Christ Church.

Christ Church, Christchurch Avenue, Teddington TW11 9AA

Reformed ~ Protestant ~ Congregational

Image description

"Now, today, there are some who would be glad, if we would preach anything except Christ crucified. Perhaps the most dangerous among them are those who are continually crying out for intellectual preaching, by which they mean preaching which neither the heavens nor the preachers themselves can comprehend, the kind of preaching which has little or nothing to do with the scriptures, and which requires a dictionary rather than a Bible to explain it. These are the people who are continually running around, and asking, “Have you heard our minister? He gave us a wonderful sermon last Sunday morning; he quoted Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin, and he gave us some charming pieces of poetry, in fact, it was overall an intellectual treat.” Yes, and I have usually found that such intellectual treats lead to the ruination of souls; that is not the kind of preaching that God generally blesses to the salvation of souls, and therefore, even though others may preach the philosophy of Plato or adopt the arguments of Aristotle, "we preach Christ crucified,” the Christ who died for sinners, the people’s Christ, and “we preach Christ crucified” in simple language, in plain speech such which the common people can understand."


Charles Haddon Spurgeon: August 23rd, 1863


At Christ Church we also determine to "preach Christ crucified", and to do so "in plain speech".


Reverend Dominic Stockford: October 19th, 2016


About what we believe

Here is where we go on about what we believe...
 
Of course we do, we are not going to apologise for seeking to be clear about that - the Christian Church means nothing if it does not make clear its faith, has no clear teaching about Jesus Christ, and no clear explanation of how that affects the lives of sincere followers of Jesus Christ. What follows here is our understanding of what the Christian faith involves. It is not designed to be 'easy' to understand, because we wish to be accurate in describing the basis for our Christian faith.
 
Our Doctrinal Basis (our faith) is laid out in our Trust Deed, and includes our congregational nature, as well as our biblical understanding.

Below are the '39 Articles of the United Church of England and Ireland', and the '15 Articles of the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion', which provide a key part of our Christian understanding. We do not regard these as being historical documents which can be explained away, nor do we think that they are documents that merely refer to historical matters. We regard them as being a continuing and accurate expression of faith and practice as it is to be found in the Holy Bible, and we seek to find ways to follow these as best we can. The Christian faith is to be found in the Holy Bible, it is alive and active, and these statements help explain it.
 
We would also encourage you to look at the Savoy Declaration for further understanding of the nature of 'Congregationalism', another fundamental principle of this congregation's past, present, and future.

It is notable that Christ Church's minister's position is protected by the Christ Church Trust Deed - which says: "...provided such person or persons so to be appointed as aforesaid preach no other Doctrines but such as are set forth in the said Deed Poll."


THE FIFTEEN ARTICLES OF FAITH
of the Countess of Huntingdon's CONNEXION

1. OF GOD. That there is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in Unity of the Godhead there are three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

2. OF THE SCRIPTURES. That it pleased God, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to declare his will, and that the same should be committed unto writing; which is therefore called the Holy Scripture, which containeth all things necessary to salvation. The authority whereof doth not depend upon the testimony of man, but wholly upon God, its Author; and our assurance of the infallible truth thereof is from the inward work of the Holy Ghost, bearing witness with the Word in our Hearts.

3. OF CREATION. It pleased God for the manifestation of his glory, in the beginning to create the world, and all things therein; and having made man, male and female, after his own image, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, he gave them a command, not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, with a power to fulfil it, yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will which was subject unto change.

4. OF THE FALL OF MAN FROM ORIGINAL RIGHTEOUSNESS. Our first parents, being seduced by the subtlety and temptations of Satan, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit; whereby they fell from their original righteousness, and became wholly deified in all the faculties and parts of soul and body. And, being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same corrupted nature conveyed to their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation.

5. OF ORIGINAL SIN. Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, as the Pelagians do vainly talk, but it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is, as far as possible, gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil; so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and, therefore, in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerated, yet without dominion: and although there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, yet sin in them is evil as much as in others and, as such, receives Divine Fatherly chastisement.

