What We Believe

We are proud to be members of the Evangelical Presbyterian ChurchEPC logo (or EPC for short). Click the EPC logo to the right to read about what we consider to be the essentials of our faith, and while you’re there, we encourage you to explore how our denomination is at work in the world, making a difference and making disciples around the world. As a congregation, we spent considerable time studying and discerning what different denominations stand for, and we were unanimous in our decision to be part of the EPC.
Hillside belongs to a branch of protestant Christianity known as the Reformed tradition. We believe that nowhere is God more fully revealed than in the person of Jesus Christ, who is our Lord and Savior. While we put Scripture first, believing it to be the authoritative word of God, we also enjoy a rich tradition of teachings from some of the greatest theologians the world has ever known. Many of these teachings have been condensed into the Westminster Confession, which helps us to faithfully interpret Scripture, understand who God is, and what that means for our lives. For an introduction to our beliefs, check out the video (right) and link below.
We really encourage you to check out the New City Catechism below, and take some time to learn about what our tradition has taught for hundreds of years. This dynamic resource has in-depth teachings about the faith in modern-day language. If you have any questions or would like to have a conversation about what you hear, we would love to talk with you.

New City Catechism

Presbyterian in Government


The Presbyterian Church is so named because it is governed by presbyters (coming from the Greek word meaning “elders”). So basically, we are called Presbyterians because we are governed by a group who are called by God and elected by the people to be elders. Our church government is set up so that these presbyters can come together in governing bodies in gradually widening circles. For instance, Hillside is governed by a group of elders called the session, whom our church has elected.  All of the EPC churches and sessions from Buffalo to Columbus send elders and ministers to be representatives at the Presbytery, which governs and supports the churches under its care. To ensure that the denomination is rooted in reality, we structure our church councils so that there are two elders for every pastor. Likewise, oversight of the presbyteries occurs through the work of the General Assembly, which meets every year and is made up of pastors and elders from around the country. As an overarching principle of our government, presbyters are not simply to reflect the will of the people, but rather to seek together to find and represent the will of Christ, who we believe to be the head of the Church, as he has revealed his will in Scripture.

Reformed in Theology


Reformed theology was born during the 16th century as a response to a church that had gone astray by following human teachings instead of God’s Word. Consequently, we believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are God’s uniquely revealed and written Word, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and the Church’s first and final authority in all areas of faith and life, which God uses to correct us when we go astray. While we are first and foremost obedient to God’s will as He has revealed it in Scripture, we are also guided by the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, which we believe to be a faithful restatement of what Scripture teaches. These beliefs unify us and lead to a high level of trust that allow us to be flexible in proclaiming the gospel into our local contexts. To that end, our motto is “In Essentials Unity, In Non-essentials Liberty, in All Things Charity; Truth in Love.” Many of the principles articulated by John Calvin remain at the core of Presbyterian beliefs. Among these are the sovereignty of God, the authority of Scripture, justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and the priesthood of all believers. These beliefs are not uniquely Presbyterian, but they are particularly emphasized in churches that call themselves Presbyterian or Reformed. Check out the link to the New City Catechism above to learn more, or to go even deeper, you can find a copy of the Westminster Confession on the EPC website above.