Worship Notes and Resources for Sunday and Beyond…
the Church often wonders about its mission. For years we’ve said the Church doesn’t have a mission but is God’s mission in the world – and then we struggle to articulate what that might mean for our life together! Many churches try and discern their work using the Five Marks of Mission (but forget what they are!) and these, oddly, don’t mention worship. Whatever else the Church does, worship is key to our life together. Worship gives us the energy to serve our communities, the strength to witness to our faith, the passion we need to evangelise – or at least it should!
The biggest changes Christians saw in the Reformation era were about worship – most Christians probably didn’t follow the theological arguments but saw the pattern of worship change; the move to the language of the people instead of Latin, congregational instead of choral singing, along with the exposition of Scripture (which itself had been read to them in their own language) in (longer) sermons and more frequent reception of Communion were startling changes – along with the physical changes to church buildings. In the Catholic reaction to the Reformation, changes to worship were key.
Worship matters. Not for nothing to we name our clergy “ministers of the Word and Sacraments” and expend a large part of our resources in training and sustaining them. Similarly we give a lot of resources to train lay preachers so that the people of God are themselves nurtured and sustained in worship. My role was created to give tangible expression to our commitment to worship and to focus, in particular in helping resource ministers, lay preachers, elders and local churches as the new digital technology gives us opportunities not seen since the invention of the printing press in the 16th Century.
We now provide Worship Notes which assist in the careful preparation of worship. They offer all the prayers needed (and some that might not be!), notes on the readings that could be built into a sermon, and suggestions for hymns (which might be used or might stimulate the thinking of those who lead worship). They are used by hard pressed Elders who haven’t been trained to lead worship as well as busy Lay Preachers and ministers. Sometimes they spark thoughts, other times they can be used in their entirety, most often selections from them are used to enhance the worship leader’s own ideas. The notes can be found here https://urc.org.uk/your-faith/prayer-and-worship/worship-notes/ They are always produced at least a month in advance, often longer.
This week I have created our notes looking at the story of the wise and foolish maidens invited to a wedding feast. It is also Remembrance Sunday and I’ve adapted the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland service to make it a 10 minute piece which could be used at the start, in the middle, or at the end of a service depending on your worship time and when you may wish to do this. This material is also in the Worship Notes section of the website. It has also been created as a video for those congregations who use the PowerPoint downloads. I send this link out yesterday but it wasn’t entirely successful. This one here should work! There’s also a link in the Worship Notes.
The Worship Notes for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany have now been loaded up and I hope, next week, to refresh the prayer resource on the website with Advent and Christmas material. You can click here to see current material. This resource is being expanded all the time and is another way in which the church is hoping to equip leaders of worship.
Given the Remembrance material we’ve not provided any further intercessions this week – you can find intercessions in both my service for next Sunday and the Remembrance material.
I hope you find them useful – do let us know your thoughts on these resources as you use them.
with every good wish
The Rev’d Andy Braunston Minister for Digital Worship