Gathering for worship is a point of transition, a movement from our life in the world to our life together in the presence of God. As we enter the Sanctuary, we become a congregation, a family, a community of God’s people. Our attention moves from our individual lives to those around us and then to the worship leaders. Silent preparation will best allow you to adjust your focus. A resource for meditation is provided in the pew rack.
Calvary is blessed with a fine pipe organ and a skilled organist. The word prelude derives from the Latin “praelludium” and means “to play beforehand.” This piece of music is carefully chosen to enhance the season of the Christian year. It is an important part of your preparation for worship. Please observe silence during the prelude.
Praising and Singing
Praising is one of the ways to participate fully in worship. It helps us recognize God’s greatness and power. Singing is an important form of offering praise to God. During worship you will have many opportunities to sing. As a member of the congregation you are the choir. The musical group in the front is there to assist you in your singing. It will be helpful for you to look ahead in your order of worship, locating the next song on your song sheet so you will be ready to praise or respond through song. This congregation uses a wide variety of musical styles in worship.
Prayer in worship involves spoken prayers as well as silent prayers. In addition to being attentive to spoken prayers, silent reflection provides an opportunity to encounter God and will enrich your worship experience.
These brief definitions will guide you:
Invocation – The invocation from the Latin “invocatis” means “the act or process of asking for help or support.” In worship the invocation calls upon God to be present to the worshiping community.
The Pastoral Prayer – This prayer is offered by a worship leader and grows out of timely concerns or joys that have arisen in the world, our city, sickness or death in the church membership, or other concerns and celebrations. Calvary’s ministers are glad to know about these needs before worship so that they may be included in this prayer time.
Confession – The prayer of confession offers us the opportunity to be honest with ourselves and with God. During this prayer we give to God those things for which we are genuinely sorry and ask for God’s forgiveness. A prayer of assurance is always included so that we can, with confidence, receive God’s loving forgiveness.
Listening to God together in silence can be a powerful and meaningful experience. Just as we move from awkward to comfortable silence in our mature human relationships, so it is with God. Some suggestions for silence are as follows:
- Focus on Your Breath - Our breath is our most basic gift of life. Focus your awareness on your breathing. As you breathe in, say to yourself, “I am breathing in…thank you for life.” As you breathe out, say to yourself, “I am breathing out…receive my living.”
- Slowly Repeat a Passage of Scripture - “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” or “The Lord is my light, whom shall I fear.”
- Create Positive Imagination - Think of someone who needs your prayer. Picture them with the light of Christ encircling their life.
- Pray the Images that Come to You - Allow your thoughts to arise. Pray with each thought or with each image. If the image disturbs you ask for God’s peace. If the image brings you joy, offer that joy to God.
Giving is an important act of worship. In the order of worship, a “Call to Give” signals to all of us the opportunity to give our tithes and offerings. Christians have many reasons for offering gifts of money to support the work of the church. We give joyfully in response to the blessings in our lives, in gratitude to our loving God. We want to be part of the meaningful work of our church in our community and in the world. And we respond to God’s age-old standard concerning tithes and offerings
Preaching has always been a significant moment in the church’s worship.
The sermon has its unique roots in Jewish tradition and was carried on and explored in the Christian tradition. We know that Jesus was a preacher. In the account of the sermon he delivered in his hometown (Luke 4:14-21) three necessary elements of preaching are evident. First, there is a liturgical element: Jesus’ sermon was in the context of worship. Second, there is the exegetical aspect: Jesus interpreted a text. Third, there is the prophetic or challenging element: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
These three elements – worship, exegesis, and prophecy – constitute the essential framework for the sermon.
- During worship, a preacher will
- interpret a text and will
- challenge us to make that truth come alive in our living.
Occasionally the sermon will be given in the form of musical or artistic expression.
