If you are without a church home join us at 11:00 at Trinity Chapel Charlotte (ARP), meeting in the historic and serene setting of Antioch UM Church, at 2604 Forest Lawn Drive, Matthews, NC 28104, just across from Brookhaven. Trinity Chapel is a Presbyterian Church (ARP) with folk from many backgrounds. We are sinners saved by grace. We believe that God’s Word and Spirit brings healing in a Christ-centered worship. We are a place to belong for you and your family.
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation” (Psalm 62:1 ESV).
Why not learn more about what could be the place to belong for you and your family. Please read on and learn more. Write at [email protected] or call us at 704-593-6506. We are here for our community. And that means we are here for you.
Our worship is reverent yet joyful, ancient and forever new.
Place and Time
Our morning worship services are held at the serene and historic Antioch United Methodist Church in Weddington. Morning Worship begins at 11:00 AM. Holy Communion is observed on the first Sunday of each month. The church follows a lectionary (reading through the Bible in worship). Our worship is reverent yet joyful, ancient and forever new. The core group founding this church is a warm, welcoming, diverse gathering from our South Charlotte community. Childcare is always available during worship. Home Fellowship Groups provide a more intimate level of fellowship and all are invited to one of two (NC and SC). Our musical ministry features an experienced Director of Music, a graduate of Westminster Choir College, Princeton. Don leads both our choir, congregational singing, and guest musicians and singers. The founding pastor is Dr. Michael A. Milton, a long time pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America, retired Chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary, and now, a retired Army Chaplain, is currently a professor at Erskine College and Seminary. An author and educator, Dr. Milton founded the church and remains as the senior developer. Our church planting apprentice, a candidate for the Gospel ministry and mission pastor, is Mr. Keith Ginn, a gifted young graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte. Our Administrator is Mrs. Christine Hartung. She will be happy to help you learn more or to arrange for pastoral care for your needs. Again, write at [email protected] or call 704-593-6506.
The following statement seeks to summarize the burden (the reason we are here), the values (the core beliefs that guide us), the vision (the prayerful future we see that will lift the burden), the mission (how we move towards the vision), and the Philosophy of Ministry (how we express the vision and mission of our community life together).
“A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses.” ―
Trinity Chapel Charlotte is a mission parish of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP), a Bible-believing, Christ-centered, Gospel-preaching Presbyterian Church that traces its founding to the American Revolution.
Burden: Moving is hard. People need a place to belong.
Values: God is our home. Now and forever. We come to know Him through Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son by repentance and faith in His perfect life and His atoning death on the cross. His resurrection now is the guarantee of our own. The Body of Christ is intended to gather into parishes, assemblies in places, to worship and serve. The faith of our ministers is expressed in the Westminster Standards.
Vision: Trinity Chapel Charlotte (ARP) is a parish church founded to gather, grow, and send forth strong disciples of Jesus Christ so that there will be a multitude of souls safe in the arms of Jesus when He comes again.
Mission: To enfold people into the life of Jesus through Word, Sacrament, and Prayer.
Philosophy of Ministry: Trinity Chapel Charlotte (ARP) is a parish Presbyterian mission with three-streams of ministry: Biblical-Liturgical-Missional (by those three words, we mean: Biblical: Scripture is God’s Word and sufficient for faith and life; Liturgical: reverent, but joyful worship that is ancient but ever new, centering our lives in the Lord; Missional: means intentional about the Great Commission in all we do).
Other Features of our Life Together
Every moment, every artifact, and every movement is considered by the pastor as a resource for the worship of God and for the healing of the souls of those who come to worship.
- Christ and Culture: Our vision and mission are about transforming the world through the faithful presence of God’s people in every area of life and enfolding others into the life of Jesus Christ through our God’s transforming power in our lives. That transformation is up to God, not us. We are just His witnesses. Trinity Chapel Charlotte seeks to become a parish center of worship, teaching, discipleship, with Spirit-led networks of prayer, cultural engagement, and Gospel activity that reflects the centrifugal motion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, moving us outward, drawing others inward, and uniting a diversity of backgrounds in the resurrected life of Jesus our Lord.
- Joyfully Reverent Worship: Our worship services are intentionally reverent, but (we certainly trust) not stuffy. And we don’t want to be! Reverence is the natural outflow of love and deep respect for Almighty God. The pastors seek to conduct a service that reflects God’s transcendence—His majesty before us—as well as His imminence—His closeness to us.
- Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs: We believe that singing hymns—sacred poetry arranged for congregational singing, based on some portion of the Scriptures—remains the most helpful way to sing Biblically faithful, theologically rich, and sacred truths by an entire congregation; not just a soloist. But, all hymns are not ancient. Some are new. We rejoice in recovering hymnody, but also in composing hymnody within our life together. Hymnody is the musical genre of another Kingdom. Hymnody is also a heritage of faith that we want to pass along to another generation.
Hymnody is the musical genre of another Kingdom.
- Worship as Healing: We value natural expressions of voice, instrumentation, and holy space. For instance, Trinity Chapel Charlotte doesn’t ordinarily use overheads to project congregational singing (since we want to place value on the word and the musical score, as well as seeking some respite, as much as possible, from the world of electronics). We won’t normally use pre-recorded music. There is nothing wrong with those who do. We are not reacting to what we feel is wrong. We simply choose to offer a different environment for worship. We see this time as an intentional act of pastoral healing. Every moment, every artifact, and every movement is considered by the pastor as a resource for the worship of God and for the healing of the souls of those who come to worship.
- Bible Messages: We aim for excellence in expository preaching, but recognize that time is a sacred gift (good preaching is not necessarily measured by a long sermon).
- Musicianship: We strive for excellence in congregational singing, choral music, and instrumentation.
- Stillness: Silent time with God is valued and cherished. We encourage silence at the “Striking of the Hour” to mark the division between what we do Monday through Saturday and what we do when we enter the presence of the Lord in divine worship.
The traditional Presbyterian approach to worship reminds the minister of the high office of his calling and “the dignity of the pulpit.”
Children in Worship: The sounds of children in worship are the sounds of life in the family. But we also have childcare! Those decisions are yours and we respect your own wisdom. Should a little one become a bit loud and you think it best to go to the childcare area no one will mind.
- Marking Time by the Life of Jesus: We follow the Church Year, not because it is meritorious to do, but because our pastor desires to order the life of the Church around the life of Jesus Christ.
- Pastoral Office: The ministers wear robes and stoles because of the dignity of the pulpit and reverence for the office of pastor. Again, we do not wear clerical attire to react against those who don’t. We choose to mark the time as sacred, as others do but seek to identify with the ancient church in doing so, even in our attire. There is no spiritual value in the clothing, of course. Yet, the traditional Presbyterian approach to worship reminds the minister of the high office and “the dignity of the pulpit.”
- Art and Church: The church colors are rich symbols developed over time in Western Christianity that focus on a unique stage in the life of Jesus or the anointing of the Church by the Holy Spirit. We are ambitious to be well-pleasing to the Lord in all things. The Church has always been the primary patron for works of art that reflect the wonder of the Creator. We want to recover art for the glory of God.
We want to recover art for the glory of God.
Ancient and Ever New: We follow a classical Reformed (from the orders of worship used in the Protestant Reformation) liturgical order. Allow us to help you to experience a worship service:
After a welcome, we are called to worship, with an antiphonal Call to Worship from Scripture. The ministers (what we call our clergy) process from the narthex (the entrance area of the church) to the chancel (the place of the pulpit, baptismal font, and Table) as all sing a Hymn of Praise. The pastor (the senior most clergyman) gives the Invocation, pleading for the presence of Jesus our Lord to come and lead us in worship through the power of the Holy Spirit for the glory of the Father). He closes the Invocation by gathering us into a prayer of one voice: the Lord’s Prayer. Still standing, for those who are able, we continue the dialogical worship between God and Man, between Pastor and People, and from Person to Person, with an Affirmation of Faith. In this way, we seek to say, “This is what we believe. This is who we are. We are part of the glorious Body of Christ, both in heaven and around the globe; we are not alone, we are apart of Something so much greater than ourselves.” Immediately, our gifted and dedicated musicians respond, alerting us to the wonder of the Triune God. We sing the Gloria: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Amen.” Seated or kneeling, the minister calls us to the Confession of Sin. Using Biblical confessions or faithful common prayers, we confess our sins as a community, “Lord, this is who we are. This is who you are. And ‘there is no health in us,’ We then are called to a time of silence in the sanctuary. Silence is an increasingly rare and most precious moment in public life. At this moment, we pray individually, silently. We listen. “Hear the Assurance of Pardon,” the minister says. He reads a portion of Scripture or proclaims forgiveness to all who turn to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith. express our dependence upon God. because we seek, in our small, faltering way, to imitate heavenly worship. There is a choral or instrumental Response. A serene musical phrase seals the moment. As the pastor stands before the People he announces that “while we came in as individuals or families, we worship in a common life together.” Remembering Jesus’ greeting on the first Resurrection day, when He came to the disciples who were behind closed doors, we, too, greet each other in His peace: “The peace of the Lord be with you.” The People answer, “And also with you” (or “And with thy spirit”). There is a reprise of a musical phrase from earlier in the service. The strains of hymnody waft over the sanctuary as the People move from their places to greet another. “We are not alone.” A young lady smiles as she greets a first-time visitor, a father laughs as he reaches out to embrace his friend, a widow is embraced, a child is made to feel that she is part of God’s Family. Sometimes there is an extended time of joyful greeting. Sometimes, there may be a more solemn sense of our lives together. This is unchoreographed and spontaneous time to say, “Jesus is with us.” Taking our seats, we see the movement of Readers to the lectern.
