In the beginning…
The life of the New Jerusalem Church of Pretty Prairie, Kansas, began in 1887 in the Lone Star school building, north of our current church location. Services were given in German until 1905. In 1906, the cornerstone for our church building was laid, and our beautiful church has been the site of our worship ever since.
Are we Christians?
YES. We love and worship the one God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We believe that God loves us so much that God took on our human form, and through Jesus we can know what God is like and feel God’s love personally. By continually opening ourselves to the love of Jesus, we can undertake the biggest challenge we have in life, to learn to love fully.
What about other faiths?
Along with our love and reverence for Jesus Christ as God Incarnate, we have a profound respect for other faiths. We feel there is no need to downgrade Christ in order to appreciate the beauty of other religions and no need to downgrade other religions in the name of loyalty to Christ.
Where does the Bible fit in?
The Bible opens a profound connection with God and offers us a blueprint for life. We study the whole Bible because within its message, we discover God’s communication with us. We find the Bible is alive with meaning for our lives. This is the Source for purifying our perception of truth.
Why does any of this matter?
What we believe touches all aspects of our lives. We are what we believe and the choices that we make affect us to eternity. Our goal is to bring Heaven to Earth, and we believe that this is easier to do in community with others searching to understand and learning to love.
What should I do right now?
Be OF USE. Religion is about life here and now, not just about life after death. We are not locked into being this way or that. God protects our freedom and we have choices. For example, when we mow the lawn, we can choose to look at it as a boring job that we have to repeat over and over, or we can appreciate the opportunity to be outside, savoring the beauty around us and be thankful for green grass. Usefulness is about doing all things in life with a certain spirit. Our responsibility in life is to take that which we love and that which we know and live according to it.
About Emanuel Swedenborg
Emanuel Swedenborg was born January 29, 1688, in Stockholm, Sweden. He mastered virtually all the known sciences of his time; writing on mathematics, geology, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, astronomy and anatomy. His achievements range from being the first to put forward a nebular hypothesis to making the first sketch of a glider-type aircraft. He was also a skillful bookbinder, understood clock making, engraving, marble inlay and lens grinding. He improved the forerunner of our phonograph. His experimental tank for ships is still used. He reflected on the possbility of a submarine, designed a machine gun and marketed a usable fire extinguisher.
Although he was acknowledged by his contemporaries to be one of the outstanding scientific figures of his generation, the last 27 years of Swedenborg’s life were devoted to writing books on religion. Before this, and even during his period of religious writing, he served as one of the most creative and influential members of the Swedish House of Nobles.
Swedenborg’s theological works form the basis of the Swedenborgian Church or, as it is sometimes called today, The Church of the New Jerusalem. Although he never intended a church denomination to be founded or named after him, a society was formed in London 15 years after his death. This 1787 organization eventually spawned the present General Convention of Swedenborgian Churches.
As a result of Swedenborg’s own spiritual questionings and insights, we as a church today exist to encourage that same spirit of inquiry and personal growth, to respect differences in views, and to accept others who may have different traditions. Swedenborg shared in his theological writings a view of God as infinitely loving and at the very center of our beings, a view of life as a spiritual birth as we participate in our own creation, and a view of Scripture as a story of inner-life stages as we learn and grow. Swedenborg said, “All religion relates to life, and the life of religion is to do good.” He also felt that the sincerest form of worship is a useful life.