Before the singing of the Song of Invitation, you will be invited to respond to God in a couple of ways. First, you are invited to make Jesus Christ the Lord of your life and publicly affirm that you want to become his disciple and secondly, you are invited to join in the life of this congregation and become a member of this Christian family. To respond to these invitations, come forward during the singing and one of Calvary’s ministers will meet you at the front of the Sanctuary. Membership means committing your prayers, presence, gifts and service to God in this place.
The Benediction – If one looks closely at the Benediction, one can clearly see the intent of this action “Bene” means “good” and “diction” means “word” … literally a “good word.” The Benediction sends us forth with the blessing of God’s power over our lives.
The Postlude – The word postlude derives from the Latin “postlludium” and simply means “to play afterward.” The postlude is designed to provide a bridge from your encounter with God in worship to your service for God in the world. You are invited to remain in silence and listen to the postlude.
May God be with you.
Communion through the Lord’s Supper
In the spirit of openness, we invite any who have made a faith commitment to Jesus Christ to join in the sharing of this meal. On the night before Jesus was crucified, he met with his disciples and they shared a meal together. On the first Sunday of each month during worship, the Calvary congregation remembers this “last supper” with a service of communion.
At that last meal, Jesus took bread and wine, common food at a meal in his day, and blessed it in a special way. Jesus used that food and drink to teach his disciples that his life, death, and resurrection would continue to sustain them in the days, months, and years to come. He taught them to remember Him whenever they ate a meal together.
Indeed, Christians all over the world in a variety of ways and in many denominations still gather to celebrate this important meal and to be sustained by Christ who is the bread of life. Historically, Baptists have viewed this meal as a memorial – an opportunity to remember what Jesus did for each of us.
At Calvary, when we break bread together, in addition to remembering Jesus, we hope you will also experience the presence of the risen Christ, for Christ is surely present – present among all who participate – present in the breaking, sharing, eating and drinking. Christ is personally and actively present: cleansing, energizing, challenging, healing and uniting.
Anyone who is a member of Calvary may be invited to be a communion server. There are a variety of methods for sharing communion. It is common Baptist practice to serve each other. This is best accomplished my passing the tray to the person next to you and allowing them to hold it for you. Parents, we leave it to your discretion whether or not to serve your unbaptized children. After you have been served, hold the bread or cup so that we may all partake together, as directed by the minister.
As followers of Jesus Christ, Baptism is an act of obedience. Baptism is one of the two sacraments or ordinances recognized by the Protestant branch of the Christian church. It is one of the most joy-filled and poignant sacred actions found in Christian worship. In baptism, the baptismal candidate is re-affirmed as a child of God, becomes a disciple of Jesus Christ, and begins the ministry to which they are being called by God.
Traditionally, Baptist churches practice “believer’s baptism,” meaning that only those who are old enough to make their own decision to become a follower of Christ are eligible for baptism.
The form of baptism commonly found in the Baptist tradition is called immersion. This form of baptism, in which one goes completely under the water, gets its inspiration from the Jewish form of ritual cleansing called the Mikveh. In Jesus’ day this ritual washing was a symbol of religious purification and consecration. In scripture, water is a powerful symbol of God’s grace. By immersion, we place ourselves under God’s grace and submerge ourselves into the character of Christ who is our Savior and Lord. Baptism is a powerful and profound symbol of our new life in God.
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Calvary has open membership. In other words, if you have been baptized (regardless of the form) you are received openly as a member of this congregation based on your Christian experience. If you have been baptized as an infant and would find it meaningful to be immersed as an adult, you are encouraged to do so. Please talk to one of the ministers. Pastor’s classes are available for all ages.
Calvary’s worship services include a specific time for children. Children are invited to come to the front of the sanctuary for a story or lesson that is focused directly toward them. While adults often enjoy the story and appreciate the lesson, this segment of worship is focused exclusively on children’s needs.
