Places Of Worship

Topic: ArtPhotography
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Last updated: November 28, 2020

I have recently visited three churches, of three different traditions, and I am going to look at two of these.

The two church traditions I will look at are the Baptist Church and the Greek Orthodox Church. The two buildings I studied for this are ‘Romford Baptist Church’ and ‘St John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church’. I will discuss the main features of each church and then look at why some churches are elaborate while others are not; referring to the two churches.The first main feature in a Baptist church is the Baptistry. The Baptistry is a pool in which people are baptised.

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In the Baptist church people are only baptised if they are old enough to know what they are doing, and this is called ‘believers baptism’. The person getting baptised should want to do so because they believe Jesus to be their Lord and Saviour, and want to follow him and proclaim their faith to others.Matthew Ch. 3 explains this and tells us of Jesus’ baptism: ‘…As soon as Jesus was baptised, he came up out of the water.

..’ so people follow this example and get baptised. A special service is held for a baptism, and the minister leads this. He then asks the person to proclaim their faith and repent or turn away from their sins, and after this, the minister and his assistant fully immerse the candidate.It is a symbol of dying to your old sinful self, and as you emerge from the water, you emerge clean, in a new life with Christ. This idea is from Romans 6:3-4 ‘we shared his death in our baptism.

When we were baptised, we were buried with Christ and shared his death. So, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the wonderful power of the father, we can also live a new life.’In the Greek Orthodox Church, believer’s baptism is not practised so a Baptistry is not necessary. A font is used for infant baptism, and this is in the shape of a chalice and can be moved around. The child is plunged 3 times into the water, which is blessed fresh water, and the priest (only) baptises the child, saying ‘in the name of the father, son and Holy spirit’.

The parents and Godparents make their promises on behalf of the child, for example ‘Do you turn to Christ’ response: ‘I turn to Christ’.Sometimes adults are baptised but as the church believe that infant baptism is right (the baby is said to be born with original sin, so it needs to be washed away) there is usually no need for this. After Baptism and Chrismation, the next step is confirmation, where the person is then eligible for communion.The next main feature in a Baptist Church is the communion table. This is important because it is not an altar, as in other churches (the Greek Orthodox). Individual cups (symbolising equality; everyone has the same) of non- alcoholic wine, and ordinary bread are served by the deacons to the congregation.

This is because they believe it is more important why they are doing it/remembering as opposed to how.So the communion service is personal to each person and the elements (bread and wine) are only symbols. The bread is a symbol of Jesus’ body and the wine of His blood. Jesus said to have the Lords supper ‘in memory of me’ 1 Corinthians 11:25 is where Paul tells us about the Lords Supper and what Jesus said we had to do. It is remembered that Jesus died for us- the sacrificial death of Christ was for all mankind, so we could be saved. Anyone who believes this, and that Jesus is his or her saviour can take part in the service – no membership etc. is necessary.

This service of communion takes place 2 Sundays a month.In the Greek Orthodox Church, there is an altar. This is the main focal point of the church, as a service cannot take place without it there.

It is behind a screen (the iconostasis) in the most sacred part of the church because it is ‘like’ heaven, and every time the Royal Doors are open, a picture of a divine sanctuary is glimpsed. A big single chalice with strong, sweet alcoholic wine, and special leavened bread is used. It is believed that the bread is Jesus’ body and the wine is his blood – they are not just symbols, but hosts. This is called transubstantiation, and the priest is therefore the carrier between God and humans.The elements are mixed in the chalice with water and given out off a spoon if they are not all used up, and because they are blessed on a round plate every mass service, they have to be given out to those who cannot make it to church, or the Priest eats/drinks everything. Only people who are baptised or chrismated are allowed to receive the elements. Every time there is a service the mass or communion takes place.

So the Baptist church practises a memorial of the Lords supper whereas the Greek Orthodox has transubstantiation.Another main feature in the Baptist church is the Pulpit. This is the focal point in the church and is very central and high up.

This is because it is recognised that the Bible is central to the church (the Bible is read and explained from the pulpit) because it is the word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16 explains how the bible helps Christians in teaching and their daily lives – this is why preaching God’s word is so important, and it can be applied to our daily lives.In the Greek Orthodox Church, the pulpit is not a central main point, the altar (so iconostasis) is. This shows that contrary to the Baptist church, communion is more important than the ministry of God’s word, and is believed to be more spiritual.The iconostasis in the Greek Orthodox Church is a screen, which separates the altar and holy of holies from the rest of the church. On it are icons and the Royal Doors, which open up into the sacred area.

They are Royal because Christ is king and you are entering into “heaven” as you pass through. Women aren’t allowed through, but it should only be the priest, as he is God’s representative on earth. In the Baptist church, the minister is seen as equal to the others, not as a courier and better than others. This comes from the belief of everyone being equal in God’s eyes.There are lots of crucifixes in a Greek Orthodox Church whereas in a Baptist there are crosses. The empty cross shows Jesus rose from death, so conquered it and saved us, and he is no longer dead, so this is what should be remembered.I found out whilst visiting the churches that some have very elaborate buildings whilst others don’t. The Greek Orthodox Church was very heavily decorated with gold and pictures/paintings everywhere whereas the Baptist church was extremely plain.

An elaborate church, the Greek Orthodox, is heavily laden with Gold etc. to represent the richness of heaven, and to glorify God. All the decorations can bring believers in touch with God and help them focus on him. The pictures may also be visual aids.A plain church, the Baptist, is decorated only with a few banners so that there are no distractions focusing on and worshipping God. It is a personal relationship we have with God, we don’t need visual reminders, as it is spiritual.

I think the main reason against having an elaborate church is because the money spent on decorating it could be used in much better ways to glorify God, for example giving to the poor – helping others. So considering this, and the two churches I have visited, I think that the money is better spent on other things.

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