Sunday, October 28, 2007

2 Sundays down 3 to go

So, this morning as the 2nd of the 5 Sundays. I was going to post last week with a report but just never got around to it. I guess I need to start getting better at regular posting very soon if I'm going to actually post every day in November.

So, first for last week. The service went very well, with positive feedback from a number of people. Here's an outline of the service:

Prelude - Be Thou My Vision arr. Albert Travis
Gathering Song - Gloria Peru
Welcome/Announcements and Passing of the Peace
Call to Worship and Opening Hymn
This was Be Thou My Vision with a responsive reading based on Psalm 24 weaved in between the verses. i.e. we spoke a few lines, sang a verse, said a few more lines, sang a verse, etc.
Prayer of Confession
Assurance of Forgiveness
Response of Praise - Give Thanks
Nicene Creed
Scripture (which we read all together in unison) Jeremiah 29:11-12
Anthem: "The Plans I Have for You" by (shoot, I can't remember right now)
Prayers of the People/Lord's Prayer sung by the congregation
Offertory statement
Offering: Give Thanks arr. Jan Sanborn
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Children's Message
Hymn - This Is My Father's World
Stewardship statement
Prayer for Illumination
Scripture - again, read in unison by the congregation: Psalm 24:1-2
Sermon: "At the Heart of our Faith"
Hymn: O Lord, You Are My God and King
Postlude: Carillon by Herbert Murrill

So - a couple of notes about this service. First, let me start out by saying that it would be my preference to have the offertory, prayers of the people and confessional statement after the sermon as a response to the Word. However, because the minister preaches at the 10:45 Contemporary service and the 3rd Traditional service starts at 11:00 he comes in late to that service and we can't get to the sermon any earlier than 30 min. into the service. which means we have to front load the whole service. I really don't like it and I keep fighting for us to come up with a better solution, but so far, no luck.
Back to the service - the Gloria Peru gathering song at the beginning is new. it's a really fun responsive song from Peru. We decided we wanted something at the very beginning of the service that really got people focused and together before we get started. Usually, noone listens to the prelude and it takes a little while for people to settle down and come together. So, this little, easy to sing, fun song helps to draw everyone together and focus on worship. I was a little nervous about people joining in, but they really did and many people reacted positively to it. We're doing it all 5 weeks, so they should know it well by then.

The Call to Worship/Hymn thing also worked well. On thing was that the choir processed as usual, but stopped at the end of each verse for the speaking parts which meant they were in the midst of the congregation longer which is a great thing. It also seemed to really set off the words of each verse of the song and the text of Psalm 24 dovetailed nicely with the hymn.

Since the scripture readings were short this day, they lent themselves well to being read in unison. And the fact that we read together the Jeremiah text before the anthem, and the anthem was the same text, I think helped people to listen to the anthem with more intentionality as opposed to just turning off their brains and hearing the pretty music.

Today's worship service, was quite different. There were many factors that played a part. It is Reformation Sunday, and this year a group of ladies made new Confessional Banners (9 in all) as the old ones were over 20 years old and looking like it. It was also our Sanctuary Dedication Sunday since we just recently renovated it - new paint, new floor, pews refinished, choir loft reoriented from a split chancel (men on one side, women on the other, facing each other) to the choir in a semi circle facing the congregation and the Table in front of the choir, and lots of other changes. Also, the minster didn't preach at the Contemporary service so we could put the offering and stuff wherever we wanted :). So, here's what happened this morning:

Prelude: Be Thou My Vision arr. Mary K. Sallee
Gathering Song: Gloria Peru
Call to Worship from the back of the sanctuary: The Elder for that service knocked on the door and said: "Open to me the gates of righteousness, and I will go in and worship the Lord." The the head Deacon for the service opened the door and the Elder walked in and said "Peace be to this house and to all who worship here. Peace be to those that enter and to those that go out. Peace be to those that love it and love the names of Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us Worship God"
Processional Hymn: God is Here! - this procession included the Christ Candle 9 banners, the Elder, the Liturgist, the Chancel Choir and the Children's Choirs. LOTS OF PEOPLE!
Prayer of Confession
Assurance of Forgiveness
Response of Praise: Give Thanks
Anthem: Come Christians Join to Sing - with the Chancel Choir, the Children's Choirs, organ and trumpet.
Children's Message
Stewardship Statement - the speaker this morning did a fantastic job. So much so, she got applause at the 11:00 service! She really spoke from the heart, and gave a beautiful testimony.
Prayer of Illumination
Scripture Reading: Romans 1:1-17
Sermon: "This Very Place" (wow! what a sermon it was)
Affirmation of Faith using an excerpt from the Barmen Declaration
Sanctuary Dedication - we recognized the people who gave of their time and resources to make it all happen, including the banner ladies, and then had a responsive prayer of dedication.
Offertory - Highland Cathedral with organ, piano, timpani, orchestral chimes and 3 bagpipers. It brought the house down!
Prayer of Thanksgiving

Hymn: A Mighty Fortress is Our God
Postlude - Bagpipers.

So - 2 down, 3 to go. And lots more work before it's all over. Starting Thursday, you can expect a post every day from me!


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