According to John Westerhoff, a leading Christian educator, children’s presence in worship is not only important, but is necessary if we are to become the whole people of God. Westerhoff’s premise is that faith is “caught” not “taught”, and what better way for children to know what faith is all about than to be a part of a community that laughs together, cries together, struggles together, and worships together – a community that lives and shares its faith with all its members?
Following the story, children in kindergarten through fourth grade are invited to Creative Time, during which children can learn and grow in an age-appropriate environment. Creative Time takes place in one of the children’s classrooms with gifted adult leaders.
Celebrating new life: infant/parent dedication
Historically, Baptist churches baptize those who make a conscious profession of personal faith in Christ. Yet, we recognize the importance of spiritual nurturing of children and parents within the Christian community. The ceremony of child dedication offers one way to symbolize the fact that children of Christian parents are part of the community of faith even though those children are not baptized. It also provides the congregation and the parents an opportunity to affirm their roles in nurturing the child in an atmosphere of love and faith. Infant and child dedication occurs in the midst of a Sunday worship service. If you would like to schedule this ceremony for your child, please contact one of the pastors.
Celebrating life together: Marriage
The sacred action of Christian marriage is often likened to the relationship that Christ has with the church, for it is a covenant of love between a man and a woman that joins them as one. The marriage ceremony is primarily an act of worship. If you or someone in your family is considering marriage, a wedding booklet describing Calvary’s wedding and counseling guidelines is available in the church office.
Celebrating our sacred dwelling: The blessing of a home
Because your home provides an intimate and personal space for you and your family, it is the primary place where you can celebrate your unique relationships with others and with God. It is a “domestic church.” The dedication of an apartment, a new home, a remodeled room, or an addition can be a meaningful and important way to place God central in that place. Calvary’s ministers are available for this service.
Celebrating God’s grace: A service of healing
At least twice a year, a healing service is held in Calvary’s Chapel. This service includes scripture reading, quiet prayer, singing, and an optional ceremony of the laying on of hands.
Health is often understood as the absence of disease or illness. Yet the World Health Organization offers this definition, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Healing was an important element in Jesus’ ministry and redemptive work. In order to be a healthy person, we all need healing. To some degree, as we each journey toward wholeness, a celebration of God’s healing grace in our lives is an important act of worship.
Celebrating life in death: The funeral /memorial service
A funeral or memorial service is an important and necessary act of worship. The purpose of a Christian funeral is to affirm our belief that Christ is victorious over death, to commit the deceased to the eternal presence of God, and to provide an opportunity for the survivors to grieve and find comfort.
The pastors at Calvary desire all funeral and memorial services held here to be personal, uplifting, meaningful and comforting. Some day each of us will be called upon to face our own death and the death of a loved one. It would be most helpful to know your thoughts with regard to your funeral arrangements. A brochure for that purpose has been prepared and is available in the church office. If you would like pastoral assistance in discussing your own memorial service or that of a loved one, please call the church office for an appointment.
Celebrating life transitions: Retirements, anniversaries, and other events
It is important to celebrate life’s transitions. Major events in life usually signal some kind of change. Those changes need to be recognized and supported. Often, a simple ceremony focusing on the transitional event in one’s life can be helpful and meaningful. If you would like to schedule a service of this kind, please talk to one of the pastors.
Celebrating creative worship: Taizé
Calvary offers a contemplative worship service in the style of the Taizé Community on the second Sunday of each month. Silent prayer begins at 6:30 pm and the service begins at 7:00 pm.
Taizé is a small village in eastern France where young adults from all over the world have gathered together since the early 1950s. They come to pray, to worship, and to seek the meaning of life in communion with Christ and sisters and brothers of many races and cultures. The founder and mentor of this ecumenical community is Brother Roger, a “bearer of trust, reconciliation, and peace.” Today there are over one hundred brothers in the Taizé community from over twenty different countries. They share their material goods, talents, and faith together in a celibate life, and lead Bible study groups, prayer services, and worship for the thousands of young adults who make a pilgrimage to their community. Praying together as a community is central to life together, whether they are at Taizé or travel to share the life of the poor in India, Africa, or Central America.
