What’s Worship Like?
Worship at First Baptist takes on many forms, but the most visible and regular form is our 11:00AM worship service on Sunday mornings in the Sanctuary (and online). During this hour of worship, the congregation joins in both spoken and sung worship in both traditional and contemporary forms. The Sanctuary is a contemporary building with beautiful faceted glass windows to center one’s spirit. Songs are played on the Moeller organ, the baby grand piano, guitar, dulcimer, handbells, wind & brass instruments, and much more.
While during the pandemic much of our attendance has been virtual, when we gather in-person, the Sanctuary will at once have those wearing suits and those wearing jeans, the elderly and the very young. Worship will have elements for adults and children, and a children’s age-appropriate time will be available for kids under age 6 beginning midway through the 11AM service.
Worship also happens at times on the Front Plaza (when weather permits). We hold special services in our Chapel, a more intimate space, during certain seasons of the year. We also worship with other congregations at the local park, which is just behind the church. We believe worship should be as diverse as the community we seek to reach with the message of the love of Jesus Christ, and thus we continually look for innovative worship experiences.
Come, let us worship our God!
Join Us for a Service of Worship and Communion at Chatham Heights Baptist Church on Maundy Thursday, April 14, 2022, 7:00 PM
Join Us for a Service of Worship on Palm Sunday, April 10, 2022 at 11:00 AM In-Person and Online
Join Us for a Service of Worship & Communion on the Fifth Sunday in Lent, April 3, 2022 at 11:00 AM In-Person and Online
Seasons of Worship
Season of Advent
The Christian year begins with Advent. The word Advent comes from the Latin
Christmastide (also Christmas or the Christmas season) is also commonly known as the Twelve Days of Christmas. It tends to be defined (with slight variations) as the period from Christmas Eve to the evening of January 5, the day before Epiphany. This time is commemorated by joyous celebration of the Incarnation. The liturgical color is white, symbolizing the holiness of Christ.
The Season of Epiphany, from the Greek word,
Season of Lent
Lent is the season in which we antic
Season of Pentecost
Having celebrated the “birthday of the church” through the giving of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, we enter the long Season after Pentecost, also known as ordinary time (from ordinal, meaning counted time). This season celebrates the existence of the church and recalls her mission in the world. The season begins on Trinity Sunday as the church affirms her belief in a triune God—Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. It is a day in which we praise and worship the infinitely complex and unfathomable mystery of God’s being as Holy Trinity. Although the basic liturgical color for this part of the Christian Year is green, for Trinity Sunday the liturgical color is white, symbolizing God’s purity and perfection.
First Baptist Church invites all believers to the communion table to partake in a meal with Christ. On the first Sunday of each month, FBC celebrates Holy Communion together. The liturgical color is white, to commemorate the purity and holiness of Christ. Additionally, services of communion are held in special services in smaller settings.
We hold a Longest Night Service in our Chapel on a Wednesday evening near the longest, darkest night of the year (which is usually around December 21st). At this service, we recognize that the holidays are sometimes not joyful for everyone, as we are faced with the painful realities of this life: depression, loss of loved ones, grief, pain, divorce, job loss, fear, and so many other things. The service of the Longest Night allows us to sit together to remember, to mourn, and to see the Light who remains in our lives despite it all this season. We will offer a time of remembrance, a time of communion, and prayers and liturgy to attend to our souls.
Christmas Eve is December 24, and in our worship service, we commemorate the birth of Jesus. The service, usually at 5:00 p.m., is a Candlelight Service in which Christmas is celebrated with beautiful music and a meditation on the meaning of Christmas. We light the Christ candle in the Advent wreath and share the light throughout the congregation.
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and occurs 40 days (not counting Sundays) before Easter. The Ash Wednesday service at FBC is held at 6:00 p.m. in the chapel. The ashes used are typically gathered after the Palm Crosses from the previous year’s Palm Sunday are burned. At this service, believers can receive ashes on their forehead or hand to symbolize their own mortality and the beginning of the fasting season of Lent.
Palm Sunday is the day we remember the “triumphal entry” of Jesus into Jerusalem, exactly one week before his resurrection. FBC joins with other city churches early on Palm Sunday for a service in the park adjacent to our building early in the morning. We remember as a community that it was a town that welcomed Jesus together in the triumphal entry. Then, at our regular 11:00 a.m. service, we distribute palms to commemorate the festivities in Jerusalem on that day and continue the remembrance of the triumphal entry with music, scripture, and proclamation to user in the beginning of Holy Week.
Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, is the Thursday of Passion Week, one day before Good Friday (the Thursday before Easter). We share a meal and observe a special Communion devotional on Maundy Thursday in memory of Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples.
We remember Jesus’ self-giving act for our salvation through Tenebrae (Latin for shadows or darkness), a distinctive ceremony where the gradual extinguishing of the candles in the sanctuary occurs while the story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion is read.
The church’s most joyous celebration of the year emphasizes the last word in the Easter story: Jesus is risen! Jesus’ victory over death is good news for all!
We celebrate the Holy Spirit (symbolized as fire in Acts 2) being given to the believers, thus giving birth to the church. The liturgical color is red, and we celebrate corporately by wearing the colors of fire: red, orange, and yellow.
Trinity Sunday is a day in which we praise and worship the infinitely complex and unfathomable mystery of God’s being as Holy Trinity. Although the basic liturgical color for this half of the Christian Year is green, for Trinity Sunday the liturgical color is white, symbolizing God’s purity and perfection.
All Saints Sunday
All Saints Day falls on November 1 in the Christian year, but FBC celebrates it on the first Sunday in November. The service of worship and Holy Communion reminds us of those for whom the battle is over, the victory won, and also of our continuing pilgrimage toward God and the heavenly banquet. To render thanks to God for the lives and deaths of the saints is to recognize the common bond between the church on earth and the church triumphant in God’s love. The liturgical color is white, signifying that it is Christ who lives in the saints.
Christ the King
Christ the King is both the last Sunday after Pentecost and the last Sunday of the Christian year, a transitional Sunday leading directly to Advent and the new Christian year. On Christ the King Sunday, worship stresses the continuity between the celebration of Christ’s sovereignty (kingship) and the expectation of Christ’s coming again in glory, which is anticipated in the Season of Advent.
Lay Reader Program
At First Baptist Church, we have a Lay Reader Program that encourages members of our congregation to assist in worship leadership by reading the two Scripture lessons each Sunday morning.
Each week our lay readers are given the Lectionary lessons, which they read at their leisure, in order to grasp the meaning and cadence of the text. During the week, they come to the Sanctuary and practice reading each lesson from the lectern to get the “feel” of the sound of their voices from the pulpit.
The benefits? It allows laity greater involvement in our worship. It gives
William Underwood provides leadership to our Lay Reader Program. If you would like additional information about the program, or if you would like to volunteer as a lay reader, please contact William or the church office.