Questions and Answers
About Second Presbyterian Church
How do I get started? If you have visited us on the web but not yet in person, the first step is to come some Sunday morning for worship. We know that it isn’t necessarily an easy step to take, no matter whether you’re a lifelong Christian or just checking out the faith for the first time. So take it easy on yourself and know that you can try things out at your own pace. Ultimately we are a community of friendship, healing, encouragement, and exploration. In the “Second Family,” no one is perfect and everyone is welcome. Take your time and pray about where God is leading you. Our hope is that you find the congregation that is “right” for you. Our prayer is that it will be Second Pres! To learn more about our worship services, click here for service information or click here for Worship questions and answers.
If you’ve already come to worship and liked what you experienced, keep coming. The best way to learn if Second Pres is right for you is to worship with us for several weeks. At Second Pres, every Sunday is a little bit different; by coming on a variety of Sundays, especially several Sundays in a row, you’ll get a pretty good feel for who we are and what we’re trying to do. It’s also a great idea to check out one of our midweek ministries and missions. Even as a visitor, you are welcome to be part of everything that we do. If you introduce yourself to Pastor Jeff or Pastor Jennifer while you’re visiting, they will be glad to help you get connected. If you would like to know more about our history, click here.
How do I join? If you’re ready to make Second Pres your Second Family, then you’ll want to take the next step, which is joining. Because our mission is to help people connect deeply to God and each other, our Inquirers Group is all about building relationships. Once a year, beginning in mid-January, we offer a multi-week small group Sunday morning experience called “Inquirers” that is designed to help you grow in your relationship with God, this congregation, other inquirers, and even yourself. Inquirers includes adults of all ages, religious backgrounds, and marital statuses. The relaxed discussion format makes everyone feel at home. In Inquirers you’ll have a chance to reflect on where you are on your faith journey, make new friends, and think about some goals for the future. At the end of the experience, you can choose to join the congregation, but there’s no obligation to do so. If you’d like to learn more about Inquirers, click here for a full description . If you have questions about Inquirers, contact Pastor Jeff.
Do I have to join? Not at all. You can be part of everything Second Pres does without formally joining. On the other hand, there’s a depth of relationship that seems to come only when we have formally committed ourselves to God and a particular group of Christians (i.e., a local congregation). Think of it as the difference between dating and being married.
I keep hearing about "the Session." What's that? The Presbyterian Church is governed by groups of lay people (i.e., regular folks like you). While pastors play an important role, adult volunteers of all ages and backgrounds “run” the church, assisted by staff resource people. In the Presbyterian Church, the Session is the group of volunteer leaders who are responsible for the overall life of a congregation, especially its ministries and missions. The Session can delegate some of its responsibilities to a Board of Trustees (which handles financial and facility matters) and a Board of Deacons (which handles care for individual members of the congregation and community). Individual members of the Session are called “Elders.” If you’d like to learn more about what it means to be Presbyterian, consider coming to “Presbyterianism 101,” which is offered regularly. For details contact Pastor Jeff. You can also visit the Presbyterian Church (USA) web site, www.pcusa.org.
Why are you called the Second Presbyterian Church? In 1833 our congregation was started by some folks who broke away from First Presbyterian Church (which is still a vibrant congregation on the square in downtown Carlisle). The source of the rift was an arcane theological debate, and the details of it have long been forgotten by all but the two congregations’ church historians. Since we were the second Presbyterian congregation in town, we were aptly named, “Second Presbyterian Church.” Click here to read more about our history.
How is the Presbyterian Church (USA) different from some other Presbyterian denominations (like the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), or the Orthodox Presbyterian Church? The short answer is that we are similar in many ways and different in a few significant ones. The Presbyterian Church (USA), also known as the PC (USA) www.pcusa.org, is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States. We also ordain women. Other Presbyterian denominations are usually off-shoots of the PC (USA), and most do not ordain women. Other Presbyterian denominations tend to take strongly conservative stands on a variety of theological issues. Within the PC (USA) in general – and Second Pres in particular – our members have theological views that range from very conservative to very liberal, but most of us are somewhere in the middle.