Taizé worship takes place three times a day and includes meditative and sung prayer, Scripture reading, and silence. The singing, often in four-part harmony or in a round, is offered in many languages. Sometimes instruments play a higher melody line while voices sing a short, chantlike tune. This simple yet magnificent sung prayer, repeated over and over again, continues on in the heart long after worship has ended.
What people wear
- Clergy - The ordained pastors of Calvary traditionally wear pulpit robes while leading in worship. The wearing of robes is a means of minimizing distractions for the worshipper. In addition to the robe, the pastors wear stoles that match the liturgical color of the season of the church year: Purple is worn during Advent and Lent, white during Christmas and Easter, green during Epiphany and the season of Pentecost, and red on Pentecost Sunday. White stoles are worn to conduct weddings in celebration of the new beginnings of that occasion. White stoles are also worn on the occasion of funerals in celebration of the resurrection.
- Choir - The choir is present in worship to help lead the worship drama. The choir may sing a song of praise to God on behalf of God’s people, or the song may be directed toward the congregation and sung on God’s behalf. Robes are worn to symbolize the harmony and blend of the choir as they speak “with one voice.”
- Worshippers - Worshippers at Calvary are welcome to dress however they choose. At every service, attire ranges from very casual to dressy. Our congregation tends to be more informal in the summer.
What’s in the sanctuary
In worship, God is our audience, the object of our devotion and praise. Worshippers are the actors, giving themselves to God through acts of worship. This “worship drama” is led and prompted by the worship leaders and the choir. The Calvary sanctuary, with its high arches and expansive interior, is carefully designed to lift the eyes of the worshipper heavenward and remind each person of the grandeur of God.
The two dominant ideas expressed in the sanctuary are “Christian worship” and “Colorado.” The lavish use of wood and stone is suggestive of the Colorado mountains. The stone for the exterior, with lichens still attached, came from Lyons, Colorado. A redwood screen with a cross design covers the exterior of the windows. Hand-split cedar shakes provide the roof. Laminated arches with a long, tapering reach cover the sanctuary and give a sense of height, with the apex 50 feet above the grade.
The back of the chancel and baptistry is stone, and the latter is off center, to the congregation’s left and above the choir loft. All the lights are directed forward and downward from behind the arches so the congregation will not face any light. The sanctuary is replete with symbolism. At the end of every fourth pew in the center aisle, a symbol from the plant life of nature is carved in the solid oak—27 in all, to suggest the number of books in the New Testament. All the wood, except that used in the arches and roof decking, is oak, and all of the carpeting, rock, and windows were selected carefully to blend everything visible into a harmonious whole to reflect the beauty and orderliness of God’s creation.
What’s up front
Central in the chancel area is a communion table with an open Bible, an altar with a cross, and two candles. Through these symbols, we are reminded that what Christ has done for us is central to our faith. Approaching the table and altar is a wide center aisle, symbolic of the open access the worshipper has to God. The believer has direct, unimpeded access to all that the table and altar represent. The chancel steps and aisle are carpeted in red, reminding us of God’s love flowing from the cross and reaching out to the world.
The pulpit is off to one side, suggesting that the pastor does not stand between the worshipper and the altar and that he or she cannot add to what God already has done in Jesus Christ. The preacher points to God’s great acts and invites people to accept them.
Similarly, the lectern—from which the worship is conducted—is off to the side. Its position reminds us that worship is not an end in itself but rather a testament to the central truth that Jesus is Lord and Savior.
The baptistry offers silent witness that all of us must make our own commitment and have our own faith.
The cross is the central symbol of the Christian faith. On it, Christ died in a supreme act of love for all humanity. The empty cross reminds us that Christ is risen and is victorious over sin and death.
