The Church for All People

Serving God Through Serving Others

Seneca Presbyterian Church was founded in 1875. It was one of the four foundational churches in the new town of Seneca. Those churches - the Baptists, the Episcopalians, the Methodists, and the Presbyterians - at one time worshiped in the same space, sharing worship times. We know because we have a copy of the schedule framed and on the wall in our office. It wasn't long before those four churches built their own buildings - then all within a few blocks of downtown. All of the others - the Baptists (First Baptist), the Episcopalians (The Episcopal Church of the Ascension), and the Methodists (St. Mark United Methodist) - have since moved from downtown. But we stayed! Our location makes it possible for us to serve our neighbors, especially those who ride the CAT bus.

Seneca Presbyterian has been involved in the life of Seneca and Oconee County since that 1875 start. We have served on the city council, the county commission, and even as mayor. We have been teachers and principals, plant managers, insurance salespersons, factory workers, and farmers. When the lakes came that made our county such a beautiful site for retirees, we were blessed with a large number of those transplants from all over the country: Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Maine, and on and on. So we know our heritage and we know the life of a retiree. But we also know the lives of families and children, too.

We are a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA). That means we are connected with over two million fellow Presbyterians worshiping in 10,000 congregations across the United States. 

Presbyterians have been around for almost 500 years. We trace our theological heritage to John Calvin and share that heritage with other denominations in what we call the Reformed family of faith. Presbyterians are known for our colleges and our educated clergy. We believe we have a thoughtful faith - one that engages both mind and heart. We believe we should use that mind in interpreting the Bible and in understanding who God is and what God is doing in the world. We also believe that we don't have to agree on everything about what it means to be a Christian. We do believe in an important core of faith, but we also know that faithful Christians can disagree even on important concerns. Beyond that important core, we don't believe anyone can tell you what you have to believe in order to be a Christian. Listening to the Bible, to others, and to the Holy Spirit, we believe God will guide you as you grow in faith.

And what is that core? Jesus Christ is Lord. The love and grace of God is available to all.

Our Faith Family

In life and death, we belong to God. 

          Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

                 the love of God, 

                        and the communion of the Holy Spirit

We trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel,  

           whom alone we worship and serve. 

 (from A Brief Statement of Faith)

When the northern Presbyterian Church and the southern Presbyterian Church reunited in 1983 to form the Presbyterian Church (USA), they wrote a statement of faith to affirm what they believed. You can read that entire statement here

More about Presbyterians...

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Presbyterians are considered to be one of the mainline Protestant denominations. That puts us in the same group as Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, the United Church of Christ, and some Baptists (just to name a few). For the most part, mainliners trace their births to the first 100 years of the Reformation. Being a part of the mainline gives us a strong heritage.  If you would like to learn more about our parent denomination, click here to be linked to their website.

Because of our common roots, we share major beliefs and practices with these other Protestants. But in some significant ways, we are different. Here are some features to consider. 

  • The Role of Women in Church Leadership

    Some Christians limit the roles women can play in their churches. Based on how they interpret scripture, they may believe only men can serve in positions of authority. In Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations, women serve in all leadership roles. They are ministers (what we call Teaching Elders) and also lay leaders (what we call Ruling Elders and Deacons). At Seneca Presbyterian Church, you will see women collecting the offering, preaching the sermon, celebrating Communion, and teaching the children. You will also see them in the kitchen, along with the men. They can serve wherever they believe their gifts and interests lead them. That makes our church family stronger! 

  • Baptism: Is One Time Enough?

    Presbyterians believe that baptism is a sacrament - a visible sign of God's redeeming grace. In baptism, we are claimed by God and reborn through God's cleansing and life-giving waters. There is nothing we need to do or even can do to deserve God's love. It all depends on God. So if it all depends on God, there is no need to "re-baptize" someone. God doesn't need any "do-overs."   Baptism is the beginning of our journey of faith, not the end. There are moments in our lives when we feel a deeper calling from God, just as they are moments when we want to remember and reclaim the power of God's grace in our lives. Instead of being baptized again,  PC (USA)   Presbyterians  offer services of baptismal renewal. At Seneca Presbyterian, we pour water into our font every Sunday to remind us that God's refreshing waters of baptism are always new. 

  • How We Read the Bible

    Presbyterians believe in the Bible! It is the center of our worship, preaching, and living. We call it the Word of God and we believe it is a Living Word. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God speaks to us when we read the Bible; especially when we read it together with others who are seeking to hear what God has to say to us. But Presbyterians also believe that because the Bible was written by different people, in different languages, and in different periods of history, we need help in understanding the rich depths of its truths. So we turn to scholars, especially those who are also good teachers. We listen to them and we listen to each other. But we also listen to what God is saying to us.  Presbyterians believe persons of faith can hear the Bible differently. We also believe that one person does not have to be wrong in order for others to be right. God speaks through many different voices and we are stronger when we listen to them. 

  • Is Everyone Truly Welcome? 

    At Seneca Presbyterian, we say we are "the church for all people."  Do we really mean it? We hope so, and we strive to live out that vision. We wish we could be more diverse. More races. More ages. More ethnicities. Because that's what the Kingdom of God looks like.  In our day, many Christian churches are divided over the issue of human sexuality. Does God truly welcome our LGBTQ brothers and sisters? Seneca Presbyterian Church spent over a year talking about that question. We listened to the Bible and to each other. And we prayed seeking God's guidance for us. In the end, we decided that we really do mean it when we say we are "the church for ALL people." And we believe all facets of church membership are open to all God's children. We cannot put a limit on the grace of God.  You can read more about our process here