Each week, the Doxology, Gloria Patri, the Lord’s Prayer, familiar movements, familiar words, and comforting passages of Scripture form the rhythms of worship, and, thus, the cycle of time.
Our bulletins direct us to a new movement in the flow of worship: the public Reading of Scripture. Suddenly, a voice from among the People: “A reading from the Old Testament . . .” Then, another from an Epistle, in the New Testament. After a careful reading from the lectionary (a three-year cycle of readings that allow the Word of God to be read publically in worship), the first reader closes with a familiar antiphonal ascription and a congregational response: “This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.” The pastor, or another officer of the Church, then, ask all to stand who are able. It is the time of the Gospel reading. We stand for all of the Word of God read, now culminating in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Following the Reading of the Scriptures, we pause to express our thanks through gifts. Ushers come forward. The collection plate is passed. The choir, or, perhaps a soloist, or a harpist, or another instrumentalist, offers a musical gift to God. The Offertory often features an anthem, conducted with skill and prayerful care by our Director of Music and the Arts. The last note of the Anthem modulates. The musicians beckon the congregation to, now, respond with Triune praise in the Doxology. Each week, the Doxology, Gloria Patri, the Lord’s Prayer, familiar movements, familiar words, and comforting passages of Scripture form the rhythms of worship, and, thus, the cycle of time. Ritual? Yes. Dead? That question is answered in your heart. The minister cites a Psalm or other passage. It is time for the Pastoral Prayer. This is a high point of solemnity mingled with pastoral tenderness. The pastor begins, “O Father . . .” and with intercession, supplication, and fervent petitions, he shapes an extemporaneous prayer around the structure of a Psalm. He stands with his back to God and announces the Lord’s comfort for those who mourn. He stands with his back to the People and cries out to the Lord to “hear our prayer” and fulfill every promise to God’s saints through the name of Jesus. As he speaks “Amen” to the pastoral prayer, the minister seems quiet. He has been affected by what is the highest act of ministry by an ordained Christian shepherd. He has prayed for Christ’s flock. You watch him as he reaches for his Bible. He holds the sacred Text in his hands, turning to a page that has been prepared by a red ribbon, hanging from the great Book. He announces the text, as you hold your own Bible in your lap. “The message today is taken from 1 Timothy chapter two.” Before he begins to read, he announces, with Bible lifted, “This is the inerrant and infallible Word of the living God.” He reads. Paul’s admonition to Pastor Timothy echoes in his mind and he prepares to speak:
“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13 ESV).
The last verse is read. The minister lifts the Holy Book from the sacred desk and seals the reading with an ascription of authority:
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:7 ESV).
Silence is an increasingly rare and most precious moment in public life.
He, then, prays, “Lord, let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts, be always acceptable to Thee, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. And let me preach as if never to preach again; as a dying man to dying men. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.” He faces the congregation. He pauses to speak as he seems to be visually taking each person into his own heart and mind. He speaks. And the first utterance sums up the presenting universal issue that the passage today is addressing. “We are, by nature, fearful creatures.” The preacher moves to demonstrate this with his own life, perhaps a literary illusion. However, the idea is not in isolation. He tethers the universal human condition to the Biblical text just read. He explains the summary meaning of the text. He exposits—draws from the well of Scripture—God’s Word for our day, His personal Word for you. He transitions into an “argument.” He moves from one Biblically-grounded concept to another, each movement containing an explanation of the text, an illustration of its meaning, and an application to your life and mine. Within a few minutes, maybe twenty, he is making a final appeal. It is as if he is a trial attorney giving a closing argument. But he is arguing to reject what he says are empty promises of the world, the devil, or the flesh. He shows you what life looks like if we follow God in the presenting issue raised by the Scriptural reading that day. He paints a word picture of life in the kingdom. He invites you to turn and follow, follow Jesus the Redeemer. “Fear not,” he says. “I have overcome the world.” Those words are allowed to linger in the air. He then changes his voice to an air of quiet authority: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13 ESV).
