate young children as well!) We believe baptism is a sign of God’s grace at work in our lives - not a ticket to Heaven! While it is a beautiful and significant sacrament of the Church, we don’t believe differing views should divide the family of God.
We celebrate Communion (also known as the Lord's Supper or the Eucharist) during Sunday worship – generally on the first Sunday of every month. If you trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you are welcome to participate. You don’t need to be a member of the church. Children are invited to come forward with their families for Communion. If your kids aren’t ready for Communion (the pastors are happy to talk with you about this), they are welcome to receive a handful of grapes we provide so they feel welcome at the table.
On one level, the answer is quite simple. When new members join a Covenant church, they are asked two questions about belief: "Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior and promise to follow Him as Lord?" and "Do you accept the Holy Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments, as the Word of God and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct?" They are then asked if they intend to live as faithful followers of Christ and members of the church and denomination. That’s all. That’s enough. But on another level, of course, the answer is more complex. While the Covenant Church does not require adherence to any written creed, we take our theology very seriously, and our history as well. We are a Reformation church, a part of the Church universal, and an Evangelical church. In that heritage, we share certain central beliefs which draw us together in faith and fellowship and make possible a freedom among us on more widely ranging issues. We describe those central beliefs as "affirmations”. We hope that as you read these affirmations, you will find yourself identifying with them in your own faith experience. If they raise questions for you or you would like to read further, we would encourage you to ask your pastor (if you are already in contact with a Covenant church) or any Covenant pastor for more suggestions.
Glenn R. Palmberg
Former President – The Evangelical Covenant Church