The St. Philip's Sanctuary
St. Philip's Lutheran Church sits on seven acres fronting Moore Lake in Fridley, Minnesota. During outdoor services in the summer, the congregation is treated to a wide variety of wildlife in the garden and on the lake. The lake's skyline is dominated by the church's 20-foot dark bronze anodized aluminum cross.
Placed in the center of our physical facilities, the 8,000-square-foot sanctuary reminds us that God is in our midst, and that worship and teaching are at the center of the Christian life. Its height (48 feet) and massiveness suggest the transcendence and majesty of the Almighty God we worship. Yet, seated in the semi open-ended pews, we realize that we are gathered together as members of God's family, the community of believers. We are reminded that God is both transcendent and in our midst. The general theme of the symbolism in our sanctuary suggests that we have gathered in this dwelling place of the Almighty to be fed, for God has come to earth to spiritually and physically feed all people.
The baldachin, in the form of a cross, hangs above the altar. The Chi Rho (the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ), and the Alpha and Omega, (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet), symbolize Christ as the beginning and the end and are enclosed in a bursting sun. This tells us that because of God's endless love and mercy, Christ was sent to earth for all people. God in Christ still strengthens and sustains us today in the form of the Holy Spirit, which is represented by the dove over the sun. The six-pointed star symbolizes the six days of creation when God created the world and all living creatures.
The theme of feeding dominates. The wafers and chalice indicate that we receive God's grace through the body and blood of Christ in Holy Communion. Five wafers are used to symbolize the five wounds inflicted on the body of Christ, and the wafers are round to symbolize the eternal life we receive through God's grace in the Lord's Supper.
The five loaves and two fish, based on the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand recorded in the sixth chapter of John's Gospel, remind us that our daily bread and all that we need to live on this earth is given us by God. The loaves are rectangular to symbolize the material world.
The baldachin measures 56 x 32 feet and weighs approximately 16,000 pounds. It is made of steel, wood, Styrofoam, and plaster sand-cast. Palmer Eide of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was commissioned to create this structure.
The candles indicate that Jesus Christ, the eternal light of the world, is at the same time truly God and truly human.
The natural, earthy colors used in the sanctuary suggest that it is the earth which God created that physically sustains us. The sandcastings, along with our name and our location on Moore Lake, are reminiscent of the feeding of the five thousand, which took place on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The massiveness of the pulpit and the sand-blasted altar and baptismal font point out the equal emphasis upon the preaching word and the Sacraments.
The windows surrounding the sanctuary are of a blown antique art glass while the narthex slate is Vermont mottled-green randish pattern.
Sitting in the back of the choir loft above the congregation is a Schantz, 3 manual with 43 ranks of pipes. This organ was installed in 1982. For detailed specifications about the organ please take a look at the Organ Historical Society Archive: http://www.pipeorganlist.com/