Our Essential Beliefs
Our Core Distinctives
Our Ministry Staff and Leadership
Grace Community began as a small group of Christians gathering in a home in 2012. Dr. Ken Hegtvedt returned from a full-time duty station in Washington DC with a vision for establishing a PCA church in his hometown of Bremerton. We first gathered as Grace Fellowship, but as we grew, we wanted our name to reflect our purpose, so we became Grace Community.
We soon outgrew the living room space and moved to renting a space in the old Manette School Building from another local church (Discovery Fellowship) at the corner of 13th and Hayward Streets in Manette.
In January of 2013 we were accepted by the Pacific Northwest Presbytery (PNWP) into the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) as a Mission Church. Four short years later, in October of 2017, we were officially organized and particularized as a church by the Presbyterian Church in America.
In the beginning of 2018, a property belonging to Memorial Lutheran Church became available that several of the leadership noticed and viewed. The leadership looked at the property paying careful attention to the building’s needs and the church body’s resources. But the asking price at that time was far too much to consider purchasing. However, the idea of finding a building for our church piqued the leadership’s interest and they continued to look for property to rent or purchase that would support our growing needs.
Some months later, Memorial Lutheran Church, wanting to ensure that the church remained a place where God was worshipped and His truth was preached, accepted an offer from us at a price which we could afford. Following much deliberation, the steps to purchase the Church property on 10th and Veneta began, including checking the city codes and a title search. Grace Community Presbyterian Church celebrated its new home in the former Memorial Lutheran Church building with its worship service on Sunday, May 19th, 2019.
Grace Community is enjoying God’s rich blessing and experiencing steady spiritual growth as a church body. We believe that the design of God's gift of salvation in the life of the Christian is holiness, good works, and service for the glory of God. To this end, Grace Community (PCA) is committed and prayerfully trusting our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ with His will for our future.
We are eager to experience the glory of God in such an astonishing way that the city of Bremerton will be drawn to the majesty and mercy of our great God. It is our wish that our worship will serve as an authentic model to our city of the possibilities for transformation of individuals, families, and the city encountering the glory and grace of God.
We are committed to serving the Lord, His Church, and impacting the world. We are a community of believers committed to accomplish this, through: Worship that exalts the person of God, Discipleship that conforms us to God’s design, Fellowship that expresses God’s love to one another, Outreach that presents God’s grace and mercy in salvation and Service that expresses value to God by serving one another in the body and those in our local community.
Grace Community Presbyterian Church is a member of the Presbyterian Church in America. Our denominational affiliation and distinctives ground us in the rich conservative reformed tradition. For more information, follow this link the Presbyterian Church in America’s website.
Grace Community Presbyterian Church is a Mission Church in the Pacific Northwest Presbytery. Please See the Pacific Northwest Presbytery’s website for details about our region.
Our Essential Beliefs
The following is a concise statement of our beliefs. For a more in-depth examination of our theology, we suggest the Westminster Confession of Faith and, above all, the Bible. Truth is important! We believe the Bible speaks with great clarity on life’s foundational issues.
Bibliology: The Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. God loves to communicate with the people He created, and the Bible is the book He wrote to do just that. In its perfect pages He tells us all we need to know for this life and the life to come. The Bible has authority over all we do.
Theology Proper: There is one God, eternal and self-existing in three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) who are to be equally loved, honored, and adored. God had no beginning and will have no end. He is infinitely powerful, beautiful, and perfect in every conceivable way. He exists in relationship with Himself, as one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Creation and Fall: All mankind participated in Adam's tragic fall from his original sinless state and is thus lost in sin and totally helpless. Humanity was created by God, in His image, to be in relationship with Him. As such, every person on the face of the earth is of great value, possesses great dignity, and is worthy of great respect. Sin is the rejection of the relationship with God. Every person ever created has done this by doing things we shouldn’t do and by not doing the things we should. Such actions destroy our relationship with God, are offensive to Him, and are counterproductive to our own joy.
Jesus: Jesus came to restore our relationship with God. Being fully God and fully human, He did so by becoming our substitute: living the perfect life we couldn’t live, dying on the cross to pay the punishment our sin deserves, then rising again to conquer death.
The Holy Spirit: God does not leave believers to make it through life on their own. Instead, He sends the Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts. The Holy Spirit leads us into truth and gives us strength to follow Jesus.
