“It’s called the ‘Christian Churches – Disciples of Christ.’ You might have seen our churches before; our denomination’s logo is a red chalice with St. Andrew’s Cross” The other person stares at me blankly. I sigh.
“Ok, really, it looks like a red wine glass with a big white X on it…”
They say, “OOOOHH, yes! Now I know what you’re talking about. I’ve seen that before!!”
I find myself repeating this conversation often. Since my husband is an Army chaplain, I meet Christians of many stripes who frequently ask about our denomination; they’ve heard of Baptist and Methodist and Lutheran, but oftentimes aren’t as familiar with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I love taking the opportunity to share about this denomination and about my church. And that’s why THIS red cup matters.
The red cup means that the Table is our focus. This red chalice – representative of what was used by Christ during the Last Supper – shows that we are people of the Table. We have differing interperetations of the Bible, and have differing ways of living out our faith, but the Table unifies us. By partaking of this meal together, we remember the life and teachings of Christ; we are woven together, continuing the story of God’s people on earth. Disciples churches celebrate Communion every time we gather in worship. I used to think that the frequency would make it meaningless; on the contrary, it has become the most meaningful part of my week. As we partake, we are fed and filled and sent forth into the world. And because of that…
The red cup means that ALL are welcome to the Table. We welcome all to the Table as God has welcomed us. There is no ten-page doctrinal statement to sign, no list of rules by which we must abide. We require no proof or documentation to partake. We do not tell anyone they aren’t good enough – or anything enough – to celebrate the Lord’s Table. Our value of inclusion does not end at the Table; as a woman, in the Disciples I am able to use all my gifts from God for God’s people and the church. Here, I am welcome. We take this from our doorsteps into the ends of the earth because…
The red cup means that we are a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As an Army wife, I am ever aware of the fragmentation of our world, of the conflicts that cause blood to be shed, families to be torn apart, and people everywhere to draw lines in the sand about who is in and who is out and why. People are hurt by the church; people suffer with loneliness and suffer because of oppression. Disconnection leads to all sorts of tragedies. We are continually fragmented from the earth and the interconnectedness of all life. And yet, as people of God, we are called to bring wholeness. We are called to live into God’s realm in the earth today, not only waiting for some future hope, but making that hope a reality now. I cannot think of any greater identity statement for a denomination. Which is why…
The red cup means that I am home. Brand recognition matters. Driving through a new community, a sign that says “Christian Church” could mean almost anything. But when I see that little red chalice with St. Andrew’s Cross? I know I’m home. As I’ve written before, my husband and I have only been Disciples for about six years now, and making this shift was an intentional and prayerful decision. We’ve been to Disciples churches all over the country, and each is remarkably different. And yet, in each, we are welcome; in each, we worship God together; in each, we celebrate communion every Sunday; in each, we are home. We are diverse, we are faithful, we are God’s people but not God’s only people. We are the Disciples of Christ: People of the (Red) Cup.
Chalice Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is a mainline Protestant denomination. Congregations accept new members through a confession of faith and baptism or by transfer from another tradition (or denomination). Worship styles vary from congregation to congregation, but all observe the Lord's Table (Holy Communion) each Sunday. The Communion Table is open to all who confess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Gathered as faithful people around the Table, we come to experience the power of God's love and the grace of Jesus Christ in the breaking of bread and the drinking of the cup. Experiencing the Lord's last supper with his disciples, is the central focus of our worship experience as we remember Jesus's sacrifice for each of us. Disciples advocate freedom and respect diversity. We hold true "Where the Bible speaks, we speak, and where the Bible is silent, we are silent", which means each person is challenged to study the scriptures and to seek God's will for their life. The Christian Church has always served as a "bridge church" or a common ground for people with diverse denominational backgrounds. To learn more about the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), please visit the denominational website at www.Disciples.org.
The History of Chalice Christian
Chalice Christian Church (DOC) is a fairly new congregation. Chartered in 2009, it was born out of the merger of two Disciple congregations; Diamond Springs Christian in Virginia Beach & First Christian in Norfolk. Each congregation had its struggles, but with reorganization we found the strengths of each church. Through rebirth and revitalization, our church was chartered. Today Chalice is growing and attracting people of all age groups to its fellowship. We have experienced one year in our new addition. This space is providing new opportunities for ministry and partnerships in our Community and around the world. We are a congregation in transition and looking for new ways to worship in ways that bring people closer to God, through Jesus Christ. Come and see what we are doing.