First Baptist Church is a group of people whose hopes and intentions are to live a life of following Jesus, to be a place of spiritual formation, and to seek, and contribute to, the peace and well-being of the city.
The Quick Take
What we’re about on Sundays …
… spiritual formation! We believe that “being” the people of God in Edmonton flows from a series of intentional acts, including gathering regularly in sacred space, celebrating at the Lord’s table, reading scripture and praying together, responding to the rhythm of the Christian liturgical calendar, and attending to beauty, sacred music, and silence.
What we’re up to the other six days of the week …
… spiritual formation! We believe that in everything we do—working, playing, socializing, creating new things or re-creating ourselves and those close to us—we are living out the Christ-life, the “way of Jesus” in this downtown sector of the city and beyond.
We are not a highly programmed church; this gives us the freedom to spend time with family, friends and neighbours who need us during the week. That being said, church-based programs are available for people of all ages. We also offer volunteer opportunities connected to our primary partnerships:
The Bigger Picture
Our faith community averages 180-ish worshippers on Sunday mornings. In keeping with Baptist tradition, many people share “the work of doing,” each one contributing from what they are gifted in and passionate about.
Our Sunday morning worship follows a traditional, liturgical format. We believe many people still desire to hear an organ played beautifully, to sing hymns from a hymnbook, to enjoy choral and hand-bell choirs, and to recite the prayers and creeds that have come to us from previous generations and have formed our Christian story for hundreds of years. Sometimes our own liturgical writers compose the prayers; sometimes we use ancient or beloved prayers. We sing from our hearts to God. We celebrate through the entire, multi-faceted realm of the arts—music (choral and instrumental), painting, poetry, sculpture, the creation of fabric banners—both to engage in our faith and simply to celebrate life in its fullness.
We like to eat and drink together. We laugh and cry together. In response to the lie of narcissism, which is ever present in our consumer culture, we do the radical thing: we show up. We show up not out of guilt or obligation, but out of freedom, generously, even if it’s not the thing we want to do in the moment, because we understand that our presence may meet someone else’s need. Every day we are learning what it means to be spiritual companions together, realizing that the best way to be formed in Christ is within the context of community … whether in a one-to-one relationship or in a small group gathering.
We explore and attempt to proclaim the revolutionary grace and immense call of the gospel. “Who we are” changes with everyone who joins us or leaves us, but “what we are about” is constant. We gather around the written word and the Lord’s table (what other traditions might call the Eucharist). We steadfastly pursue the “radicals”— radical welcome, radical generosity, and radical reverence (to Christ and to one another). We find this work to be a joy because we do it together and for the sake of God. We strive to have a good reputation amongst those who are usually suspicious of the church. We listen. And we point to Jesus, the author and pioneer of our faith.
Ultimately, we are informed and inspired by these words from Jeremiah 29:7:
Seek the shalom (peace) of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its shalom you will find your shalom.
We pray that God will bless us and “grow us up” into this call.