Great Ends of the Church

The Great Ends of the Church are a set of six mission statements that define the life and work of the Presbyterian Church (USA). For decades, these axioms have helped establish the course for mission and ministry, and present basic works to our denomination that are the heart of who the church is and what the church is called to do.

The First Great End

The proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind.

The book in the banner represents the Scriptures. The dove is rising from the Scriptures indicating the source of both the original witness and our present understanding. The same Spirit that inspired the original writers enables us to receive the gospel. The cross behind the book and dove remind us that the heart of the gospel is Jesus Christ, God with us and for us.

The Second Great End

The shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God.

Multi-hued hands represent all the children of God. The dove’s wings are tipped downward, sheltering the people of God. The triangle of light links the dove to the people.

The Third Great End

The maintenance of divine worship.

The chalice, a reminder of the Trinity, represents the Lord’s Supper, and the three drops of water, Baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The dove reminds us that the same Spirit is present in the Sacraments as in the proclamation of the gospel. The Sacraments enact the gospel. The raised arms signify our response of praise and thanksgiving; our worship of the living God.

The Fourth Great End

The preservation of the truth.

The banner represents the light of truth shining in the darkness. The dove reminds us that the truth we proclaim to the world is the gospel of Jesus Christ, God with us and for us. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

The Fifth Great End

The promotion of social righteousness.

The banner represents Amos 5:24: “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever -flowing stream.”

The Sixth Great End

The exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.

The dove is in flight over the globe, carrying an olive branch, echoing Gen. 8:11: “And lo, in her mouth a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth.” This represents the eighth day of creation, God’s grace coming into the world, the reign of God proclaimed by Jesus Christ. The light rising behind the earth represents the dawning of God’s kingdom.

414 Hiden Blvd
Newport News, VA 23606