Candles symbolize the light of Christ. The two candles (dikiri) suggest the divine and human nature of Christ.
The witness of the windows
The stained-glass windows in the sanctuary stand as a witness to the faith and message of this Christian community. They were created in pairs. Each pair offers a unique aspect of the Christian story.
Far and near—
- The Christ window - The Christ window, located in the front of the sanctuary, has as its central symbol the Chi Rho, a combination of the first two letters of “Christ” in Greek. Luke says that Jesus grew physically, mentally, and spiritually (Luke 2:52). The fish backed by the cross stands for his physical life. The lamp symbolizes wisdom and his mental life. The dove represents the descent of the Spirit and speaks of Christ’s spiritual life. The blue background of the Chi Rho may remind us that it was at his baptism that Jesus saw the Spirit descending as a dove.
- The trinity window - The trinity window, located in the back of the sanctuary, includes time-honored symbols of God’s triune nature. The great hand with its emanating rays is the creative hand of God, the creator. The sacrificial lamb of biblical tradition represents the redeemer, Jesus Christ. The flame, glowing red as the tongues of fire in Acts, chapter two, symbolizes the Holy Spirit.
Common and uncommon—
- The wheat window - The wheat window, located in the east dormer window nearest the chancel, reminds us of Jesus’ statement, I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger… —John 6:35. The wheat signifies the communion bread, a symbol of His body broken for us.
- The grapes window - The grapes window, located directly across from the wheat, symbolizes the wine of the Jewish Passover and our Christian Lord’s Supper. Wine was considered to be “the blood of the grape,” or the life of the grape. For Christians, it symbolizes the gift of Christ’s life, that we might know God’s redeeming love.
Win and lose—
- The Greek cross window - The Greek cross window, located in the second east dormer window from the chancel, has four equal arms and two sets of letters. Across the top are the letters “IC XC,” Greek letters that correspond to our English “JS” and “ChS” and therefore abbreviations for Jesus Christ. The letters below the cross arms form the word nika, meaning “to conquer.” It’s interesting to note that the Greek goddess of victory was Nike. The overall significance of the symbol is that Jesus Christ conquers through the cross.
- The crown of thorns window - The crown of thorns window, located directly across from the Greek cross window, represents the humiliation and suffering to which Jesus was subjected at the crucifixion. The soldiers ridiculed him by placing a crown of thorns on his head and declaring “Hail, King of the Jews.” Interwoven among the thorns are three nails representing those used to nail to the cross the hands and feet of Jesus (see Matthew 27:27–31).
Mission and message—
- The torch window - The torch window, located in the middle east dormer, is a symbol of Christian mission: light for dark places, enlightenment for darkened minds. The Christian is called to share the light of Christ with other people. In ancient Greece, the torch was carried in long relay races, one runner handing it to another, just as each generation of Christians passes on the Christian faith to succeeding generations. As a church, Calvary has consistently made mission a focal point of its concern and program (see Matthew 2:19–20).
- The candle window - The candle window is located directly across from the torch window. Early Christians used candles for worship and for very practical purposes. Driven by persecution to meet behind closed doors and in catacombs, they lit candles in their hiding places. Those Christians remembered Jesus’ words, ” I am the light of the world.” —John 8:12
And they also heard him say, “You are the light of the world.” —Matthew 5:14–16
The word and way—
- The open Bible window - The open Bible window, located in the second east dormer from the rear of the nave, represents a keynote of Baptist tradition. We believe that the Bible is open and available to every believer and that each has the right, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to read and interpret for himself or herself. We accept the Bible as the sufficient guide for faith and life.
- The basin and pitcher window - The basin and pitcher window, located directly across from the open Bible window, reminds us of the need for selfless service. At the last supper, as described by John, Jesus girded himself with a towel and set about the menial task of washing his disciples’ feet. Having rendered that loving service, he said, “You also ought to wash one another’s feet.” —John 13:14. The basin and pitcher thus are a call to humble, loving service for Christ in the world.
