A church is more than an assembly hall; it is a house of prayer. As we gather for worship, we are on holy ground as the Triune God comes to us in His Word and Sacraments and we respond with our prayers and praises.
The design and architecture also serve to teach the faith. Our sanctuary and nave are no exception. The cross is the central focus, as a visible reminder that through the cross of Christ we have redemption and salvation. The sanctuary's height represents the transcendence of God, that He has all authority in heaven and on earth.
However, the worship space was purposely designed to be wider than longer so that God's people could be as close to the chancel (altar area) as possible to reinforce the truth that the almighty God comes to us in a very personal way as He serves us through His Word, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. The organ and choir are in the rear of the church for their purpose is not to entertain, but to assist the congregation in the worship of the Holy Trinity.
The Chancel Cross
The sanctuary and nave are designed so that one's eye is drawn to the cross. The four stained glass windows around the cross form a circle representing eternity. It is a reminder that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who took on human flesh and suffered and died for our sins on the cross.
These same four circular windows form the bottom of another symbol on the outside wall. As you look at the east exterior wall of the church, you will notice the circle is at the bottom of the cross. In this symbol, the circle represents the world. The large cross represents that the Gospel message of Christ crucified and risen is for the world.
The altar is where God's people offer to Him their sacrifice of prayer and praise and where Christ feeds his people with His body and blood. The two candles remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world.
The altar is covered with the fair linen, reminiscent of the linen in which Christ's body was wrapped when it was laid in the tomb. On the fair linen, there are five embroidered crosses, symbolizing the five wounds of Christ (two hands, two feet and side). The altar is freestanding as it is the table at which the Lord serves us with His Supper.
The Pulpit serves as the locale for the proclamation of God's Word of Law and Gospel. The Word along with Baptism and the Lord's Supper are the means of grace through which God forgives, saves, strengthens and comforts His people. Next to the pulpit is the processional cross. The crucifix is a visible reminder that it is the preaching of Christ crucified that is to be proclaimed from the pulpit since the cross is our source of salvation.
The Baptismal Font
The baptismal font stands opposite the pulpit in a prominent place. It has eight sides. The apostle Peter connects the number eight with baptism in his first epistle, where he draws the connection between the eight survivors of the flood (Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives) and the water of Baptism. Not only did the waters of the great Flood kill and destroy, but the same water lifted up the ark to save Noah and his family and all animals on the ark. In the same way, the water of baptism also kills and makes us alive as through this Sacrament we are joined to Christ's death and resurrection. In Baptism, the old Adam drowns and dies and the new man is raised.
The Paschal Candle
The Paschal candle is lit whenever there is a celebration of new life. Thus, it is lit during the fifty days of the Easter season, at baptisms and at funerals when it is placed at the head of the casket.
Our Pipe Organ
Our pipe organ was installed in the church in 1991. It is the 54th instrument built by Dobson Pipe Organ Builders of Lake City, Iowa, and is their second in Indiana. (The first is at Indiana University.) It was built to a high standard of quality, and even in 1991 was intended to be moved to our new church. Lynn Dobson, owner and artistic director of the firm, designed the organ case, which is made of white oak with accents of red, blue and real gold leaf, to harmonize with the architectural elements of our old church. In a similar way, the new church has been designed to complement the architectural character of the organ, and to provide a supportive acoustical environment for the organ and other musical instruments. While it can play concert music, the organ was designed primarily to encourage congregational singing in worship, to accompany the choir, and to play solo music based on hymn tunes.
The organ contains 914 pipes, some of wood or zinc but most are of alloys of tin and lead. They are arranged in 13 tonal colors, or stops, and 16 sets, or ranks. There are two manual keyboards and a pedal keyboard. Each key is directly connected to a valve that opens when the key is played, allowing wind to enter a pipe. This mechanical system, or tracker action, has hundreds of thin wooden strips, or trackers, which connect the keyboards to the pipe valves. This mechanical system has been used in organs since the instrument’s invention by the Greeks about 2,300 years ago.
Between March 23, and April 1, 2009, two Dobson technicians, John Panning (one of the original installers in 1991) and John Ourensma disassembled and then reassembled each piece and pipe of this instrument with the help of numerous church members. A big “thank you” to all the volunteers who did so much tedious work as well as heavy lifting through this amazing process!
The present-day replacement value of this high quality instrument, a gift from St. Paul member Dora Fischer, is approximately twice its original purchase price.
Stained Glass Windows