For those of the Christian faith, the church is a gathering place for worship and community. While the Bible provides a basis for how the faith is expressed, services may vary slightly based on the denomination. A Baptist service may be quite different from a Catholic service. But each congregation shares a sense of hope, grace and fellowship. Here are some terms associated with the church and its various denominations.
Catholic – A member of the Roman Catholic Church, which tradition says was founded by the Apostle Peter at the bequest of Jesus Christ.
Lutheran – A denomination founded by Martin Luther in the 16th century, which departed from Catholic tradition in its views on certain doctrines and teachings.
Baptist – A Protestant faith with a strong belief in individual freedom and the separation of church and state.
Methodist – Founded in the 17th century, the Methodist church is characterized with active community participation, particularly in social welfare issues.
Presbyterian – The Presbyterian church was modeled after the traditional Calvinist churches in Europe, but is also one of the few denominations to ordain women as ministers.
Orthodox – A branch of the Catholic faith that separated from Roman Catholic tradition in the year 1054. It remains a dominant religion in many Slavic nations.
Communion – A church ritual in which parishioners are given bread and wine, symbolizing the body and blood of Christ.
Liturgy – The form and content of the church service.
Tithe – The percentage of income a church member is asked to give to their church.
Religion has been around practically since the start of civilization. Choosing a faith is a personal and, at times, lifelong journey, with many choosing to follow one of the most popular religions in the world: Christianity. This large religion, concentrating on the beliefs detailed in the Bible, is divided into branches with distinct differences ranging from Presbyterianism to Methodism.
One of the most popular branches of Christianity is Catholicism. Roman Catholics interpret the Bible to worship Jesus and his Apostles who spread his word and are the result of a split away from the Lutherans. The Baptist denomination is unique in its immersion-based baptism and its emphasis on the New Covenant, or the coming of the Messiah. The southern United States features one of the highest concentrations of Baptists along with evangelicalism and Methodists. The Methodist community recognizes Holy Communion and baptism as Sacraments, and many of its structural elements are founded from the original beliefs of Anglicanism. Presbyterianism worship stems from Calvinism and the Reformation, where the authority of God and the Scriptures is the paramount source of grace. These branches all focus on similar missions in their teachings and concentration on events such as Easter, Good Friday, and the Pentecost.
Locating the fellowship right for you begins with an exploration of your own personal beliefs and life experiences. What do you hope to achieve from your faith and your congregation? Do you consider yourself a strict orthodox worshiper or something less? These questions will help pinpoint the community right for you. Consult an official in an episcopal church concerning your questions and experiment with different sects as well as churches to find one right for you. When life’s messages come in fuzzy, the presence of Christ helps to filter it and lead you down the right path.