Posts Tagged worship

Beautiful Celebration at First Baptist Church of Charleston

Sunday June 4 was Pentecost Sunday as well as Say Something Nice Sunday. Pastor Marshall Blalock wove the themes together in a masterful way as we also celebrated Communion. Communion is always a beautiful, meaningful service at First Baptist.

Rev. Blalock read the winning essay from the first Say Something Nice Essay Contest at First Baptist School. It was a deeply felt essay that fit beautifully into the sermon, but that also demonstrated the need for Christ-like speech. Lori Lethco prepared attractive inserts for the bulletins. There were Say Something Nice buttons for everyone and members of the congregation left with daisies to give to others along with a kind word. There was also a commissioning for two members headed to the mission field. The music is always worshipful and Sunday’s was no exception. It was a full and heartwarming service.

We encourage other congregations from all denominations to join us. First Baptist Church of Charleston celebrate on the first Sunday in June; however, other churches are free to celebrate on the Sunday of their choice. Cross and Crown Lutheran Church in Florence, South Carolina and Providence Baptist Church on Daniel Island will celebrate it on June 11.

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BE STILL AND KNOW – The Daily cUP

Posted by Jo Turner on  “Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation.”

                                         Rumi, Persian mystic and poet

As the Wednesday Daily Cup blogger, I usually start thinking about what I might write on Sundays. This often begins with phrases or words that are stuck in my brain: Scripture passages, adhesive phrases that I’ve heard and read, or just the lyrics of my life–thoughts to turn into words that will eventually pour out on a page.

Rev’d. Geoffrey, no stranger to the right use of words or a handsome turn-of-phrase, is incorporating a new practice in our Sunday morning worship. Silence. He has requested that we observe some significant silence after the sermon. Even though we have been doing this for a few weeks, I initially forgot last Sunday and was getting agitated at this quiet passing of several minutes with no words.

Maybe it’s different in other parts of the country, but here, time is money and influence; time is control. We’re told that words matter. How many of us get antsy when a conversation lags and we feel compelled to fill the vacuum with small talk?

Some years ago, I flunked my initial foray into sitting with others in silent contemplative prayer. True silence is the emptying of our internal chatter, verbalized or not, to create space, and that was a challenge. Even in bed on restless nights after 20 wordless minutes, my husband would suddenly say, “You’re thinking too loud!” Indeed I was.

It’s probably about getting older, but now I prefer the silence. We learn that what we are thinking, what we have to say, really is not so vital. Our words pale in comparison to just listening and resting in God’s presence. Sometimes the presence is more than enough; often, we gain awareness of God’s wisdom for us.

Annie Rosenbauer, contributor to Krista Tippett’s On Being: “Our silence creates space to listen. Our listening creates space to take notice. Our noticing creates space for amazement. It is our amazement that gives us the energy to create change, whether that be in ourselves, in other people, or in the world.” That sounds like a God plan to me.

Integrating silence into our worship, I am reminded of the power of communal silence. Together, as we quietly center in God’s word for us from the sermon, as we collectively quiet ourselves, we strengthen our relationships with God and with each other. That’s another wonderful layer of worship.

Lent is an ideal time to get re-acquainted with silence, creating listening space in church and in all the other aspects of our lives. This noisy season in our national life intensifies the need for stillness, and for being with the One who gives us life and hope.

Shhh. Do it right now.

“O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”                      Book of Common Prayer

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Why I Honor the Mill Village Church in Our Father: Discovering Family

Northside Baptist ChurchCotton mills were hot, dusty, noisy places. The men and women who worked in them worked hard with few breaks and with no company provided help.  The amazing thing is that workers who were overworked themselves often helped other workers who had gotten behind.  Somehow they were friends with their bosses. The children of the workers and those of the bosses went to school together, played together, dated each other and went to church together.

Sundays brought everyone together in the mill village church. Workers and bosses went to church together. They sat in the same pews and shared leadership positions. They sang in the choir together. There was no mill talk at church. The services, at least at the ones I knew, were upbeat – not in the sense of today’s contemporary worship style. They were positive and uplifting – no hellfire and damnation. Of course during the 1940s and 1950s there was a strong undergirding of patriotism. God was on our side. Congregational singing of the old hymns was robust.

These are the churches of my youth. These wonderful hard working people supported strong child and youth programs. They turned out anytime children or young people were on the program. They encouraged their children in every way possible. Education was important. They sent their pastors to continuing education training during the summer. Religious faculty members from the surrounding colleges were invited to speak or preach. The church and the school were the centers of everything.

In my book, Our Father: Discovering Family, I pay tribute to these churches. I grew up living between the Baptist church and the Methodist church. I truly didn’t know the differences between them until I arrived at college. I am indebted to Northside Baptist Church for giving me a great foundation and encouraging me to grow as a Christian. Our pastors became family friends and came for Sunday dinner. One, the Rev. J. L. McCluney, visited me when I was a student at Mars Hill College. When I came home on weekends are vacations I was always invited to teach Sunday school classes or called on to lead prayer in the worship service.

Our Father; Discovering Family, is published by Wipf and Stock. It is available at most book stores and at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.

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Forces Outside North America Will Impact Our Worship in the Future Dockery Says in Charleston

Dr. David Dockery traced the major changes in worship over the last two thousand years starting with synagogue and temple worship and then anticipated future changes as great shifts in the Christian community are unfolding. He was speaking at the 20th Annual John A. Hamrick Lectureship held at First Baptist Church of Charleston on January 18 and 19.

He said that very few Baptist churches maintain the formal worship style practiced at First Baptist Church of Charleston and that guitars, drums and pianos have replaced organs in most more contemporary churches. The Pentecostals have had major sway in recent years, but that the future will be shaped by religious forces outside North America, especially Latin America, Asia and Africa. Secularism is outpacing Christianity three to one in North America.

He encouraged his listeners not to lose heart and suggested that the church needs to refocus on worship of God as its major function and that there needs to be an emphasis on the reading of scripture and enlightened preaching.  “The head is neglected in much of contemporize worship where emotion is the major component and that needs to change in favor of a more balanced approach.  Worshipers need to prepare for worship. Denominationalism as we know it is giving way to other types of structure and is becoming less and less important. The type of revivalism demonstrated by Billy Graham will no longer be effective even though Dr. Graham is my personal hero, “he said.

David Dockery is president of Trinity International University in Chicago and former president of Union University in Tennessee.

Dr. Dockery was introduced by Dr. Don Gardner and Dr. Doug Hunter, Executive Director of the Whitfield Center for Christian Leadership at Charleston Southern University. David Templeton, Minister of Music and Worship at First Baptist Church, provided special music.

The lectures honor the memory of long time pastor and the founding president of what is now Charleston Southern University, Dr. John A. Hamrick.

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