The Church Building
The paintings (also known as "icons") you see as you enter the church are those of men and women who have given their lives for the faith over the past 2,000 years. Just as we hang pictures of loved ones and friends on the walls of our homes, we do the same at church. Those paintings, or icons, provide us with inspiration to carry on the faith just as Paul or Peter did in their own time.
Our stained-glass windows provide us with inspiration by reminding us of the difficulties Jesus Christ faced as He was arrested, tried, and crucified. They also provide us with the hope that we, too, will be resurrected to eternal life just as Christ rose from the grave on the third day. The stained-glass window of St. Michael in the front of the church (behind the alter) reminds us that God sent His angels to watch over us as we continue to build His Kingdom here on earth.
The altar at the front of the church serves as a place where we celebrate the Lord's supper, also known as the Holy Eucharist or Holy Communion. The altar reminds us that Christ laid down His life willingly for the life of the world. It also reminds us of our Lord's own words to participate regularly in His supper by doing it in remembrance of Him.
Candles and Incense
Candles are used throughout our services as a reminder that Christ is the light of the world, and that we are called to carry that light to the ends of the earth starting in our own community. The two candles on the altar particularly remind us of Christ's unique person - the candle on the right symbolizes the divinity of Jesus Christ, while the candle on the left His humanity. On certain occasions incense is used as a representation of our prayers ascending to God. It also provides us with a symbol that our lives and worship are to be as a sweet aroma to God.
The clothing worn by the clergy and acolytes provide us with a picture of our life in Christ. We are no longer our former sinful selves, but rather, we are "clothed" by Christ's continual atoning work.
Scripture tells us that God gave gifts to mankind via the Holy Spirit for the edification of the Church as a whole and for the individual believer in his/her daily life. Listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-13, these include the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, miracles, prophecy, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. We believe these to be important tools for helping the believer and the Church to fulfill her calling in the Kingdom of God.
Scripture tells us that each individual is called to be "born again" and to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Through that we receive atonement for our sins, and we are daily being sanctified through Christ by the renewing of our minds. We hold a high view of Biblical authority, believing the sixty-six books of the Bible to be the inspired Word of God. Finally, we believe that we, the Church, are called to carry the good news of the Gospel to a lost world.
Every church, whether it be Roman Catholic or Baptist, has some kind of order of service designed to lead the individual to hear God's word and to have his/her life transformed more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Our church utilizes an order of service called a "liturgy" (meaning "work of the people") that incorporates musical worship, the Word of God through preaching, and the Lord's Supper (Holy Communion) into one package. Just as Jesus participated in Jewish "liturgical" ceremonies, we, too, believe we are called to participate in an orderly style of worship.