What We Believe
As Christians, we believe that God loves all people and desires to forgive our mistakes of the past and to guide us into a more positive, productive, and purposeful life. We believe that Jesus accurately reflected God’s will and God’s truth, and we strive to follow His example. We believe that the church community offers opportunities to better understand God’s desires, to build supportive friendships, and to share our talents, skills and faith with a hurting world.
We are a “Welcoming and Affirming” Church.
Many churches offer a broad “welcome” to all, which may not be enough. That’s because many times, individuals are welcomed into a church, but then they are expected to change to conform to the church’s beliefs. This often happens to members of the LGBTQ+ community, as many are “welcomed” into churches but then expected to change if they want to fit in, or they find that their opportunities for participation are limited.
That’s not what happens at BCGV. We are welcoming and affirming of all people, of every race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, cultural background, and socio-economic status. We not only welcome you, but we affirm you as being created in the image of God and as being a fully participating, welcome member at BCGV.
Our congregation is a member of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists.
Who Runs a Baptist Church?
The short answer: Everyone and no one. There are no bishops, no cardinals, no ecclesiastical oversight. The Congregation rules.
Since Roger Williams established the first Baptist Church in America in 1638, Baptists have been committed to religious freedom and the separation of church and state. Williams’ “wall of separation” concept in Rhode Island was so threatening to its New England neighbors that they spent the next 100 years trying to snuff out this “lively experiment” in governance. As a consequence, “Baptist roots date back four centuries to people seeking the opportunity to worship God as individual members of freely organized and freely functioning local churches. Baptists have always maintained the need for autonomous congregations, responsible for articulating their own doctrine, style of worship and mission,” according to the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA). The Baptist Church in the Great Valley is a member of the ABCUSA, the Philadelphia Baptist Association, and shares in the fellowship of Christians around the world by associating with the National and World Councils of Churches.
The Baptist Church in the Great Valley has adopted By-Laws providing that the congregation elect, at its Annual Meeting on the fourth Sunday of January each year, the officers and board members who will be responsible for administering the church’s affairs in the coming year. The By-Laws also provide that the Congregation shall call a minister of its choosing, who shall serve until that office becomes vacant. Every member is entitled to speak and vote at any Congregational meeting.