continuing along the path with my brother…

Whilst attending and now a member of All Souls Church (2nd Presbyterian and York Street) Presbyterian at present, many people have been wondering how I can manage to reconcile this with where I have been on my own spiritual journey up until now. Having found a small book* at the back of All Souls, I reproduce one part of what is written in it.

Since in the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church all members are free, and there are no compulsory things about which all must believe exactly alike, Non-Subscribing Presbyterians have no official creed. But perhaps we could sum up the kind of things that they do believe in some such statement as the following. You will notice that most of the words in this statement are taken straight from the Bible. That is just as it should be; for, as I have said, the Bible is the rule of faith and guidance for those who belong to the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church.

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, the high and holy One who inhabiteth eternity.

God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

God is Light. If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and with Him.

God is Love, and everyone that loveth is born of God. He that loveth not his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he hath not seen.

We believe in Jesus Christ, the first-born among many brethren, revealer of the mind and purpose of God.

Who for our sake bore shame and suffering and the Cross, but rose victorious over death, and is alive for evermore;

Who is our Leader, our Brother, and our great Example;

Who taught us to love and forgive each other, and to live to build the Kingdom of God upon earth.

We believe in the Holy Spirit of God, that dwells in human minds and inspires human hearts;

In the fellowship of praise and prayer and worship;

In the community of the Church, and in the unbroken communion of the saints both living and dead;

In the forgiveness of sins, and the continual renewal of those who turn in faith to God.

This world is transitory and passeth away, but God hath made man to be immortal, and he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

There is nothing in the above that stops me believing what I have done up until now. Moreover, All Souls is a welcoming place. A place wherein a Beloved Community is being built up. Much more so than anywhere else I have worshipped on a regular basis. Perhaps the closest has been when I was with friends in St Columba’s Church, Oxford.

Burning yet flourishing

Although some will point and say that this year (2010) saw the centenary of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland, and so it is only a young church, we should remember that both 1st Presbyterian and 2nd Presbyterian congregations in Belfast are not part of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, which is younger than both of these congregations. No doubt further light on the growth and coming together (and split up) of Presbyterianism in Ireland can be gained from the Presbyterian Historical Society. Maybe someone can explain how the town of Antrim can have two Presbyterian congregations called ‘1st Presbyterian’?


* The Rev. R. W. Wilde, The Faith of a Non-Subscribing Presbyterian, Sunday School Committee of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland, 1944, pp.12–14.

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