Birth and rebirth—
- The star window - The star window, located in the east dormer window farthest from the chancel, is the six-pointed Star of David, representing our heritage in Judaism. Some have said that David’s shield was shaped like this star. Close examination shows that the star in Calvary’s window has been turned half a point on itself, leaving six more brown points behind the gold. This represents the star of the nativity, which announced the birth of the Christ child.
- The butterfly window- The butterfly window, located directly across from the star in the west dormer window, symbolizes the resurrection. This meaning is derived from the fact that the butterfly emerges from its dead chrysalis husk into the beauty of a new and different life. The butterfly in the window springs from a green base, the color of life.
Seasonal celebrations of the church year
God’s people have a unique way of telling time—the Christian year. There are six seasons in the Christian year, and each season tells a different chapter in the story of Jesus’ life. We begin the year with Advent.
Advent - Advent, the first season of the church year, begins on the Sunday nearest November 30 and includes the four Sundays before Christmas. The word “advent” means “coming.” During the season of Advent, Christians prepare themselves for the coming of Christ. The Advent color is purple, expressing the royal nature of Christ and our need for penance.
Christmas - Christmas, the second season of the church year, begins on December 25, Christmas Day, and lasts 12 days. Christmas is a time when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus and remember how God became a human being. This is called the incarnation. White and gold express the celebrative nature of this season.
Epiphany - Epiphany begins on January 6 and continues until Ash Wednesday. During Epiphany, Christians remember the story of the three wise men who gave gifts to the infant Jesus and then took the good news of his birth across the world. Epiphaneia means “appearing into.” This reminds us that Jesus loves people from all over the world. Christians also celebrate Jesus’ baptism during Epiphany. Green, expressing the eternal nature of growth, is the color of this season.
Lent - Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues for 40 days until Easter (not including Sundays). During Lent, Christians remember how Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness and how the ancient Hebrews wandered for 40 years in the desert. Lent, therefore, is a time when Christians fast, pray, and ask God and others to forgive them. The traditional color of this season is purple.
Easter - Easter is the season in which Christians celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. This season begins on Easter Sunday, which is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox (March 21). White is the traditional color for Eastertide, which lasts for 50 days.
Pentecost - Pentecost is the birthday of the church—the day on which the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples. With the gift of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were empowered to proclaim the good news of Jesus. Coming from the Greek word that means “fiftieth day,” the Day of Pentecost falls on the fiftieth day after Easter. Red, symbolizing tongues of fire, is the color for Pentecost Sunday.
Ordinary time - Also known as Kingdomtide or the season of Pentecost, ordinary time is celebrated from Pentecost Sunday to the first Sunday of Advent. Green is the color for this season.
Seasonal Worship Events at Calvary
Thanksgiving Day – A worship service in the Sanctuary at 7 am followed by a breakfast of good food and fun.
Christmas Children’s Vesper – The Children’s Christmas Musical followed by a Christmas craft-making workshop.
The Festival of Lights – A beautiful service of singing, scripture reading, live tableau and candlelight, featuring a variety of Calvary’s musical groups.
Christmas Eve Worship – Worship for families of all shapes and sizes with carols, candlelight and communion.
Maundy Thursday - Three days before Easter, Maundy Thursday – also known as Holy Thursday – is the anniversary day of Jesus’ last supper in the upper room in Jerusalem on the eve of his crucifixion. The word “maundy” comes from the Latin word “mandatum” which means “to command”. It refers to the command Jesus gave to his disciples that evening in the Upper Room that is recorded in John 13:5, 14:
Then he poured some water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist … I am the Lord and Teacher and I have just washed your feet. You then, should wash each other’s feet.
It was after this that Jesus and his disciples had their last meal together. On Maundy Thursday, Calvary offers a dinner followed by a reflective worship service.
