CENTRALITY OF WORD & SACRAMENTS
We Presbyterians express our understanding of community through the public reading and proclamation of scripture. Whenever we gather for worship, we hear and read the words of scripture in the common language of the community. Scripture is God’s Word—God’s self-disclosure—not for some, but for the whole community of faith. Although Scripture may be read and studied privately, we do not believe in private Scripture.
Similarly, we express our understanding of community through communal observance of Baptism. Whenever we celebrate the sacrament of Baptism, we do so on behalf of the whole community of faith. Although Baptism may be administered to an individual, it is not a private event. We do not believe in private baptism.
We also express our understanding of community through communal observance of the Lord’s Supper. Whenever we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we do so on behalf of the whole community of faith. The communion table is not an individual Christian’s table—it is not the local congregation’s table—it is not even a Presbyterian table. It is Christ’s table—all Christians are invited to the table of our Lord. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is not a private event. The Lord’s Supper is a communal sacrament because Christ invites his people around a common table. We do not believe in a private supper of our Lord.
First Presbyterian Church is a community of faith which is centered on Scripture, on Baptism, and on the Lord’s Supper. For this reason, the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church is arranged to give visible expression to the centrality of Word and Sacraments. Our chancel includes a central pulpit for the reading of Scripture and the preaching of the Word. Also, centrally placed are a font and a table suitable for the community’s celebration of the Sacraments. In order to focus attention on the pulpit, font, and table, the floor of the sanctuary is slightly inclined and the pews are arched toward the chancel.
RETURN TO OUR SANCTUARY