The sacred movements near a conclusion. The Director of Music calls for all to stand. A closing hymn is sung. The hymn pauses as the minister makes his way to the front of the sacred Table. The pastor raises his hands, as an ancient priest might have done in Israel. He announces the “Benediction:” literally, the Good Word of blessing. He recesses, with his wife, to the rear. As the last stanza of a hymn is sung, the Director of Music sounds the word of mission: “Go in the peace of the Lord!” You hear the response of the People, “Thanks be to God!” As you stand, still taking it all in, the musicians sound a triumphant closing musical phrase. There is a sense of joy, of family, of life, of, well, maybe, heaven. You greet the pastor and his wife. You greet the other minister and his wife. You greet other worshippers. The coffee and homemade cakes create an atmosphere for meeting others. You learn that your children went to the same school as another family present. Someone greets you and simply speaks, “We sure hope we get to see you again.” You pause. “Thank you,” you answer. You will think about that one. The thing is, though, it felt like no other place you go. The words, the music, the silence, the singing, the message. It was different. And yet it touched something deep inside of you.
Growing Together: The “rule of faith” that allows us to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ includes weekly worship, time in a small group, family worship, and private prayer. The focus of the week for our church, however, is Sunday morning. We do not compete against the weekday suburban life of South Charlotte. We do offer a full Sunday morning day of worship and, then, a day of rest for you and your family. We offer small groups that meet to study everything from faith in the works of Jane Eyre to the Book of James.
Witnesses: We witness to others by sharing what great things God has done for us in Jesus Christ. And we invite others into the life of discipleship at our church. We have classes to help you share your faith.
Our faith is summarized in the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Connectional and Accountable: We believe that it is good and right to be connected to a larger fellowship for accountability of our faith and life. We are members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (the ARP), a historic denomination that goes back to the founding of our nation. The ARP, like the PCA, the EPC, ECO, and other evangelical Presbyterian bodies, believes that the Bible is the very Word of God. Thus, our faith and life, including our stance on the major social issues of the day, flow from the Bible.
A Church Open to All: Our services are public worship services and are open to any and all regardless of religion or creed. Our Communion services (the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, Holy Communion) are open to all baptized believers who are members of a Bible-believing church.
Plans: We are a new church development, but we are here for our community for the long haul. We plan on building a beautiful sanctuary for our community with architecture that will bring glory to God and reflect our theological convictions about the centrality of the Lord in all areas of life. Stay tuned!
One faith, one Lord, one Baptism: We believe that membership in a Christian Community of faith that is connected to the one, true catholic (universal) Church is vital to all believers. Come fellowship with us as a member, with a voice, a vote, and a public affirmation of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, or a reaffirmation of faith.
God’s Sign of Entrance: To be a member of the Church is to repent of your sins, publicly affirm faith in Jesus Christ as the only Savior, and if you have never been baptized, submit to God’s sign of the washing away of sin by the Holy Spirit’s power. We baptize adults and children. And we baptize little ones, too. We baptize infants because we believe that Jesus welcomed little children, blessed them, and the practice of a sign of entrance extends from the Old Testament to the New Testament for not only believers but also their children. See a pastor about your own baptism or your child’s baptism. We recognize baptisms from other Trinitarian and historical, orthodox Christian communities. So, if you are baptized, but have not confirmed your faith publically, you are invited to do so. Speak to one of our ministers. Take a stand for Jesus Christ in your family, in this community, in the world. Jesus said,
“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32 ESV).
Life Together: What is a parish ministry? Dr. Milton wrote about that in a recent article. You can read about it there. But this is what we mean: A “parish” Presbyterian church is a church that says, “This is the place where God has placed us. These are our people. This is our home. Ministry begins here, with these precious souls of God. We must be a community church that is established to reach People right here, through the successive generations, one by one, for God’s glory and our good.
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Trinity Chapel Charlotte (ARP)
Weddington, North Carolina and all of South Charlotte