Soteriology: God, for no other reason than His own unfathomable love and mercy, has chosen lost sinners from every nation to be redeemed by the quickening power of the Holy Spirit and through the atoning death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. Those sinners whom the Spirit quickens, come to believe in Christ as Savior by the Word of God, are born again, become sons of God, and will persevere to the end. Justification Is by faith and through it the undeserving sinner is clothed with the righteousness of Christ. There is absolutely nothing we can do to restore our relationship with God. No amount of work, effort, or good intentions can mend the mess we’ve made. Salvation can only come through Jesus. Consequently, salvation is a gift. God reaches out in sovereign grace and draws us back into relationship through His Son. Why? Simply because He loves us.
Ecclesiology: Baptism is a sign of God's covenant and is properly administered to children of believers in their infancy as well as to those who come as adults to trust in Christ. Community is at the very heart of who God is and so He gave us the church. We walk, not only with God, but also with other believers, loving one another well and working together to see God’s purposes for humanity fulfilled here on earth.
Eschatology: Future things, Jesus Christ will return to earth, visibly and bodily, at a time when He is not expected, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God. At death, the Christian's soul passes immediately into the presence of God and the unbeliever's soul is eternally separated from God unto condemnation.
Our Core Distinctives
We are evangelical. This means that we take our stand with all those who believe in what historically were called “the fundamentals”: the existence of the triune God, the deity of Jesus, the virgin birth, the substitutionary and vicarious atonement of Christ, the physical resurrection of Christ, the sure return of Christ, and the infallibility & divine authority of the Bible. We joyfully affirm our unity with those from every tradition and denomination who hold to these fundamentals, including those true believers in Christ who, for whatever reasons, find themselves members of denominations or churches with which we might have certain disagreements.
We are evangelistic. We are committed to fulfilling the Great Commission, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Without compromising the sovereignty of God, we affirm the responsibility of each person to repent and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and our responsibility to extend the Gospel invitation as a call to salvation to everyone who hears its message.
We are reformed. We believe that the reformed faith is biblical faith. Reformed distinctives include the sovereignty of God in His creation, providence and election of believers apart from any merit of their own; the irresistible grace of God provided for and preceding the faith of the individual; the sufficiency of God’s grace apart from which man is dead in sin and wholly defiled in all his faculties of soul and body; the efficacy of Christ’s death for all those who believe in Him by grace; the safe-guarding of all those for whom Christ died for eternity.
We are confessional. This means that we have a written confession of faith, which we believe to be a good and accurate summary of the Bible’s teaching. Our confession consists of the Westminster Confession of Faith, both the Larger and Shorter Westminster Catechisms.
We are covenantal. To say we are covenantal means we believe that the unifying principle of the Scriptures is the one covenant of grace that God made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and finally, and most importantly, finds fulfillment in Jesus Christ. To speak of the unity of the covenants means that there is one way and one way only to salvation in both the Old and New Testaments – that is, by faith in Christ alone.
We are Presbyterian. This word refers to our form of governance. It is our belief that the clearest biblical pattern is for churches to be governed by presbyters (elders) who rule jointly in what are called “church courts,” which are called sessions, presbyteries, and the General Assembly.
Our Ministry Staff and Leadership
Dick Shipley and his wife, Sue, are delighted to find a loving home in Grace Community Presbyterian Church. GCPC has helped us to grow in knowing and loving our Lord. The Shipleys have lived in Kitsap County for 47 years raising two sons as well a foster daughter. Dick worked as the Chief Engineer at Puget Sound Naval shipyard until he retired in 2003.
Doug has worked in the financial software and information technology business since 1968. He and his wife, Melinda, moved in 2015 from North Carolina to Port Orchard, WA to be closer to his daughter and grandchildren. In 1982 Doug accepted the Lord and joined a PCA church in Florida where he later was ordained as a deacon. “I have been seeking to know how the Lord wanted me to serve Him. Then we moved to Washington and found our home at GCPC. Grace is a great place to grow and serve the Lord and His people.”
Music is an important part of praising our Savior in church. The music at Grace Community Presbyterian Church is based on the Scriptures with the singing of hymns and a mix of some contemporary music. We use the Trinity Hymnal as well as praise songs from a wide range of decades. Great music with great words stand the test of time. Cassie’s background in music stems from 35 years as a choir director and theater arts director in the Bremerton public schools. “I feel very blessed to be able to serve the Lord through the ministry of music."
Women of Grace
Jenny served about four years on active duty with the Navy as a Naval Aviation Maintenance Officer and another 16 in the Reserves, retiring in 2001. She also worked in federal Civil Service in Naval Aviation Logistics & Maintenance as well as Program Management, retiring in 2012. Jenny also spent many years volunteering in prison ministries, teaching and discipling women and, most recently, in ministry to the homeless of Kitsap County with the Kitsap Rescue Mission.