Westminster Presbyterian Church was chartered by South Carolina
Presbytery in 1981. Members of First Presbyterian, Hodges Presbyterian
and Ware Shoals Presbyterian formed the nucleus of this new church on
the north side of town. Worship was held in homes and then in a local
school library until the first facility was completed in 1983. Over the
next 30 years, the congregation grew to over 400 members.
In 2014, a large number of members voted to leave Westminster and seek membership in another denomination because they disagreed with the position of the PCUSA concerning the inclusivity of all of God’s children and their rights within the church.
A faithful remnant of Westminster members petitioned Trinity Presbytery to retain Westminster as a PCUSA facility and congregation. In October 2015 Trinity Presbytery granted that request. This faithful remnant held its first worship service in the sanctuary of Westminster on December 20, 2015. From that time until this present day, God has blessed the congregation of Westminster with inspired worship, committed service, loving and open fellowship and faithful stewardship.
Westminster is committed to being a faith community in which diversity is welcomed, respected and valued. With Jesus Christ as the center of our life and worship, the membership is committed to spend our time, talents and resources in mission and ministry as we reach out to those needing comfort and care. Our beliefs are reformed beliefs and our governance follows the polity of the Presbyterian Church, USA.
What We Believe
Reformed Beliefs and Presbytery Polity
With all Christians, Presbyterians believe in the Triune God. (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) revealed in Holy Scriptures and made known in Jesus Christ.
With all Protestants, we hold to some basic beliefs which are:
The Continual Reformation of the Church - “The church reformed but always reforming in light of God’s word.” The church is not a perfect institution, so it must continually judge its life and practice in light of scripture and make necessary reforms.
The Authority of the Holy Spirit Speaking through Scripture – The Bible is the source and standard for the life and ministry of Christians and the life and ministry of the church. Scripture is the sole authority, and all other authorities must be judged in light of its witness.
Salvation by Grace through Faith – We are not saved by what we do but by what God has done in Jesus Christ. Salvation is an undeserved and unmerited gift which is accepted through faith inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The Priesthood of All Believers – All Christians are priests, meaning they can stand for themselves before God. They do not need a priest or minister in order to confess their sins or pray to their God. But all Christians are also priests for their neighbors, praying to God on their behalf.
The Sanctity of Common Life – All aspects of life are sacred. Christians are to serve God in every activity of life. Luther wrote, “Whether you are digging a ditch or preaching a sermon, all should be done for the glory of God.”
There are some characteristics unique to the Reformed Faith.
The Emphasis Placed on the Sovereignty of God
God is Sovereign in Creation – The world and everything in it is the result of God’s intentions. The reason we are is because God wills us to be.
God is Sovereign in History – God rules the world and his purposes will ultimately prevail.
God is Sovereign in Salvation - God comes to us before we come to him and does for us what we cannot do for ourselves (saves us from the power of sin and death.) And God elects us to be his people in service to God and neighbor.
The Emphasis on the Praise and Majesty of God –The chief end of a person is not to have their soul’s saved, but to praise and glorify God by a life of discipleship.
The Emphasis on the Freedom of God – We cannot manipulate God by way of superstitions, magic formulas or what we do. God is free and will act when and wherever he chooses.
The Emphasis placed on the Commandments – Obedience to the law of God does not save us. Obedience to the law of God is the way we express our gratitude to God for all he has done. A thankful life is an obedient life.
The Use of our Minds in the Service of God – We serve God with our hands, feet and voices, but we also serve God with our minds, using the best thinking of which we are capable. Learning is a Christian responsibility. We should know what we believe and why we believe it.
Preaching is the Focal Point of Worship – As God proclaims, “My word shall not return to me empty but shall accomplish that which I purpose.” Presbyterians believe that the Holy Spirit is especially present and at work when God’s word is read and proclaimed.
The Emphasis on a Disciplined Life - Christians are to make deliberate and economic use of the gifts afforded to them by God. Nothing should be done in excess, but in moderation.
Simplicity in Speech, Lifestyle, and Presentation of the Gospel – Presbyterians oppose ostentation because they believe it covers up the truth. Christians are to live and preach the Gospel in a simple and unadorned way so that people can make a conscious and responsible decision about Jesus Christ.
How We Govern Ourselves
(What We Call our Polity)
The Presbyterian form of government is representative and connectional. Elders (Presbyters) are men and women elected by the congregation from its membership. These ruling elders serve on the session of the local church. The session makes the most of the decisions which govern the church. The session is ordinarily composed of three classes, each class ordinarily serves for a term of three years.
The Presbytery is the governing body of churches in a geographic regional Ministers (teaching elder) are member of presbytery and each church elects ruling elder commissioners to presbytery meetings. Presbytery not only makes decisions which govern the churches within bounds, but it also supports and assists the churches with their mission and ministry.
The next highest governing body is the synod which is composed of three or more adjacent presbyteries. The synod is mainly composed of representatives of presbyteries and reviews the work and mission of presbyteries.
The General Assembly is the national governing body which meets every two years and is composed of presbyteries’ representatives. The GA crafts position statements, votes on amendments to the constitution of the PCUSA and supports the various agencies of the denomination.