Children surrounding font, vicar pours in water

The Apostles’ Creed

A summary of Christian faith handed down over the centuries

From the earliest days of the Church, Christians developed short, simple summaries of the faith. These short statements became known as creeds.

The word ‘creed’ comes from the Latin word credo, meaning ‘I believe and trust’.

Two creeds in particular were developed in the early centuries of the Church, which have remained important to the Church and are regularly used in our worship today.

People who were preparing for baptism in the early centuries of the Christian Church learned a short summary of what Christians believe. One version became accepted as the Apostles’ Creed, because it was thought to include the essential teaching of the 12 apostles, Jesus’ earliest followers. It was into that faith of the apostles that Christians were, and are, baptized.

Young woman smiling, holds candle at service

The Apostles’ Creed is therefore a summary of what the Church teaches, and of what Christians together believe, rather than a detailed statement of individual and personal belief. Saying the Creed binds Christians together as a believing community, across different traditions and practices.

As we say the Creed, we join Christians past and present, and from all over the world, in proclaiming our common faith.

The Apostles' Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Amen.

Lots of people inside church standing around the font for baptism Credit: Jim Cox

The Apostles’ Creed is used especially at services of baptism and confirmation.

The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed is a more detailed summary of what the whole Church believes about the great doctrines of the Christian faith. It begins with the statement: ‘We believe …’ The Nicene Creed uses the same threefold structure as the Apostles’ Creed but goes into more depth and detail. It was first adopted at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 by a gathering of bishops.

Read The Nicene Creed
'Great is the Lord and highly to be praised;
his greatness is beyond all searching out.
One generation shall praise your works to another
and declare your mighty acts.' Psalm 145.3-4

Despite the divisions within the Church that have happened over the centuries, all the major Christian traditions continue to acknowledge the words of the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed in their worship and teaching.

Every time we come to say the creeds it is vital to reflect and remember how it is that we come to believe them. It is by the grace and mercy of God that we have come to faith and are able to say and explore these words. It is not through human cleverness or ingenuity. God has revealed himself through the Scriptures. God has revealed himself most clearly through the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ. God makes himself known personally to each believer through the work of the Holy Spirit.

From Common Worship

Holy God,
faithful and unchanging:
enlarge our minds
with the knowledge of your truth,

and draw us more deeply
into the mystery of your love,

that we may truly worship you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Glowing cross in church James Atkinson

What we believe

Explore some of the beliefs at the very heart of the Christian faith.

Open hands in prayer

The Lord's Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer is the prayer Jesus taught his followers to pray.