As American Baptists, we believe in the Trinity, and that the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God that serves as the final written authority for living out the Christian faith. We believe that the local church is autonomous, governed by the church's members rather than by a hierarchy. The churches join together into, for example, American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island, or of the USA, for common support and in order to do mission work and other activities more effectively. Entrance into membership of an American Baptist church is through believer's baptism (preferably by immersion), after a personal decision to accept salvation through Christ's death and resurrection, or by profession of faith, or by transfer of membership from another Christian church. As American Baptists, we partake of two ordinances: believers' baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptism, an act of full immersion following Christ's example, is undertaken by those spiritually mature enough to understand its profound, symbolic significance: resurrection to new life in Christ. Lord's Supper, or Holy Communion, is usually observed once a month and on Maundy Thursday. The bread and cup that symbolize the broken body and shed blood offered by Christ recall God's great love for us - just as they did for the disciples on the eve of Christ's crucifixion. We American Baptists believe that the committed individual Christian can and should approach God directly (associated with terms like "soul freedom" and "priesthood of the believer"), and do not subscribe to any creeds or other statements that might compromise each believer's obligation to interpret Scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and within the community of faith. As American Baptists we value religious freedom for ourselves, and also support religious freedom of others, and respect others' expressions of faith. American Baptists have been early and consistent supporters of religious tolerance, as well as separation of church and state. American Baptists have traditionally been extremely interested in mission work, ever since the days of Adoniram and Ann Judson, who served in Burma (now Myanmar). When they arrived, Burma was a Buddhist nation, but, true to the American Baptist belief in religious freedom, the Judsons' work was characterized as being faithful to Christianity, rather than anti-Buddhist. Roger WIlliams, a Massachusetts Puritan who began to espouse some of the beliefs mentioned above, was banished from that colony and established Providence Plantations, later the Colony of Rhode Island, and still later the State of Rhode Island. Williams founded the First Baptist Church in America in Providence, RI. Besides advocating for religious freedom and separation of church and state, Williams was known for fair dealings with Native Americans. It was Canonicus, a Narragansett chief, who befriended Williams and gave him land to begin his endeavor in the Rhode Island area. Canonicus Camp and Conference Center, operated by American Baptists in RI, honors this chief. Other notable American Baptists, besides Roger Williams, include Ref. Martin Luther King, Jr. American Baptists have been staunch supporters of human rights. Originally called the "Northern Baptist Convention", in fact, separated from their southern brothers and sisters over the issue of slavery. There are many, many Baptist denominations, but the number and variety of Baptists is due to the "soul freedom" which underlies Baptist theology.
Tabernacle Baptist Church ~ 182 Seven Mile Road, PO Box 67, Hope RI 02831 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org We gather for worship at 9 am each Sunday morning.