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Subject:The Trinity
Time:10:39 am
Current Mood:contemplativecontemplative
A couple of questions for an informal survey following Trinity Sunday:

(1) In your parish's sanctuary, do you have any symbols/icons for the Trinity? (in stain glass, on the baptismal font, alter, etc...). Along with this, when (approx.) was your sanctuary built or redecorated into its current state?

(2) Do you say/sing the gloria patri in worship (Glory be to the Father...)? The doxology (Praise God from whom all blessings flow...)? Are there any other overt or subtle invocations of the Trinity (e.g. the benediction)? How frequently is the Nicene creed used in worship?

(3) Have you ever heard (or given) a sermon on the importance of the doctrine of the Trinity? Or any teaching on it in worship other than "it's complicated/it's a mystery"?

(4) Do baptisms take place in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit or something else (creator, redeemer, sustainer)?

(5) Do you consider the Trinity to be an important part of Christian teaching.
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rawee1
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Time:2010-05-31 05:10 pm (UTC)
1. I've never heard of Trinity Sunday. I grew up Episcopal and my husband, Southern Baptist. We don't have any iconography in our United Methodist church, just colored glass windows and a hanging cross.

2. We say the gloria patri and the doxology, in different parts of the service (and I still cross myself during the Father, Son, Holy Spirit). We don't do the Nicene creed often.

3. We have had a sermon or study series on the parts of the trinity individually, with the Holy Spirit being the most mystical-brought-to-reality of the three, for me.

4. Yes, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (This is what they've said during both of my children's baptisms/christenings and then... I cry.)

5. Jesus didn't light his followers' heads on fire like candles so that we wouldn't want to learn about the Holy Spirit, right?
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aefenglommung
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Time:2010-05-31 08:12 pm (UTC)
1. Yes, mainly in the cloth paraments that change from time to time. The sanctuary was most recently remodeled in the 1960s.

2. Yes. Yes. We use the Nicene Creed 3-4 times a year, the Apostles Creed maybe 6-8 times.

3. Yes, frequently.

4. Of course. Anything else is not a baptism (not just me talking -- that's the Book of Discipline).

5. Yes, absolutely.
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cloudkucooland
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Time:2010-05-31 08:17 pm (UTC)
4. Of course. Anything else is not a baptism (not just me talking -- that's the Book of Discipline).

There is a huge gulf between official doctrine and what happens in practice in many places. How many local parishes do you know that use the order of worship in the BoW or follow any of the Eucharist rites verbatim? I had a local pastor say "this is a symbol of the body of Christ" when serving the Eucharist... drove me batty.
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aefenglommung
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Time:2010-05-31 08:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but General Conference had this big debate a couple quads ago, partic. in reference to whether we could accept Mormon baptism as legit. The official decision was, baptism can be done however you like, so long as water is applied in some fashion, together with the official formula "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

I think the question had been raised in another context about the same time, too. Anyway, we all got reminded that that is the standard.
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cloudkucooland
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Time:2010-05-31 08:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the trinitarian language is vital in ecumenical dialog. For Orthodox and Roman Catholic if it isn't in the exact correct formulation then it isn't valid. We follow that standard and so do baptize those who received "baptism" in any other formula.
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spokenonlyonce
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Time:2010-06-01 02:10 am (UTC)
the BoD is very specific on baptism, but not on the order of worship. BoW is a resource, not a requirement (and not Disciplinary).

"this is a symbol of the body of Christ" when serving the Eucharist... drove me batty.

What drove you batty about it?
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cloudkucooland
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Time:2010-06-01 03:05 am (UTC)
I'm not disagreeing on the Trinity in Baptism, I'm saying it is, in some places, ignored. The order of worship is Disciplinary, a fact that most people are completely unaware of.

The constitution, in BoD ¶ 16.6 states that the General Conference has exclusive jurisdiction over the hymnal and ritual of the Church and regulation of form and mode of worship. The hymnal and BoW contains the rituals as approved for use by the GC. Someone'll bring up. CoF XIII - While we acknowledge that worship need not be as we do it, within the denomination it must be in accord with the Discipline. This is the beauty of the Anglican/Methodist system--acknowledge that others may be valid too, but stick to our commitments.

I can't find my BoW. But one of the ordination vows is to uphold the rites and liturgy of the Church--which BoD 16.6 places in the hymnal and BoW. Even if you don't grant the BoW, the order of worship is the first thing in the 1988 hymnal (pg 2, 3-5). So, my point about people ignoring our Disciplinary requirements concerning worship stands.




As for why "this is a symbol of the body of Christ" drives me batty; it's much weaker than our AoR and CoF claim and it violates what I've said above about our rituals being Doctrinally enforced. (UMH 11 establishes the norm of "the body of Christ, given for you/the blood of Christ, given for you.").

AoR XVIII—Of the Lord's Supper

The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death; insomuch that, to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ; and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ.
Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine in the Supper of our Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is faith.
The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshiped.

CoF VI—The Sacraments

We believe the Sacraments, ordained by Christ, are symbols and pledges of the Christian's profession and of God's love toward us. They are means of grace by which God works invisibly in us, quickening, strengthening and confirming our faith in him. Two Sacraments are ordained by Christ our Lord, namely Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
We believe Baptism signifies entrance into the household of faith, and is a symbol of repentance and inner cleansing from sin, a representation of the new birth in Christ Jesus and a mark of Christian discipleship.
We believe children are under the atonement of Christ and as heirs of the Kingdom of God are acceptable subjects for Christian Baptism. Children of believing parents through Baptism become the special responsibility of the Church. They should be nurtured and led to personal acceptance of Christ, and by profession of faith confirm their Baptism.
We believe the Lord's Supper is a representation of our redemption, a memorial of the sufferings and death of Christ, and a token of love and union which Christians have with Christ and with one another. Those who rightly, worthily and in faith eat the broken bread and drink the blessed cup partake of the body and blood of Christ in a spiritual manner until he comes.




The AoR and CoF clearly rule out a memorialist understanding of the eucharist. While we don't deny that it is a a sign and a symbol, we don't leave it there.




How Methodist is it that a simple query about practices turns into a theological and disciplinary discussion? Lively debate runs to the core of our identity!
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springdove
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Time:2010-06-08 03:43 am (UTC)
A little late coming into the conversation, but I thought I'd share my two cents. Background is raised United Methodist, attended a few different denominations in late high school and college and currently consider myself a United Methodist.

(1) I think some of our paraments have symbols of the trinity on them (if I recall correctly, I think they are the symbol of the trefoil interlaced with the triangle). I can't recall anything in the narthex. We also have a few banners that are switched out periodically, and I'm pretty sure that some of them have symbols of the Trinity.

(2) We sing the Gloria patri and the Old 100th Doxology every week in worship service. We also say a creed every week. Most commonly, it's the Apostle's creed (#881 in the current UMC hymnal), but we sometimes say the Nicene Creed or the Korean UMC creed. I believe all of them contain wording about the Trinity. Our benediction changes from week to week, so I'm not sure how often it contains verbiage about the Trinity.

(3) On this particular week (Trinity Sunday) we had a sermon about the importance of the Holy Spirit, and indeed, we have had a lot of emphasis on it since the beginning of Pentecost. However, I don't know that I can recall a sermon specifically on the importance of the Trinity. I did have a campus minister in college (with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship) who talked about it.

(4) Every baptism I have seen in my church or any other that I can recall has taken place in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

(5) I do think the Trinity is an important part of Christian teaching. I think that the Holy Spirit is the part that most often gets left out, especially in traditional churches, and that is a shame. I think they have different functions, and I think they are evidenced in the Bible.
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