6. OF PREDESTINATION AND ELECTION. Although the whole world is thus become guilty before God, it hath pleased him to predestinate some unto everlasting life. Predestination, therefore, to life, is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid), he bath constantly decreed by his counsel, secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ, out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore they which are endued with so excellent a benefit of God, are called, according to God's purpose, by his spirit, working in due season; they, through grace, obey the call-they are justified freely-they are made sons of God by adoption-they bear the image of Christ-they walk religiously in good works-and, at length by God's mercy they attain to everlasting felicity.

7. OF CHRIST THE MEDIATOR. It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man; the Prophet, Priest, and King, the bead and Saviour of his church; unto whom he did, from all eternity, give a people to be his seed and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified and glorified. He, therefore, being very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal with the Father, did, when the fulness of time was come, take upon him man's nature, yet without sin, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary. So that two whole, perfect and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion or confusion: which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man. This office of a Mediator and Surety he did most willingly undertake, which that he might discharge, he was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfil it by an obedience unto death; by which perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself on the cross, which he, through the Eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, he has fully satisfied Divine Justice, and purchased not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of Heaven for all those whom the Father hath given him. To all of whom he doth, in his own time, and in his own way, certainly and effectually apply his purchased redemption; making intercession for them: and revealing unto them, through the Word, and by his Spirit, the mysteries of salvation; effectually enabling them to believe unto obedience; and governing their hearts by the same Word and Spirit, and overcoming all their enemies, by his Almighty power.

8. OF THE HOLY GHOST. The Holy Ghost is the third Person in the adorable Godhead, distinct from the Father and Son, yet of one substance, glory, and majesty with them; very and eternal God; whose office in the Church is manifold. It is he who illuminates the understanding to discern spiritual things, and guides us into all truth; so, that without his teaching, we shall never be effectually convinced of sin, nor be brought to the saving knowledge of God in Christ. And his teaching, whether it be by certain means which he ordinarily makes use of, or without means, is attended with an evidence peculiar and proper to itself, therefore styled the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. By which divine power he not only enlightens the understanding, but gives a new turn or bias to the will and affections, moving and acting upon our hearts, and by his secret, energetic influence effecting those things which we could never attain nor accomplish by our own strength. Nor is his guidance less necessary in our lives and all our actions. Without his assistance we know not what to pray for, nor how to pray aright. He confirms us in all grace, and he is the Author of all holiness. It is he that assures us of our personal interest in Christ, and that sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts. He seals believers unto the day of redemption, and is himself the earnest of their future inheritance. He administers comfort to us in our temporal and spiritual distresses, by applying to our minds seasonable promises of God in Jesus Christ, which are yea and amen, and by receiving the things of Christ, and shewing them unto us. Thus he encourageth and refresheth us with the sense of the favour of God, fills us with joy unspeakable and full of glory, and is to abide with the Church for ever.

9. OF FREE WILL. The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God; wherefore we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God without the grace of God by Christ preventing us that we may have a good will, and working with US when we have that good will.

10. OF JUSTIFICATION. We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort. And this is done by pardoning our sins, and by accounting our persons as righteous, by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto us, which is received and rested upon by faith, which faith we have not of ourselves, but it is the gift of God.

11. OF SANCTIFICATION AND GOOD WORKS. They who are effectually called and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Works, which are the fruits of faith, and follow after Justification, though they cannot put away our sins, nor endure the severity of God's judgment, yet are pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith; insomuch, that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

12. OF WORKS BEFORE JUSTIFICATION. Works done before the grace of Christ and the inspiration of his Spirit are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they Spring not of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; neither do they make men meet to receive grace; yea, rather for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.

13. OF THE CHURCH. The Catholic or universal Church. which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ, the head thereof; and is, the spouse, the body, the fulness, of him that filleth all in all. The Visible Church consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children; to which Visible Church Christ hath given the ministry and ordinances of the Gospel, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints in this life, to the end of the world; and doth by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise make them effectual thereunto.
There is no other head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof but is that Antichrist, the Man of Sin, and Son of Perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ and all that is called God.

