In the Protestant service of worship the congregation talk to God through prayer and praise.
At least on every Sunday
often as possible” the Christian congregation gathers for worship “in the name
of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. What this means is presented in
more detail in the constitution of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland
A Protestant service of worship should be
celebrated at least on every Sunday and on every church festival day. The classic definition of a service of
worship was provided by the Reformer Martin Luther at the consecration of the
world’s first newly built Protestant church, the Hartenfels Castle chapel in
Torgau on 5 October 1544, when he laid down that the intention of the new
building was “that nothing else shall happen inside it except that our dear
Lord shall speak to us through His Holy Word, and we in turn talk to Him
through prayer and praise”.
are a variety of forms of worship
The service of worship is a dialogue, not
just between God and the individual person, but also between people with one
another and a dialogue of the individual with him or herself. This happens in a variety of forms, including
“children’s church”, family services, baby and toddler services, school
services, peace services and Evensong.
The local church council (“Presbyterium”)
has the overall responsibility for the provision of worship in the local
parish. The actual service is led by a
minister, a lay preacher or a reader.
the communion service believers share in the death and resurrection of Jesus
In the Rhineland Church the service of
communion is a sacrament. It includes both word and symbols. The symbols at the celebration of communion
are bread and wine, which stand for the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In the
communion service the believers share in his death and resurrection.
With reference to Holy Communion, article
73 of the constitution of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland says: “The
congregation celebrates communion on the basis of its institution by Jesus
Christ. It proclaims the death of the
Lord, through which God has reconciled the world to himself, it gives thanks
for his presence, asks for the gift of the Holy Spirit and looks ahead to
Christ’s return. “
those who have been baptised are invited to the Lord’s table
God accepts all people just as they are,
but he does not leave them as they are. Repentance and conversion are not
preconditions for the forgiveness of sin but are the “fruit” that follows from
it. This theological insight is consequently carried over into the celebration
of communion. All those who have been
baptised are invited to the Lord’s table, regardless of their denomination or
their situation in life. This understanding of communion also means that in
many local congregations of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland children
are also permitted to join in the celebration of communion.
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