The entire design of this worship space is expressive of the journey of Christian life and the ordering of God's Church. Entering through the narthex of the church, one is led to the font, the place where the life of a Christian begins. The Christian life does not end in the waters of baptism. Baptism is needed to become a member of God's household. Once in the household the members are called forward to the altar, to be fed at the holy table. Being fed is not an end in itself for the Christian. The believer is fed in order to be strengthened to do the work of Christ in ministry. From the altar, one sees the cathedra, from which the Bishop oversees the work of Christ carried out by His members.
The design of the green terrazzo, as it moves from the narthex around the font to encircle the altar, also branches out into the presbytery and the assembly. Thus our journey as believers leads us from font to altar to ministry. This cycle continues each week when we enter the church renewing our baptism as we bless ourselves at the font. From the font, we take our place around the table of Word and Eucharist to be nourished at the altar. As we participate in the act of Christ's sacrifice, we learn what we must do. From the altar, we are sent to minister as Christ ministers.
The font is constructed in a large enough fashion for an adult to be fully washed in baptism. This font, like the many fonts of the ancient church, is not a font for full immersion. The elect to be baptized enter the font one by one after they have professed their faith. After descending the stairs to the south of the font, they kneel down in the middle of the cross and are baptized by the pouring of water over them by the minister. When they have received baptism, they rise and ascend the stairs on the north side of the font which places their feet on the way to the altar, the culmination of Christian initiation.
The font is constructed primarily of travertine, with an accented base in the salmon marble used on the reredos. The design of the font incorporates four pillars from the former altar. From each pillar, the waters of life flow, as if from the four rivers of ancient lore.
The Paschal Candle
The Paschal Candle is blessed at the beginning of the Easter Vigil and is the first light that leads the faithful into the darkened church. The Paschal Candle remains lit for all of Easter, through Ascension Thursday to Pentecost. This candle is lit each time a new member is brought into the church and each time a member of the church is commended to God at their passing. The stand is made of black walnut with design elements that complement the tracery of the stained glass windows. It is crafted to reflect the singular importance of the candle it holds.
The holy oils and the Oil of Chrism are visible to the assembly not merely as a display, but to remind the community that God chooses to use the things of this earth to impart his grace. In the cathedral church, the oils take on a particular significance as signs of the faithful's unity with the bishop's pastoral ministry. The ambry is the place where the holy oils and the Oil of Chrism are stored. The base of this ambry is the former baptismal font and the upper section is crafted from black walnut. Its design compliments the tracery design in the stained glass windows. The upper walnut section is capped with the top of the former baptismal font.