12.2.4 Dedication of church buildings

A newly constructed church building is dedicated during the first divine service held there. Aside from the act of dedication–in most cases conducted by the District Apostle or the Apostle–the order of the dedication service corresponds to that of other divine services.

The dedication service is based upon a Bible text that is in keeping with the occasion. The introductory words of the officiant express gratitude to God. In most cases, thanks is also expressed to the members for their willingness to make sacrifices, thus enabling the church to be built, as well as to all those who worked on its construction. The congregation's historical development is likewise addressed.

In the dedication prayer, the house of God is dedicated to its sacred purpose in the name of the triune God. Thus the new church is consecrated as a place where the Holy Spirit reveals Himself. Here the word of God will henceforth be proclaimed, and here the sacraments will be dispensed. All activities performed in this house are to serve for the perfection of souls longing for salvation, and to prepare them for the return of Jesus Christ. The church building and all who gather there are commended to God's protection and to the service of His angels.

The dedicated church is now a place for the worship of God and a sanctuary for those who seek salvation. It serves to offer them divine comfort, strength of faith, and peace of the soul in the divine services.

When a church building is no longer to be used for divine services, there is a divine service to deconsecrate the building. In this final divine service, the purpose of the church building as a holy place of divine activity, as imparted in the dedication, is lifted. After its deconsecration, it is once again a regular building, which can be used for another purpose.

SUMMARY

At the dedication service, the building is assigned its sacred purpose in the name of the triune God and dedicated as a place of the Holy Spirit's revelation. (12.2.4)

When a church building is no longer used for divine services, there is a divine service to deconsecrate the building. (12.2.4)

See also