Easter Morning – Easter morning is the centerpiece of Christianity. Following his crucifixtion, Jesus was buried in a tomb sealed with a large stone. On Sunday morning when his disciples came to care for his body, they found that the stone had been rolled away, and Jesus was gone. A short time later, Jesus appeared to his followers. Because of his resurrection, Christians believe that death is not the end of life. Hope and promise of new life make the Christian faith one of celebration and joy. Calvary celebrates Easter Sunday with a sunrise service at the Cherry Creek Reservoir Hobie Hill picnic area and one worship service in the Sanctuary, which features the singing of Handel’s “The Hallelujah Chorus.”
Someday after mastering the wind, the waves, the tides, and gravity,
we shall harness for God the energies of love.
And then, for the second time in the history of the world,
we will have discovered fire.
- Teilhard de Chardin
anthem–A piece of music sung by the choir during a service of worship.
autonomous–Historically, local Baptist churches have been free (or autonomous) in their church structure and church life. A particular congregation is responsible for understanding its purpose and mission without the intervention of federal or state governments or the coercive influence of any denominational structure.
call–The Latin word vocare means “to call.” From it, we get the word “vocation.” Baptists believe that each Christian has been given a unique spiritual gift and has a unique vocation to live out in life. A person living for God will find meaning and purpose in life by using his or her spiritual gifts.
calvary–1. The name of this local church. 2. The name for the place where Christ was crucified. 3. Literally means “skull.”
catholic–A word that means “universal” and refers to the fellowship shared by all Christians everywhere.
chancel–The elevated area in the front of the sanctuary, where worship is directed.
choir–A group of singers who perform music in church and assist the congregation in singing hymns during worship.
church–1. A building that is set apart for worship. 2. All people who are baptized and follow and serve Jesus by putting their spiritual gifts to work.
clergy–All people who have been ordained.
communion–The act of sharing the bread and the cup among God’s people in remembrance of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
community–Literally means “with unity.” Therefore it is a word used to describe local congregations.
confession–The act of acknowledging sin before God or others.
congregation–The group of people who gather together for worship.
congregational–Churches whose form of government empowers all the members of the local church. Congregationalism is based on the doctrine that, through Christ, every believer is a priest before God, with no human mediator between.
covenant–An agreement or promise made between God and the people of God. In the Old Testament, God established a covenant with Abraham promising to make his descendants the people of God. In the New Testament, God established a new covenant promising to redeem all people through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
crucify–The form of capital punishment used by the Roman government at the time of Christ. A person being crucified was literally nailed (wrists and ankles) to an olive tree or other wooden structure outside the city walls of Jerusalem. Jesus was crucified but had done no wrong.
This man has done nothing wrong. —Luke 23:41
disciple–1. One who learns. 2. A person who follows Jesus.
dormer–A window set vertically in a structure (the Calvary sanctuary) projecting through a sloping roof. Our stained-glass windows on the side of the sanctuary are dormers.
epistle–A letter. The Epistles of the New Testament are letters written by the apostles for the purpose of instructing Christians in the faith.
evangelism–The act of sharing or telling the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection with others. Comes from the Greek word meaning “to announce good news.”
exegesis–From the Greek “to lead out.” Used to describe the process of interpreting a passage of scripture.
forgiving–To relinquish freely a debt or obligation owed to you by someone else (see “sin”). Forgiveness allows you to become unattached to the thoughtless actions of others in order to love more fully.
gospel–Literally, “good news.” The New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are called Gospels because they proclaim the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
grace–The unmerited love and acceptance God gives freely to enable people to live like Jesus.
hymn–A religious piece of music addressed to God sung by the congregation as a part of worship.
incarnation–Literally, “to put skin on.” The Christian doctrine that expresses the belief that God became a human being in Jesus Christ. Today, whenever a Christian expresses God’s love to others (puts skin on God’s love), there is an incarnation of God.
