The Baptist Church
The Good News Baptist Church is located along the telegraph road, VA. The church is of medium size with an auditorium that can accommodate over five hundred church attendants. An entry into the church compound ushers one into a spacious compound, which provides space for playing children and where guests as well as the church attendants can relax. The church opens its doors both on weekdays and on weekends. The Sunday church service starts from 9:30 a.m with the Sunday school service and adult school services. After the Sunday school service, the main adult service begins.
The Start of the Service
The Sunday service commences when the church pastor arrives in the church. On arrival the pastor greets the congregation and gives a small talk to the departing Sunday school children before they are ushered out of church for the adult service, which starts about ten to fifteen minutes later. The adult service begins with a short hymn, which is led by any member of the church service. The hymn does not necessarily need to come from a specific printed hymn book. However, the church has its specific hymn books which it prints and distributes to the church members. The congregation is also free to recite any songs in the holy bible.
After the hymn, the congregation the first part of the service begins through the recitation of the holy prayer, which ends with the word in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen. Some church members take the sign of the cross as they pronounce the word Amen. The holy prayer is printed in the church booklets, which have been distributed to the church members and any new member on joining the service. The prayers occur when the congregation is standing.
The Service of the Word
The teachings are read from the Holy Bible, by the pastor, who stands at the pulpit while in special dress code. The service booklets provide guidance on the specific book, chapter and verses from which the first, second and third readings will come from. The pastor occasionally asks the congregation to join him in singing Alleluia, and the crowd responds with the word Amen (meaning let it be done in God’s will). The sermon continues and is concluded with a prayer for the members of the church, the community, the government, peace and global wellness.
The Service of the Sacrament
After the sermon, the congregational members sung songs of praise while rising up in readiness for the Holy Communion. The pastor steps forward with holy sacrament as the congregation lines up. Before the Holy Communion is served, the pastor cautions the members of the church that have not been baptized in the church not to take the sacrament as it belongs only to the church members who have undergone baptism. Instead, he urges them to see him after the holy sacrament.
The End of Holy Communion and the Service
After the Holy Communion, the church members sing a hymn while the pastor prepares for prayers to mark the end of the services. As the church members continue to sing while standing, members join one another in giving their donations and offerings to the church. The pastor then makes one final shout of Alleluia and the members reply with a uniform Amen. Thereafter he asks the crowed to join in the final prayers for the offerings and donations and proceeds to make announcements about upcoming events. The pastor leaves at the end of the service, with invitation to join them in a cup of tea/coffee in the hall.
How it compares with My Own Religious Upbringing/ Current Religious Practices
Since I grew in a predominantly catholic family, I grew and got baptized in the Catholic faith. Although there are some significant similarities between my catholic faith and that of the Baptist church, the two faiths have differences in the way the church conducts their liturgy and the liturgical teachings.
The catholic and the Baptist Church have a similarity in their use of hymns in praise and worship. Both religious beliefs use songs and hymns as a means of praising God. The hymns are often followed or precede a reading from the scriptures. In addition, the two religious faiths serve the holy sacrament for the faithful that have undergone baptism. Moreover, there are offertories in both faith with church prayers concluded with important announcements.
However, the Catholic faith has a more elaborate and long church service is more predominantly traditional. The catholic service consists of four major sections, the liturgy of word, the liturgy of the Eucharist and the Eucharist banquet. The liturgy of word consists of singing and procession, then the word of God from Psalms, followed by sermon and prayers for the community.
During the liturgy of the Eucharist, offertory of bread and wine donations are accepted though not a must. The gifts are then prepared and preface of prayers mainly for giving thanks is done prior to the Eucharist prayer. The cantus hymn is then sung and the Eucharist offered to the baptized members of the church. The holy Eucharist is concluded with a prayer of peace, done with the sign of handshake or a kiss.
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