New Member Orientation

New Member 6/5/2024

If you are interested in becoming a member of our beloved church, please contact the church office at 412-264-0470.

New Member Information 10/20/2020


Thank you for visiting our church home.  Please pray about joining us as a member.  We are a family that shares faith, loves the Lord, and seeks to care for each other.  Please take a few moments to review our membership material.

What it means to be a Christian: A Christian is a person who affirms belief and faith in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit while striving to follow the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible.

Central to the Christian faith is the gospel, (the good news of God’s love, forgiveness as found in the gospel of Matthew, the gospel of Mark, the gospel of Luke, and the gospel of John).  The teaching that humans have hope for salvation through the message and work of Jesus, and particularly, his atoning death on the cross 1 Corinthians 15:3 and resurrection 1 Corinthians 15:4.  Christians also believe Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament portion of the Bible.  Christians believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, a description of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Christians strive to follow the two greatest teachings of Jesus Christ:  to “love the Lord our God with our whole heart, mind and spirit,” and to “love our neighbors as ourselves.”

What it means to be a Presbyterian Christian: A ‘Presbyterian’ is a Christian person who strives to live their life in accordance with Presbyterian beliefs regarding the Christian faith.  For instance, Presbyterians believe that God continues to reform humanity.  A ‘motto’ of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. is ‘reformed and always reforming.’ Presbyterians believe God’s requirements, as found in the Old Testament, were further ‘reformed’ through Jesus in the New Testament.  Within the Old Testament God called people to strict obedience.  Within the New Testament God ‘reforms’ the people by means of Jesus calling us into covenants of love.

Further examples of God’s reform include our present-day views against human trafficking (slavery), and towards further human equality; women’s voice and rights.

Presbyterians follow a form of government analogous to that of our civil government.

Presbyterian Form of Government                                   United States Government

Church members                                                                 Citizens

Local Presbyterian Church                                                Local Borough

Session (Administrative group in the church)                  Borough Council

Presbytery (comprised of many local churches)              City/County Government

Synod (comprised of several ‘Presbyteries’)                    State Government

General Assembly (all Presbyterian Churches)               Federal Government

The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)    The Constitution of the U.S.A.


Church Members:  Those who have affirmed faith in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, have promised to live the Christian life and have affirmed membership vows declaring their desire to unite with and support the Church.

Local Church:  A Presbyterian church located in a community. For example, The Presbyterian Church of Coraopolis is considered a local church.

Presbytery:  A group of Presbyterian Churches in a specific area that meet together with governing abilities.  For instance, 152 Presbyterian Churches in Allegheny County comprise ‘Pittsburgh Presbytery’.  Our church, The Presbyterian Church of Coraopolis, is a member of the Pittsburgh Presbytery.  Presbyteries assist in overseeing/governing local Presbyterian Churches, such as ours.  

Synod: This is a larger grouping of people from several ‘presbyteries.’  A ‘synod’ is a regional governing body.

General Assembly:  This is the highest governing body of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.  Members of General Assembly include ministers and elders representing each of our denomination’s presbyteries.  General Assembly convenes once per year.

The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.: The Constitution of PC(USA) is composed of two portions:  Part I - the Book of Confessions; and Part II - the Book of Order.  The Book of Confessions outlines the beliefs of the PC(USA) by declaring the creeds by which the church leaders are instructed and led.  Complementing that is the Book of Order which gives the rationale and description for the organization and function of the church at all levels.

The Book of Confessions further outlines our beliefs as Presbyterian Christians and includes our faith statements such as the Apostles’ Creed.

The Book of Order gives the rationale and description for the Presbyterian denomination and function of the church at all levels.  The Book of Order is currently divided into three sections: 1) Form of Government; 2) Directory for Worship; and 3) Rules of Discipline.  This ‘Book’ comprises specific details for our church government, rules for church disciplining measures, and a Directory for Worship.  This book is printed annually with any new ‘updates’.

Sacraments:  Literally, the word sacrament means “holy thing”.  Presbyterians believe that a sacrament is a sign of the real presence and power of Christ in the church - a symbol of God’s action.  Through the sacraments, God seals us in redemption, renews our identity as people of God, and marks us for service.

Just as we believe that the Word of God is revealed in the Scriptures, so too, we believe that the Word of God is enacted in the sacraments. As such, they are an integral part of worship—as integral as the proclamation of God’s Word.

How many Sacraments are there?  Presbyterians believe that there are two sacraments which are instituted by God and commended by Jesus Christ: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Both sacraments provide a visible, in fact a graphic way, of presenting God’s promises.  Being washed in the water of Baptism, we receive new life in Christ and present ourselves as a living sacrifice to God.  Eating bread and drinking wine in the Lord’s Supper, we receive the sustaining presence of Christ, we remember God’s covenant promise, and pledge our obedience anew.

The Bible is the written record of God’s Word.  It is divided into two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament, which together tell the history of God’s relationship with the Hebrew people.  It consists of sixty-six individual books.  Through the Bible, we learn how God has guided and directed humanity throughout time, and we understand how God is still with us today.

The Old Testament consists of thirty-nine books which were originally written in Hebrew.  These books tell the story of God’s people from the beginning of time and of God’s promises to the people of Israel.  The Old Testament is considered sacred Scripture by both Christians and Jews.

The New Testament contains twenty-seven books and is the written record of the coming of the Messiah - the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as remembered by four of His apostles.  It tells of God’s sending of the Holy Spirit to the church.  It also contains an account of the development of the very earliest churches from several early Christian writers.  Written primarily in Greek, the New Testament is considered to be sacred Scripture by Christians.

