Material condensed from +quot;The Common Faith Handbook+quot; (c)1993 Common Faith Chapel

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Material condensed from "The Common Faith Handbook" (c)1993 Common Faith Chapel ULC, All Rights Reserved International Headquarters: Rev. Karin Conover-Lewis, D.D., Pastor 711 W. Colorado Ave, Trinidad, CO 81082 (719)846-4987 --------------------------------------------------------------------- "We who now live are parts of a humanity that extends into the remote past, a humanity that has interacted with nature. The things in civilization we most prize are not ourselves. They exist by grace of the doings and suffer- ings of the continuous human community in which we are a link. Ours is the responsibility of conserving, transmit- ting, rectifying and expanding the heritage of values we have received that those who come after us may receive it more solid and secure, more widely accessible and more generously shared than we have received it. Here are all the elements for a religious faith that shall not be con- fined to sect, class or race. Such a faith has always been implicitly the common faith of mankind." John Dewey (1) --------------------------------------------------------------------- Terms used by Common Faith Chapel --------------------------------- Altar: The Common Faith Chapel uses a round Altar bearing the Pentagram, Oak Leaves, and Acorns insignia. The round Altar lends itself quite well to a circular Sanctuary, and is centrally located. The Altar is used by the Minister for addressing the membership and preparing the Cakes and Ale, and is also used by members when they would like to speak to the membership. "Altar" is a traditional word, but is not used in a 'sacrificial' sense by the Common Faith Chapel. The Altar holds the White Candle and (if used) Censer, as well as the Chalice and Cakes. May also hold the Minister's Liturgical materials, if neccessary. The Altar and Altar Dias are the lowest point in the circular-form Sanctuary. Altar Rail: A round raised rail, surrounding the Altar dais. Cakes and Ale: The bread, or cakes, and wine or ale, which is shared by the membership of the church as an act of community. Also refers to the ceremony itself. The cakes, or bread, are symbolic of the physical needs of the body, while the ale, or wine, is symbolic of the spirit. Candles: Five Candles are lit during the service, and remain lit until the service is over. Each Candle represents a specific element of creation, those being Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. We light the Candles to bring our attention to our place in the universe. Censer: A small container used for the burning of incense. May be suspended above the Altar, or rest upon it. Optional. Preferred incense is frankincense or myrhh, but can change seasonally. Chalice: The communal Cup which is used during the Cakes and Ale ceremony. Symbolic of the body, which holds the spirit. Note:For health concerns, it is preferable that either a highly alcoholic beverage is used, or that Cakes are dipped into the Cup, rather than using the Cup as a communal drinking vessel. Chapel: The entire building or location which comprises the physical "church". Includes the Sanctuary, Fellowship Hall, Prayer Closets, and Minister's Offices, at the very least. Circle, or Sanctuary - The round room (preferably) or portion of a room where the ceremonial portion of the church service occurs. The level of the floor in a circular Sanctuary should be lowest at the Altar (centre) and gradually rise toward the outside of the Circle. Cup: See Chalice Fellowship Hall: A room or portion of a room which is set aside for visiting and chatting, as well as holding informal meetings. Prayer Closets: In Matthew 6:5,6 we find the following - "And when thou prayest, thou shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily, I say unto you, They have their reward. "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." For this, and other reasons, small private rooms are provided for the membership, where they may pray. Prayer closets are also the only place in the church where one may find offering envelopes and boxes. At no time is a collection made or solicited from the membership. Offerings are entirely free-will, and are not a matter of public concern. Pentagram: A five-pointed star, the points of which represent the five elements of the universe. Often seen encircled by oak leaves, sometimes (as with Common Faith Chapel) by a wreath of oak leaves and acorns. A pentagram is properly displayed only when it is "point upwards". "If the Father deigns to touch with divine power the cold and pulseless heart of the buried acorn and to make it burst forth from it's prison walls, will He leave neglected in the earth the soul of man made in the image of his Creator?" ........................... William Jennings Bryan Sanctuary: See Circle --------------------------------------------------------------------- -=* Rites and Rituals *=- The Service, Universal ---------------------- Church members are met at the door and asked: "Are you at peace with your neighbour?" Those who answer "yes" are directed into the chapel, where they may either enter the Sanctuary, the fellowship hall, or the prayer closets. Those who answer "no" are directed into the chapel, and asked to clear their thoughts in a prayer closet, or visit with the Minister. Church members are provided with sufficient time for fellowship and visiting prior to the service proper beginning, however visiting is considered to be part of the service. Those who need to visit privately with the Minister are given ample time to do so, and those who are using the prayer closets are also given whatever time they require. Common Faith Chapel services are held, whenever possible, "in the round". Seating is concentric, with the Altar being in the centre of the Circle and in the lowest part of the room. It is preferable, but not mandatory, that members are evenly spaced around the Circle, filling it from the inside seats, outward. The Minister must take care to ensure that s/he does not neglect a particular area of the Circle by facing in one direction only. This is why the Altar is round - to allow the Minister to easily address the entire membership. With a small number of members, however, they may feel more comfortable gathering toward a common area - this is perfectly acceptable. Also, if a round room is not possible, the physical location will dictate that the Altar is at one end of the Sanctuary with seating in a more traditional fashion. In the end, whatever is most comfortable to the membership is best. When the prayer closets are empty, or when the Minister is ready to begin the service, members are invited to enter the Sanctuary. Music should be played at this time, allowing the membership to take their seats. Choice of music is up to the membership, the Minister, or the Music Director, but classical or other instrumental work, either live performance or recorded, is suggested. When all members are present, the Four Candles are lit, beginning with the North (green, Earth) candle, then proceeding to East (yellow, Air), South (red, Fire), and finally West (blue, Water). When all candles are lit, the Minister again asks the members: "Are you at peace with your neighbour?" To which the members reply: "We live in peace with the world." The Minister then lights the Altar Candle (white, Spirit), and says: "Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit." "All that we are, all that we have been, and all that we shall become, I praise thee! "I praise the Earth, from which we came. I praise the Air, for it is the breath of God. I praise Fire, from which passion arises, and I praise Water, which brings calmness and reason. Above all else, I praise Spirit - that sacred Light which is all that we truly are! Members reply: "Amen." The Minister then reads the literature for the day, gives his/her homily, and presents any news which the members should be aware of. The Minister then asks the members: "Are there any here who wish to speak on any subject?" Members then proceed to address the membership. When all have finished, the Minister will say: "If there are no others who would like to speak, then let us celebrate our fellowship." Cakes and Ale Ceremony then takes place. If used, the incense should be lit at this point. Music should be played, following the previous suggested guidelines. Each member proceeds to the Altar Rail, where s/he receives the Cake and the Cup. As each member receives the Cake and Cup, the Minister says: "We are One." To which the member replies: "We are One." When all have finished, the Minister holds the Chalice high, and says: "Earth. Air. Fire. Water. Spirit." S/he then finishes the contents of the Chalice, then gives the closing words: "Let me walk forever in the light of the Spirit, touched by the breath of God, filled with passion, guided by reason, in awe of the world that surrounds me." The members then say: "Amen." Each of the Five Candles are then put out by smothering, and the Minister walks to the door of the Sanctuary. The members then leave, and proceed to the fellowship hall or wherever they would like to go. Coffee and donuts can be served, or the Church may have a meal together. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Acknowledgements ---------------- (1) "The Common Faith" from 'A Common Faith' by John Dewey. (c)1934 by Yale University Press


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