interdependent–Historically, Baptist churches have chosen to relate to each other by organizing into associations. Calvary is associated with the American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains (ABCRM). Acting together in order to provide a more effective mission outreach, these churches have become interdependent.
lay person–A nonordained individual who shares in the work and ministry of the church.
minister–Any person who takes part in the work of the church; comes from the Latin word that means “servant.”
narthex–The porch or vestibule in an early Christian church. It was the place where people waited before services and continues to be used in that way.
nave–The area of the sanctuary where the congregation sits. Derived from the Latin navis, meaning “ship.” If one turns the sanctuary upside down, the roof looks like the hull of a ship.
offerings–Anything we give to God—our talent, time, or resources.
ordinance–Historically, the term used by Baptists for the sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper). Literally means a decree or law.
ordained–Ordination is the act of setting apart those who have been recognized by a local congregation as having particular skill to perform a specific ministry. In Baptist tradition, only local congregations may perform this ceremony of ordination.
pastor–The New Testament describes a pastor as a shepherd and a teacher. American Baptists ordain those who have a seminary education and are called to a specific ministry by a local congregation. Ordained persons are considered pastors.
penance–The act of expressing one’s sorrow for their sin.
prophecy–In the Bible, prophets challenged God’s people to stay close to God and admonished them when they rejected God.
protestant–1. The branch of the Christian church that began in Germany in the 1500s as a protest against the abuses within the Roman Catholic Church at that time. 2. All Christian churches that are not Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox.
reconciling–The Apostle Paul says that Christians have been given the ministry of reconciliation. That word simply means the reuniting of that which has been separated.
resurrection–The act of being raised from the dead to live with God forever. After being crucified on a Friday, Jesus was resurrected on Sunday morning.
sacrament–An outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace. A sacrament is a sacred action that allows us to experience Christ’s love more fully (see “communion” and “baptism”).
sanctuary–Meaning “a holy place,” the room where God’s people offer their worship to God.
scripture–The sacred writings of the church as they have been collected in the Bible.
sermon–An address or commentary on the scripture given by a pastor for the purpose of teaching and inspiring the congregation.
sin–Literally, “to miss the mark.” A thought, word, action, or inaction by which people separate themselves from others or from God.
tithes–Literally, “a tenth.” As Christians, we are to give a portion of our income to God. Scripture teaches that we are to give the “first fruits,” the best of what we have. A brochure explaining the tithe is available in the church office.
trinity–A historic Christian doctrine that teaches God as one being who exists in three forms: God the creator; God the redeemer (Jesus); and God the sustainer (Holy Spirit).
worship–Literally, “to give worth;” the act of showing reverence toward God. The act of expressing one’s sorrow for their sin.
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For Further Reading
- Doran, Carol and Thomas H. Troeger. Trouble at the Table: Gathering the Tribes for Worship. Nashville: Abingdon, 1992
- Foster, Richard J. Celebration of Discipline. Rev. ed. San Francisco: Harper, 1988.
- Hickman, Hoyt L. A Primer for Church Worship. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1984.
- Liesch, Barry. People in the Presence of God. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988.
- Maring, Norman H., and Winthrop S. Hudson. Manual of Policy and Practice. Valley Forge, Pa.: Judson Press, 1991.
- Ng, David, and Virginia Thomas. Children in the Worshiping Community. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1981.
- Webber, Robert E. The Complete Library of Christian Worship. (Eight-volumes) Nashville: Starsong Publishing Group, 1994.
- Webber, Robert E. Worship Old and New. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1982.
- Webber, Robert E. Worship Is a Verb. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1985.
- White, James F. Introduction to Christian Worship. Nashville: Abingdon, 1980.
- Willimon, William H. Worship as Pastoral Care. Nashville: Abingdon, 1979.
- Willimon, William H. Word, Water, Wine, and Bread. Valley Forge, Pa.: Judson Press, 1980.