Saturday, November 25, 2017

What kind of church are you?

A church is first of all a people who gather together in God’s name. That makes Church of the Spirit a very diverse thing because the people who attend come from all kinds of backgrounds, with different political viewpoints and different religious experiences. We are multicultural from our staff to our understanding of who Jesus calls us to be. We are focused on building relationships with one another and with Jesus.

And if you want to ask “What kind of church is this anyway?” you would not be the first. Church of the Spirit defies being labeled one thing or another. Actually, we kind of like it that way. We’re not really about getting people to “come to church” so much as we want to help them “come closer to Christ”.

Are you a Catholic church?

Yes. The word catholic was defined hundreds of years ago as “that which has been believed at all time, in all places, by all people.” It means universal. We may not be part of the Roman Catholic church but that does not stop us from believing in the essence of what has been called Christian from the beginning.

We find a great sense of value in the long standing traditional practices of Christians from around the world called sacraments. We ascribe to the belief of the catholic faith, which has been held by millions of people throughout the centuries. While we may present this faith in new ways, we do not alter the essence of what Christianity is. That’s simply not up to us.

We also find strength in being part of something bigger than a local church. As a member of the Episcopal Church we are part of a worldwide family of churches that is 77 million strong.

Are you a Protestant church?

Yes. The word protestant began as a derogatory term used to describe people who were protesting the abuses of the church of that day. The word also means “to witness for” what you believe in, and it reminds us that we are called to be witnesses for our faith in Jesus to the world around us.

As a protestant church, we are not in communion with the Roman Catholic church, though members of the Roman Catholic church are welcome to worship with us and join our congregation.

Like protestants through the centuries, we also believe it is through a direct personal relationship with Jesus as our Forgiver and Leader that we fully experience God’s salvation. We also believe the Bible is God’s revelation for us and that it contains all things necessary for salvation. We see the Bible as the highest standard for moral guidance for all people.

Are you a Bible church?

We believe the Bible is a historical book that allows us to hear God’s words to his people and to see their response. We also believe God continues to speak to us in this day through the words of the Bible. There is no secret code, no extra books you need to read in order to understand God’s words. There is no additional truth hidden for the ages and made plain only later that you need to find God. We believe Jesus (not Mohammed, Joseph Smith, or the latest Televangelist) had the last word on God.

Sometimes the Bible may be hard to understand without seeing it in its context. It can also be hard to understand without the context of faith. We accept the ancient view that it takes faith to seek understanding, or in other words, it’s not seeing that brings about belieiving, it’s in believing that you can see what God is still doing in the world.

Sometimes the stories of the Bible can be interpreted in different ways, which leads to controversies. We encourage people to stop, look, listen, read and think about the Bible’s words.

Are you a sacramental church?

Sacraments are “outward and visible signs of God’s inner and spiritual grace.” They help us to know God is real, and present with us. In Baptism we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and are adopted into God’s family called the church. Once we have been made part of the family we get to share regulalry in the Holy Eucharist. It’s in the Eucharist that we receive the bread and wine of communion, and experience God’s presence for ourselves.
We also share in a number of other sacraments as signs of God’s presence, such as Anointing of the Sick, Confession, Confirmation and Holy Matrimony. Each of these sacraments helps us know God is near us in its own way. Discover more about the sacraments here.

Are you a community church?

We are your Kingstowne Community Church, based here in this neighborhood. But we are also a community church because we sponsor a sense of community with one another. You can stop by any time and visit, or participate in one of our groups or programs. No one will pester you to sign up, stand up, or speak up, until you are ready to make those choices for yourself.

Are you an Episcopal church?

Yes. The Church of the Spirit is a member of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. The ground of our tradition is the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. Our service is contemporary in many aspects and is easy to follow, even though we follow forms and include prayers that Christians have loved for centuries.

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