14. OF BAPTISM. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament ordained by Jesus Christ, not only for the solemn admission of the party baptised into the Visible Church, but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, to be continued in the Church until the end of the world, which is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water on the person in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This Sacrament ought to be administered but once to any person; and we also hold that infants may, and ought to be baptised in virtue of one or both believing parents, because the spiritual privilege of a right unto. and a participation of the initial seal of the covenant was granted by God to the infant seed of Abraham; which grant must remain firm for ever, without the Lord's own express revoking or abrogation of it; which can never be proved from Scripture that he has done. Again, they that have the thing signified, have a right to the sign of it; but children are capable of the grace signified in baptism, and some of them (we trust) are partakers of it, namely-such as die in their infancy; therefore they may and ought to be baptised. For these and other reasons we believe and maintain the lawfulness and expediency of infant Baptism.

15. OF THE LORD'S SUPPER. The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather it is a Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, and of our redemption thereby, called the Lord's Supper, to be observed in his Church to the end of the world for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of himself in his death; the sealing of all benefits thereof to true believers; their spiritual nourishment and growth in him; their farther engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him and with each other, as members of his mystical body, insomuch, that to such as rightly and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ, though in substance and nature they still remain bread and wine, as they were before. Those, therefore, that are void of faith, though they do carnally and visibly eat the bread and drink the wine of this Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, yet are in no wise partakers of Christ; but rather to their condemnation do eat and drink the sign or sacrament of so great a blessing.
 
 
 
The Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England.


These Articles may be found in an up-to-date English version at the back of the 'English Prayer Book' (our blue service book).

I. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in the unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

II. Of the Word or Son of God, which was made very Man
The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man's nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.

III. Of the going down of Christ into Hell
As Christ died for us, and was buried; so also it is to be believed, that he went down into Hell.

IV. Of the Resurrection of Christ
Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man's nature; wherewith he ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth, until he return to judge all Men at the last day.

V. Of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory, with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.

VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation
Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.

Of the Names and Number of the Canonical Books
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, The First Book of Samuel, The Second Book of Samuel, The First Book of Kings, The Second Book of Kings, The First Book of Chronicles, The Second Book of Chronicles, The First Book of Esdras, The Second Book of Esdras, The Book of Esther, The Book of Job, The Psalms, The Proverbs, Ecclesiastes or Preacher, Cantica, or Songs of Solomon, Four Prophets the greater, Twelve Prophets the less.
And the other Books (as Jerome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following:
The Third Book of Esdras, The Fourth Book of Esdras, The Book of Tobias, The Book of Judith, The rest of the Book of Esther, The Book of Wisdom, Jesus the Son of Sirach, Baruch the Prophet, The Song of the Three Children, The Story of Susanna, Of Bel and the Dragon, The Prayer of Manasses, The First Book of Maccabees, The Second Book of Maccabees.
All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.

VII. Of the Old Testament
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and Man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God by Moses, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.

VIII. Of the Creeds
The Nicene Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.

IX. Of Original or Birth Sin
Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek phronema sarkos (which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh), is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized; yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.

X. Of Free Will
The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith, and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

XI. Of the Justification of Man
We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely expressed in the Homily of Justification.

XII. Of Good Works
Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

XIII. Of Works before Justification
Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of the Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ; neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School-authors say) deserve grace of congruity: yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin.

XIV. Of Works of Supererogation
Voluntary Works besides, over and above, God's Commandments, which they call Works of Supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety: for by them men do declare, that they not only render unto God as much as they are bound to, but that they do more for his sake, than of bounden duty is required: whereas Christ saith plainly, "When ye have done all that are commanded to you, say, 'We are unprofitable servants.'"

XV. Of Christ alone without Sin
Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and in his spirit. He came to be the Lamb without spot, who, by sacrifice of himself once made, should take away the sins of the world; and sin (as Saint John saith) was not in him. But all we the rest, although baptized, and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things; and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

XVI. Of Sin after Baptism
Not every deadly sin willingly committed after Baptism is sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore the grant of repentance is not be denied to such as fall into sin after Baptism. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and by the grace of God we may arise again, and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned, which say, they can no more sin as long as they live here, or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.

XVII. Of Predestination and Election
Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only- begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.
As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wrethchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.
Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.

