What We Believe

Here’s a link to see what the Presbyterian Church (USA) believes. And here’s a little bit about our congregation’s theology. Individuals will differ on various points, but most of us probably agree on most of this.

  • God is sovereign and all-loving. Some people think these are contradictory. Not sure why.
  • Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our Lord and Savior. He shows us God’s nature, which is love, and our potential as the children of God.
  • Being a human is a complicated thing, but briefly, we are:
    • created in God’s Image,
    • fallen in sin,
    • redeemed by Jesus Christ,
    • both sinners and justified in God’s sight at the same time.
  • The Holy Spirit works in our lives to correct us, empower us, and lead us in what God is doing in us and in the world.
  • The Bible is the inspired Word of God. You need to look at the whole thing to understand the smaller parts.
  • Since Christ was raised from the dead, and we are united with him by faith, we will also be raised in the Last Day. So while death is generally unwelcome, we do not fear.
  • There is one Church in the world, and Christ is its head. The many denominations and congregations, at their best, provide different ways for people to express their faith and for Christ to reach the more. At their worst, they are failing to listen to their Lord and Head, which doesn’t end well.
  • If you walk into our church, you’re as good as family.
  • Social issues are hard. Political issues are hard. Christian life, when taken seriously, is hard. Sometimes we do pretty well with all of them, and sometimes we can’t even.
  • Life is better when you have people who are in your corner to check in on you and support you. That’s part of what the Church is for.
  • Food is good. Music is good. Art is good. Or at least, they all can be. They have an important place in the life of the Church.
  • God provides the resources for the work that God wants done. That includes money and people. Sometimes the money is in your bank account, and sometimes the person is you. So consider it carefully and prayerfully.
  • Worship should take as long as is needed; and worship should only take an hour, no more. We’re still of two minds on this one.
  • Proclamation of God’s Word is the central act of our worship service. So it follows that the best thing for the Body and for individual members is to be present together with God and one another in worship.
  • Corporate worship is to the Body of Christ what breathing is to the human body — a life-giving exchange! It is our primary service to God as disciples.

Our Identity Statement

It’s amazing how hard it can be to come up with a simple statement of who you are and who you want to be. After a very long period of wrestling with it, we found the root of this statement in our denomination’s constitution, and it fit.

Catoctin Presbyterian Church is a community growing in faith, hope, love, and witness to Jesus Christ.

Our Mission Statement

After a period of studying how the culture is changing, how the Church is changing, and what God is calling us to do in the world to address those changes and the changes that still need to come, we arrived at this:

Extending God’s Kingdom by serving those in need.

The Process of Discipleship

We actually came up with this as a mission statement several years before our identity statement. We thought we were going to be replacing it, but what we found was bigger and worked more as the identity statement. So we kept this as the mission statement. Then we came up with the new mission statement, but this is still important for understanding our life of faith. So, the identity statement is what we hope to be and become, the mission statement is what we are called to do, and this is how we grow into both of those. (Yes, it was a Q&A mission statement. Presbyterians like catechisms, okay?)

What is the mission of Catoctin Presbyterian Church? To lead people into deeper Christian discipleship.

What is a disciple? A disciple is someone devoted to discovering Christ, belonging to Christ, and serving with Christ.

How does someone become a disciple? A person becomes a disciple through ongoing Bible study, Christian fellowship, worship, ministry, and mission.

Catoctin Presbyterian Church will provide opportunities and encouragement to move people on this path.

You can read more about this journey of discipleship here.

Our DEI Statement

It’s funny how things lie untouched for years, decades, or centuries before people finally recognize that something needs to change.

We now have a statement about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in our church mission and ministry, and not a moment too soon. Here’s the short form:

In Christ, by the Spirit, we delight in all people!


  • We will consciously seek to include and minister to people of different genders, ethnicities, orientations, economic status, physical and mental abilities, political affiliation, citizenship, and all the ways that people differ, as if including and ministering to Christ. 
  • We will not discriminate against anyone for any reason, other than in discerning matters of Christian faith and practice, treating each one as a Child of God.
  • We will intentionally seek out voices, opinions, and resources outside our traditional sphere to broaden our understanding and appreciation of different viewpoints and experiences, including them in our leadership and ministry programming in order to better represent the fullness of Christ’s realm.

You can read the whole statement here.