Do Presbyterians also believe in the Old Testament?

Presbyterians believe that both the Old and New Testaments are sacred Scripture.  In the words of The Confession of 1967, the Old Testament is indispensable to understanding the New Testament, and is not itself fully understood without the New Testament.

We believe that the writings of the Old Testament tell of God’s promises and how God kept those promises.  It talks about how God’s purpose will be fulfilled in the Messiah.  The New Testament added to the story of God’s work among the people, but it did not replace the older writings.

How do Presbyterians use the Bible?

One of our early theologians, John Calvin, said that the Scriptures are the lenses through which we see the Word of God, illuminated by the Holy Spirit.

Reading, hearing, preaching, and confessing the Word is an integral part of worship.  It is central to our form of worshiping God.

All people who are ordained to serve in the Presbyterian Church, whether as minister, elder, or deacon, are asked the following:

Do you accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be, by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the church universal, and God’s Word to you? (Book of Order, G—14.0207b)

Session: This is the governing body in a Presbyterian Church.  The pastor serves as moderator of the Session.  The congregation nominates those who will serve on Session.  Members of Session become ordained to serve.

Committees of Session There are six (6) committees which comprise our Session:

1)   Worship & Music - to provide oversight and direction for the regular and special services of corporate worship, including weddings, funerals, celebration of the sacraments, and hosting denominational meetings, i.e. Presbytery.

2)   Building & Grounds/Memorial - to provide oversight and direction for the use and maintenance of our church building, and to coordinate and direct the work of the custodial staff.  To also provide oversight of the collection and management of the church’s Memorial funds, and to maintain the congregation’s awareness of special needs and opportunities for memorial gifts.

3)   Christian Education - to provide and promote Christian nurture and educational programs for the congregation, i.e., Junior Church, Bible Studies, Small Group Ministries, Youth Fellowship, etc.

4)   Finance & Stewardship/Personnel/Employment - to provide oversight of the collection, investment, and disbursement of the congregation’s financial resources.  To further provide regular evaluation, counsel, and support for church staff.

5)   Membership & Church Growth - to promote and provide a program of outreach and visitation to both churched and un-churched members of the community and to identify and oversee follow-up of inactive members of this congregation.

6)   Fellowship & Missions - to coordinate and provide for occasions of fellowship within the congregation, so that both new and long-term members may be further assimilated into the community of faith.  To further establish, maintain, and evaluate the outreach mission activities of the church and promote awareness, and where possible, participation in the same.

The Board Of Deacons - This is the care giving body in a Presbyterian Church.  Deacons afford sympathy and support, help to care for our Sr. Care members, assist with welcoming folks to worship, and aide in coordinating church functions, fundraising dinners, etc. Session oversees the work of our Deacons.  The congregation nominates those who will serve as Deacons.

Presbyterians believe in:

-The Word of God---- The Bible.

-The Trinity------------ God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

-Salvation--------------- by the grace of God, the teachings of the Bible (John 3:16) and the                                    acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

-Heaven----------------- as affirmed by Holy Scriptures.

-Hell---------------------  as warned of in Holy Scriptures.

-Grace------------------  as a free gift from God through His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ

-Forgiveness-----------  by means of one’s confession to Jesus Christ, repentance, and a contrite heart.

-Two Sacraments----- Baptism and Holy Communion/The Lord’s Supper.

-Prayer------------------ as taught in Holy Scriptures, as affirmed in corporate worship and from the heart and soul. All ‘church meetings’ begin and end with prayer.

-Worship---------------  as a further means of keeping ‘Holy’ the Lord’s Day, in following our Biblical faith, and as a further expression of our love of God and fellowship with the Body of Believers in Jesus Christ.

-Discipline-------------- following our Book of Order

-Missions---------------  indicative of spiritual growth and maturity

-Democracy------------ all active members have a voice, an opinion, and a vote

-Unity-------------------  all members are welcomed to share in the Sacraments, to worship God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to receive and share God’s love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy regardless of race, gender, or birth origin

-Inclusiveness---------- male and female, young and old, God has created us all to be His children. Thus, we affirm and welcome male and female persons for worship, into Christian service, as members of our Presbyterian churches, and to answer God’s call into ordained ministry.

–Fellowship------------ we enjoy meeting together, often, to share food, study, work, sing, celebrate, dedicate, and affirm God’s love among us.

Presbyterians had been called ‘straight-backed believers.’  This stemmed from our former use of stiff, straight-backed pews for worship, and formerly, from strict / stoic members / clergy who refrained from either sharing or showing emotions. 

Through the years Presbyterians had also been known for being very organized and well educated.  Thus, Presbyterians were also known for accomplishing things in manner termed being ‘decent and in order.’ 

Presbyterians today are known for vibrant and varied forms of worship, their inclusive nature, community involvement, social leadership, and sincere mission mindedness.

The Blessing:  God uses the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., members, and ministers to share the Gospel message of Good News in knowing and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Many have come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  God continues to reform us all.  Together we are answering the Great Commission of  Jesus Christ to “go into all the world, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

Together We Can Serve

“Remember this:  Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each person should give what he has decided in his/her heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

2 Corinthians 9:6, 7

Together we share in the life, the ministries, and the missions of Jesus Christ as members of The Presbyterian Church of Coraopolis.

Perhaps you can help to give something that will assist in furthering the ‘work of the Lord’ among us.  No one person can ‘do it all.’  Together, we are the Body of Christ, His Church.  We are blessed to be a blessing.