XVIII. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ
They also are to be had accursed that presume to say, That every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that Law, and the light of Nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.

XIX. Of the Church
The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.
As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.

XX. Of the Authority of the Church
The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God's Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree any thing against the same, so besides the same ought not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation.

XXI. Of the Authority of General Councils
General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of Princes. And when they be gathered together, (forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God,) they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of holy Scripture.

XXII. Of Purgatory
The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Relics, and also Invocation of Saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.

XXIII. Of Ministering in the Congregation
It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given unto them in the Congregation, to call and send Ministers into the Lord's vineyard.

XXIV. Of Speaking in the Congregation in such a Tongue as the people understandeth
It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have public Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understanded of the people.

XXV. Of the Sacraments
Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God's good will towards us, by the which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in him.
There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.
Those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel, being such as have grown partly of the corrupt following of the Apostles, partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures; but yet have not like nature of Sacraments with Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, for that they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.
The Sacraments are not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation:but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as Saint Paul saith.

XXVI. Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments
Although in the visible Church the evil be ever mingled with the good, and sometimes the evil have chief authority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, yet forasmuch as they do not the same in their own name, but in Christ's, and do minister by his commission and authority, we may use their Ministry, both in hearing the Word of God, and in receiving the Sacraments. Neither is the effect of Christ's ordinance taken away by their wickedness, nor the grace of God's gifts diminished from such as by faith, and rightly, do receive the Sacraments ministered unto them; which be effectual, because of Christ's institution and promise, although they be ministered by evil men.
Nevertheless, it appertaineth to the discipline of the Church, that inquiry be made of evil Ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences; and finally, being found guilty, by just judgment be deposed.

XVII. Of Baptism
Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or New-Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God.
The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.

XVIII. Of the Lord's Supper
The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ's death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.
Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.
The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.

XXIX. Of the Wicked, which eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord's Supper
The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they docarnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.

XXX. Of both Kinds
The Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the Lay-people: for both the parts of the Lord's Sacrament, by Christ's ordinance and commandment, ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike.

XXXI. Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross
The Offering of Christ once made in that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.

XXXII. Of the Marriage of Priests
Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, are not commanded by God's Law, either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage: therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness.

XXXIII. Of excommunicate Persons, how they are to be avoided
That person which by open denunciation of the Church is rightly cut off from the unity of the Church, and excommunicated, ought to be taken of the whole multitude of the faithful, as an Heathen and Publican, until he be openly reconciled by penance, and received into the Church by a Judge that hath the authority thereunto.

XXXIV. Of the Traditions of the Church
It is not necessary that the Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely, doth openly break the Traditions and Ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like,) as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the Magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren.
Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish, Ceremonies or Rites of the Church ordained only by man's authority, so that all things be done to edifying.

XXXV. Of the Homilies
The Second Book of Homilies, the several titles whereof we have joined under this Article, doth contain a godly and wholesome Doctrine, and necessary for these times, as doth the former Book of Homilies, which were set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth; and therefore we judge them to be read in Churches by the Ministers, diligently and distinctly, that they may be understanded of the people.
Of the Names of the Homilies
o 1 Of the right Use of the Church.
o 2 Against Peril of Idolatry.
o 3 Of repairing and keeping clean of Churches.
o 4 Of good Works: first of Fasting.
o 5 Against Gluttony and Drunkenness.
o 6 Against Excess of Apparel.
o 7 Of Prayer.
o 8 Of the Place and Time of Prayer.
o 9 That Common Prayers and Sacraments ought to be ministered in a known tongue.
o 10 Of the reverend Estimation of God's Word.
o 11 Of Alms-doing.
o 12 Of the Nativity of Christ.
o 13 Of the Passion of Christ.
o 14 Of the Resurrection of Christ.
o 15 Of the worthy receiving of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.
o 16 Of the Gifts of the Holy Ghost.
o 17 For the Rogation-days
o 18 Of the State of Matrimony.
o 19 Of Repentance.
o 20 Against Idleness.
o 21 Against Rebellion.

