What We Believe

As a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA), we have our theological roots in the Protestant Reformation.  While the Reformation itself was a movement that spread across Europe, particularly in the North, the chances are that no matter where your ancestors came from they had some experience with Reformation ideas and thinkers.

The Reformation began in the era when books began to be printed rather than written—and thus grew to be more widely available.  People began asking questions about the faith they had been taught, and a desire grew to discover source material and depend upon texts that were as primary as possible.  Biblical scholarship developed, overturning much of traditional doctrine; and, in the course of discovering new early manuscripts of the Bible, Christians began to feel closer to the personhood of Jesus Christ.  It could be likened to finding your Grandfather’s boyhood journals: suddenly a figure cloaked in distance and mystery becomes real, and soulful—still respected, but very human.

To that end:

  • We believe that every human is a child of God, and is loved personally—and that God desires to be in relationship with us each. In that love, God—like a parent—supports us, corrects us, challenges us and delights in the ways we grow, into maturity, humbleness, and service.  God loves to see us doing quiet acts of goodness!  God thrills at our smallest triumphs, and aches with us when we cave in to our weakest vices.
  • We believe that the Bible is our key to growing in knowledge of God’s covenant with the children of Israel and the life and ways of Jesus of Nazareth. We do not think it is a perfect book, but no human alive today can improve upon it.  We believe that God perfects God’s message by the presence of the Holy Spirit—who reads with us, a guide to understanding and an illuminating light to our minds.
  • We believe we have been called to love God “with all our hearts, with all our minds, with all our soul, and with all our strength—and to love our neighbor as ourselves.” To that end, we gather in caring fellowship; we participate in Christian education for all ages; we give with zeal to missions both locally and around our shared world; and we worship in spirit and truth.

We are a credal, confessional church.  Come on Sunday, and you will have a chance to join a body that joins its voice to speak an affirmation of faith together every week—and you can read more about our confessions here.



We are a Christian community that affirms its relationship to the PC(USA) family community by connecting committed people who are serving Christ.

We live our mission in the following ways:

  • worshiping inclusively with joy, expression, and variety;
  • observing reflective times and spaces to care for the soul;
  • providing a safe space to be seekers as well as believers, expecting and respecting differences;
  • wrestling with faithful decision making;
  • supporting public causes and Christian missions;
  • discerning the holy within the secular;
  • engaging one another in joyful fellowship and supporting one another in our sorrows;
  • appreciating the world of ideas, connecting faith and reason in study and education;
  • responding to and finding ways to be faithful in fulfilling Christ’s command to love one another.

Upcoming Events

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If the Ithaca City School District is released early or closed due to inclement weather, the First Presbyterian Church will also be closed and all committee meetings and rehearsals will be cancelled.