NOTE: This post by Dr. Chris Carter, a pastor of Congregational Care, and the lead pastor for The Altar service on Saturday evenings, Seabrook Hall
“Jesus, you are the Risen, Healing Christ, you are at our side and your presence makes us whole.”
This opening prayer calls us to come to Jesus as we are! That’s the spirit of warm invitation and acceptance that fills Seabrook Hall on Saturdays at 5 p.m. As folks enter the room, they experience a warm welcome and have their senses lifted to God by the ambience of a sacred space. Rustic crosses, lighted candles and a newly built wood altar and pulpit designed just for this service begin calling us closer to Christ and one another. Kneeling benches adorned for prayer and marked by vials of oil remind us to come to God just as we are with our praises and petitions!
I am so excited to lead this service alongside our compassionate Congregational Care Team and members of our gifted Worship Arts Team. The Altar: A Place of Transforming Grace is an inspirational worship experience of music, teaching and prayer. We invite all to come as they are to Jesus because we recognize that we all have broken places—seasons of pain and struggle in our lives when we need the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. The rustic crosses remind us that by means of the cross, Christ opened the spigot of grace. He alters us as we visit The Altar. We pray that each person drinks from this spigot and is transformed by God’s grace.
The Altar offers a safe place to receive healing prayers and anointing with oil. The oil is a sign act invoking the healing love of God and points beyond itself and those doing the anointing to th
e action of the Holy Spirit and the presence of the healing Christ, who is God’s Anointed One. The Altar also provides an opportunity to pray for the persecuted church and other suffering friends we know. Finally, it is a call to pray for revival and renewal for the United Methodist Church and the entire body of Christ.
Looking forward to meeting with you at The Altar!