About Christianity

What is a Christian?

“The Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength…You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

This is the essence of what it means to be a Christian: to be in relationship with God, and to be in relationship with humanity. In fact, we can love God and know God’s love for us through loving each other.  Crucially, we believe that, in Jesus Christ, God revealed himself to the world.

In Christian communities, active participation in this relationship with God and humanity is expressed through

  • prayer (talking and listening to God)
  • worship (joining together in celebrating God’s love)
  • the sacraments (expressions of the ways in which we experience God in the world, such as baptism)
  • service (in our relationship with God, in our behaviour towards humanity, and in how we act in the world around us)

All of these expressions are, at heart, communal activities, moments of encounter which breathe fresh life into our relationship with God and with each other;

Am I a Christian?

You have probably participated in all of these marks of Christianity already.  But at heart you are a Christian because we are made in God’s image: when Jesus was born, he looked like us, and so we also look like him.

What do Christians believe?

Christians express what we understand about God and ourselves through a statement of faith and belief known as a creed:        

We believe in one God…
There is only one God, and God is the creator of everything: of the universe, the world, all life on earth… everything!  Like most family relationships, our relationship with God has its ups and downs.  The Bible is our story of faith: it shows that sometimes we have followed God, and sometimes turned away from him.  But the Bible also reveals God’s love for, and forgiveness of, humanity.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ…
Jesus Christ is God’s great act of love: God’s coming to live and die in the world as a real human being.  But it wasn’t just God’s birth as a human which changed who we are.  When he died he showed that God could bear the worst of being human; when he rose again, he showed that death was no longer the end, and that it is no longer the end for us as well.  Christians understand that Jesus Christ is alive and that, whilst we continue to build his Kingdom in the world, at the end of time, he will come again and draw us into a new Kingdom.

We believe in the Holy Spirit…   
The outworking of God’s saving grace in the world is experienced through the Holy Spirit, and the work of the Holy Spirit can be perceived in those things that make our world a better place for all: peace, justice, mercy, unity, faith, hope, love, truth; we can see the Holy Spirit in individuals and in communities.  We can see the work of the Holy Spirit in music and art, as well as in acts of love and kindness between ourselves.

What will I find at Church?

In a church you will find a community of people like any others.  We make the same mistakes as other people and even have the same arguments, but we are bound together by the Holy Spirit, and by our common belief in Jesus Christ.

The fullness of our worship is found in our celebration of the Eucharist (also known as Holy Communion or the Mass).  In this service where we celebrate Jesus’ life, death and resurrection we experience Jesus in bread and wine, following the commandment he gave to his disciples.  This sacrament (the experience of God through things in the world) helps us to go out and experience God everywhere.

Churches exist in all shapes and sizes, from small house groups to large cathedrals, but they are all, in essence, communities of prayer, dedicated to serving God, humanity, and all of creation.  They are all different: there are probably as many expressions of Christian faith as there are Christians!

How can I find out more?

You can find out more about Christianity in places such as the Church of England website (https://www.churchofengland.org/our-faith.aspx) or other enquirers’ sites (http://www.christianity.org.uk/), but, if you want to find out more, the best thing you can do is to go to a church, because Christianity is relational, it is something we experience together in reality, our relationship with God deepening alongside our communal relationships.

Christianity is not so much a destination as a journey, an ongoing journey in faith and hope. We don’t journey alone: we walk along with Jesus Christ and with each other.