XXXVI. Of Consecration of Bishops and Ministers
"The Book of Consecration of Archbishops and Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, lately set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth, and confirmed at the same time by authority of Parliament, doth contain all things necessary to such Consecration and Ordering; neither hath it any thing, that of itself is superstitious and ungodly. And therefore whosoever are consecrated or ordered according to the Rites of that Book, since the second year of the forenamed King Edward unto this time, or hereafter shall be consecrated or ordered according to the same Rites; we decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered."

XXXVII. Of the Power of the Civil Magistrates
The Queen's Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England, and other her Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Civil, in all causes doth appertain, and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign Jurisdiction.
Where we attribute to the Queen's Majesty the chief government, by which Titles we understand the minds of some slanderous folks to be offended; we give not our Princes the ministering either of God's Word, or of the Sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen do most plainly testify; but that only prerogative, which we see to have been given always to all godly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself; that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evil-doers.
The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England.
The Laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death, for heinous and grievous offenses.
It is lawful for Christian men, at the commandment of the Magistrate, to wear weapons, and serve in the wars."

XXXVIII. Of Christian Men's Goods, which are not common
The Riches and Goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same; as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.

XXXIX. Of a Christian Man's Oath
As we confess that vain and rash Swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ, and James his Apostle, so we judge, that Christian Religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the Magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the Prophet's teaching in justice, judgment, and truth.



 

Baptisms, Weddings & Funerals

 This congregation will, in normal circumstances, only offer baby or child Dedications, Baptisms, Weddings or Funerals to regularly attending members of the congregation. There may be situations in which this does not apply, but what we then offer is for those who share the Reformed Biblical faith that we hold. In all cases the minister will retain the right to be guided by his Christian conscience, and no single decision of his should be regarded as setting a precedent in these matters.

 
Why do we do as we do?
Because, as a congregation of believing Christians, we hold that the services offered by the church should only be taken up by those who are Christian themselves. It undermines the truth taught in the congregation if unbelievers use the services that are set aside for believing Christians - this is no more that what many organisations do when they reserve some services for members.

We also believe that the congregation is here for a specific purpose - which is to preach the Word of God and to share the wonderful gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ, and Him alone. Those who are not members, or not even Christians, will find such truths very difficult to be confronted with and so for their sake we do not wish to cause controversy at such sensitive and important moments in people's lives. 
  
More detail about our policy on Weddings, Baptisms, and Funerals.
Please note that  ALL SERVICES are held in the Church Meeting Hall - this includes ALL weddings, baptisms and funerals.
 
Our normal policy for all of these is that those requesting a baptism, a wedding, or a funeral should be members of the congregation (see above for reasons). However, in very unusual circumstances this policy can be flexible to take into consideration the specific spiritual needs of those asking for such a service.

Baptisms always take place during Sunday morning church services - as entry into the visible church it would not be right for it to take place hidden away at another time when the Christian community that gather here are not present. There is no cost for a Baptism, though any donation to the congregation is always gratefully received. Baptisms both of  infants of professing Christian parents, and of unbaptised adults who wish to make a profession of faith are performed.

Weddings normally take place on Saturdays, although there can be some flexibility in this. There are costs for weddings, to cover the church and the minister - we do not have an organ, and we expect couples to organise a pianist or musicians themselves - though we try to help them to do this. Weddings between two Christians are performed, but for Biblical reasons we are reticent to perform weddings between "unequally yoked" couples where one is not a Christian - and will normally not do so.

Note also that we are a Reformed congregation, and will not countenance marriage unless it be between (those physically born) a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others. The congregation has passed a resolution to this effect.

Further, we do not hold 'registered person' status, so the local Registrar will need to be personally involved (Richmond or Kingston).

Funeral services taken by our minister will, in normal circumstances, have the usual costs associated with this - which will be organised through the undertaker. Should the service be in church there will be small extra costs for non-members to cover the expenses of running the building. The minister does not normally take funerals where there is no link between the congregation and the family, or between the minister and the family. This is because of the tremendous amount of time organising and taking such a service takes up. There is, however, always some flexibility in this policy to take account of local situations.
 

 

What we do, we do to honour and give glory to God - and not to suit the desires and whims of men. We may get this balance wrong on occasions, but we do so in sincerity that we seek to serve God through His Son, Jesus Christ.