First United Methodist
Church of Gilford

We are a church of Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors

Worship & Lectionary

Symbolism of Our Church Building and Sanctuary

Our building and sanctuary is a visual expression of many of the beliefs of the Christian Church,
and was constructed with an eye to bringing us closer to Christ.

Church In The Round:
Believing that all people are equal in the sight of God and that the circle symbolized unity and equality, our congregation worships in the round with the central focus on the Altar/Communion Table.
Upsweeping Roof:

The upward sweep of the roof symbolizes the uplifting of one’s life under the protection and guidance of God’s love. It also gives the feel of a fishing boat (the sail), reminding us that Christ said that he would make his disciples “fishers of men.”
The suspended cross is designed with the three metal rods symbolizing the Trinity and the circular meshing around the rods representing the crown of thorns Jesus wore at his cruci- fixion. The cross is designed so that it may be viewed anywhere within the sanctuary without its symbolism being distorted or destroyed.

The prominent pulpit is shaped like the bow of a boat from which Jesus preached many times.
Communion Table and Baptismal Font:
The intertwining of the metal spokes on the bases of the Altar/ Communion Table and the Baptismal Font remind us of the nets used by the disciples in their occupation as fishermen and of the evangelistic commission of the Church. It is also an indication of the interdependence upon each other for the building up of faith.

Narthex Floor (entrance):
The floor of the narthex is made of pebbles, as if they were on a beach. Many listeners first heard Jesus’ message as they stood on the beach of the Sea of Galilee.
Bas Relief Sculptures:
Church member Stan Piper created the sculptures in the Narthex. The center relief shows disciples surrounding Jesus. The circle, echoing the circle of the sanctuary, includes men, women, and children of all ages. A tie to modern disciples is shown by the small child carrying a teddy bear.
On the right is a modern Easter meal with the family gathered in a circle around the table. It reminds us of the communion meal as well as a fellowship meal. In the background are pictures showing scenes of the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection.
Over the doors are two smaller scenes. One is of the shepherds on the hillside the night of Jesus’ birth. The other is the town of Nazareth where Jesus grew up.
On the left is the baptismal panel show the ministry of all believers, both men and women. The pastors are Rev. Huntley Halvorson and Rev. Victoria Wood Parrish. The people around the font are current members of the congregation.
The designs within the Narthex and Sanctuary provide a place of peace where each worshipper may simplify and unclutter his or her life in order to be renewed for the following week’s business of living.
Take a closer look at your surrounding and how the symbolism can encourage you to be closer to our Lord.

First United Methodist Church of Gilford-Laconia, Inc.
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