Article 29 of the Belgic Confession lists the proper administration of the sacraments as one of the marks of the true church. (The others being the pure preaching of the gospel and the practice of church discipline.) We at Grace United Reformed Church, therefore, hold the sacraments in high regard, believing them to be our Lord’s ordained means of meeting with His people, strengthening them, encouraging their faith, and ministering grace unto them. Article 33 of the Belgic Confession states:

We believe that our good God, mindful of our crudeness and weakness, has ordained sacraments for us to seal His promises in us, to pledge His good will and grace towards us, and also to nourish and sustain our faith.

We hold to the traditional Reformed view that there are two sacraments, the Lord's Table (Holy Communion or Holy Supper) and Baptism and that it is imperative that they be administered with care and attention.

The Lord's Table

Grace United Reformed Church practices the weekly administration of the Lord's Table.

SacramentsWhile the sacrament is in one respect intended to focus our attentions on the sufferings and substitutionary death of our Lord Jesus, the sacrament is more than a simple memorial. We believe that Christ is an active participant in the sacrament, communicating Himself to the believer in faith, making the believer a partaker in Christ and all His benefits, and giving him grace to enjoy Christ and the merit of His suffering and death. The bread and the wine in which the believer partakes physically dramatize and symbolize his partaking by faith in Christ Himself, the Bread of Life.

The symbols of bread and wine cannot be separated from the thing symbolized, the Body and Blood of Christ. In partaking of one, the believer by faith partakes in the other. We therefore affirm the real presence of Christ in the communion sacrament, not in a physical manner, as Christ remains seated at the right hand of the Father, but in a true spiritual participation and communion with His people.

Because of this real spiritual encounter, it is imperative that we treat the Table with solemn dignity and reverence. The Table is for believers to refresh their weary souls and regain their strength of faith, therefore it is for sinners who look to Christ for forgiveness and rest. It is not, however, for the unbeliever who knows not Christ. For the unbeliever, partaking in the Lord’s Table communicates not grace and strength to them, but judgment and condemnation.

When is it appropriate to participate?

The Lord's Table at Grace United Reformed Church is a guarded table, by which we mean that the table is not open to any and all without qualification, but only to those who profess Christ and adhere to the sound doctrines of the Christian Church. Those who participate must meet the following qualifications.

Visitors to Grace URC should speak to a pastor or an elder concerning these qualifications prior to the worship service to obtain permission to participate.

When is it not appropriate to participate?

We would ask you to abstain from the Lord’s Table if any of the following conditions are true:

What about children of believers?

A minor child may participate in the Lord’s Table if:

Water Baptism

At Grace United Reformed Church we baptize adult converts to Christianity and the infant children of adult believers.

We believe, as summarized in Article 34 of the Belgic Confession, that Christ himself instituted the sacrament of baptism, and by it “we are received into God’s church and set apart from all other people and alien religions, that we may be dedicated entirely to Him, bearing His mark and sign.” We believe that like the sacrament of the Lord’s Table, baptism is more than a simple memorial of the washing away of our sins, but that the sign of the water is intricately tied to that which is symbolizes: the blood of Jesus Christ which washes and cleanses, changing children of wrath into children of God. As we are washed by water in the sign of baptism, we are given the assurance that our Lord has washed us with His own blood, “cleansing our souls of all filth and unrighteousness; renewing our hearts and filling them with all comfort; giving us true assurance of his fatherly goodness; clothing us with the ‘new man’ and stripping off the ‘old,’ with all its works.

We at Grace United Reformed Church practice paedobaptism or the baptism of infants. Just as in God’s law a new lamb was required to be sacrificed on behalf of a newborn child, so too are we to administer the sacrament of baptism (symbolic of the atoning, sacrificial death of Christ) unto our children shortly after their birth. As male children of the old covenant were incorporated into that covenant by the ritual of infant circumcision, so today our children are incorporated into the new covenant and church by the sacrament of baptism. And as the new covenant is significantly better than the old, it now incorporates all our children, both male and female.