Furniture

Pulpit

The pulpit is often the most prominent feature in a Protestant church. It is usually at the front and in the centre (it may be off-centre in a Church of Ireland). It is usually raised so that it can be easily seen. It is from the pulpit that the minster or pastor will preach the sermon. It is in the centre to symbolise that the Bible is the central authority in the Church.

In the Presbyterian Church the pulpit may have a pulpit fall. This is a piece of cloth that hangs over the front. It may have the symbol of a burning bush. This is because a burning bush is the location at which Moses was appointed by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. The cloth will have the words Arden Sed Virens, meaning 'burning but not consumed'. This symbolises the Church shining out for Jesus, but not burning out.

Communion table

This is the table from which communion is served. It is usually beside or in front of the pulpit, though at a lower level. This is because everything in the Church, including communion, flows from the word of God.

The table is often plain with a verse inscribed on the front of it. Communion is a simple act before God, remembering the death of Jesus. Protestants believe that Jesus commanded Christians to celebrate communion just as he had celebrated it with his disciples at the Last Supper.

In the Church of Ireland the communion table, often called the altar, is a large elaborate wooden table. It is raised on a platform to show the importance of the sacrament. It usually has a rail around it so that people can come forward and kneel to receive communion.

The table faces east to symbolise the rising of the sun, representing the rising of the Jesus. It also faces east towards Jerusalem, where Jesus died.

Baptismal font

This is a small wooden or stone structure used for baptism. Presbyterians believe in infant baptism, and so it only needs to hold a little water for the minister to pour or sprinkle on the child’s head.

In the Church of Ireland it is often located near to the door. This reminds the congregation that the child enters the Church spiritually through baptism, just as a person enters the church building physically through the door.

Baptismal pool

Baptists believe that baptism is an outward sign of an inward change. It is a sign that someone has become a Christian. Baptists believe that only Christians can be baptised - baptism is a command of Jesus, and in the Bible it was only believers in Jesus who could be baptised.

Those being baptised should be fully immersed. Therefore, Baptist churches have a large tank in their churches for this purpose.

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