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Rituals and Worship



Sacred Time

With their dual emphases on personal access to God and the importance of daily life, many Anabaptists claim that all time is sacred. Nevertheless, Anabaptist groups meet weekly or fortnightly for communal worship and observe some elements of the Christian year (e.g., Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost).

Sacred Space

Anabaptist groups diverge sharply on the question of a devoted sacred space. Most progressive Anabaptist groups worship in church buildings, which they sometimes call meetinghouses. Many conservative groups, however, worship in homes or barns, a reminder to them that God is present wherever God's people gather.

Rites and Ceremonies

From their beginning, Anabaptists have practiced adult baptism and observed the Lord's Supper, both of which they view as symbolic rites or "ordinances." In addition, many Anabaptist groups have placed great significance on church discipline and footwashing.

Worship and Devotion in Daily Life

Old Order Anabaptists often have family devotions that include Bible reading and prayer, though small group Bible studies are discouraged. Progressive Anabaptist groups encourage personal Bible study and prayer as well as involvement in small groups for Bible study, prayer, support, and encouragement.

Symbolism

Although most Anabaptist worship spaces are visually unadorned, Anabaptist groups view their worship ordinances--baptism, the Lord's Supper, and footwashing--as symbolic acts. In addition, many Anabaptist groups wear plain, uniform clothing as a symbol of humility and community solidarity.

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