a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

call for contributions: musical liturgy

It’s been a while since we on LiturgyLink have sent out a special call for contributions, but today brings an end to that! As a Presbyterian pastor, a music lover, and a connoisseur of congregational song, I’m looking forward to the upcoming release by the end of this month of Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal. While there’s been a bit of controversy over one song that was left out due to a copyright kerfluffle, the contents look to blend familiar favorites with new and innovative songs from close to home and around the world. Even if you’re not a Presbyterian, I hope you’re aware of this new resource, as there is an ecumenical edition too!

In celebration of the release of Glory to God, we’re looking to publish some liturgical resources that blend words and music in new and creative ways. Maybe you’ve created a response to the assurance of pardon that works well for a particular season. Maybe you’ve found a way to blend a song with words of liturgy to create space for congregational participation. Maybe you’ve even written a musical setting of some liturgical element that you would like to share. If you’ve done any of these or other things, we hope you’ll share them with the LiturgyLink community!

You can send your submissions for this project or any time to liturgylink@gmail.com. Due to copyright restrictions around words and music, we reserve the right to edit, reformat, or even set aside submissions. If you submit original work, please indicate any copyright restrictions that you might have on its use. Any questions, please let us know. And thanks as always for your submissions as we continue to create together!

Call For Submissions: PENTECOST!

Alright friends, let’s set the church ablaze with liturgical awesomeness! Let the winds of liturgy blow through our communities! Speak the language of the Spirit in the language of the people!

It’s that time: send us your ideas, your calls to worship, your prayers, your musical suggestions….anything The People might be able to Work in worship!

We’d love to see your liturgy in our mailbox (liturgylink@gmail.com) by Wednesday May 8 if at all possible–think of how ahead-of-the-game you’ll feel, think of how much you can help your fellow pastors who are desperately searching google three days before the Holy Day, think of the joy of being published on this illustrious website… 😉 Let’s fill up the internet with the Spirit, so she can fill our churches with new life too!

Ready, set, create!


Looking Ahead: Palm Sunday

not long now, until we wave palms and shout Hosanna! Any liturgical plans for Palm Sunday? Or will you be doing mostly Passion Sunday? Will you have a palm processional? children dancing with palm branches?

What will you sing?

How will you pray?

Ideas–fully formed or half-baked–welcome in the comments!

Brainstorming- Healing & Wholeness

In some past years we have included a “Rite of Wholeness” in our regular Sunday morning worship services during Lent. This year we’ll be doing it the Sunday before Lent.  Our usual format is to have a Litany of Healing early in the service, a sermon focused on healing & wholeness, and then the rite following the sermon. We’ve used a fairly traditional Book of Common Worship Rite with confession, pardon, and laying on of hands and anointing with oil.

During that laying on of hands time we have pastors, elders, and Stephen Ministers stationed around the periphery of the worship space and people are free to come to them as they wish for prayer and anointing. While this goes on the congregation is invited to sing songs like There is a Balm in Gilead, Seek Ye First, Precious Lord, Take My Hand and Healing River of the Spirit.

Recognizing that not everyone feels comfortable approaching another person for prayer in that way, or may not even have a particular need they can articulate, we are going to try something new this time. In addition to the usual prayer opportunities we will have a station to light a candle and a station to write prayers down. The original idea for the written prayers was to do something like a Wailing Wall where people could place their prayers. The group brainstorming ideas couldn’t figure out a good way to do that so we’re adapting our own version of prayer weaving that Theresa Cho shared http://theresaecho.com/2012/09/20/interactive-way-to-pray-in-worship-part-ii/ .

2 of our Sunday morning services take place in the formal sanctuary with a pipe organ and more “traditional” style. The other Sunday morning service is in a more informal space, is lead in music by a contemporary band, and includes the celebration of the Lord’s Supper each week. The folks at this informal service are accustomed to me doing different things from time to time, asking for responses, more participation and interactive stations.

In the past I’ve preached on stories of healing in scripture, but this time I’m going to use Romans 8:18-28.  Verse 26 is the part that is most prominent in my thinking at this point- Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. I expect the sermon will extend beyond just individual needs of healing, but the whole of creation crying out. So much is broken/fallen- the earth, systems of government, relationships, bodies, etc.

Prior to serving in this congregation my only experience with services of healing and wholeness were all outside of the usual Sunday morning worship and were attended by a smaller group of folks who went there particularly for that purpose. I’d love to hear what others have done in this realm.

Does anyone have scripture or liturgy to share? Creative ideas for offering meaningful ways worshipers can connect?

Submitted by Rev. Camille LeBron Powell, Second Presbyterian Church, Little Rock, AR

Looking Ahead: Lent

It seems like it should be far away, but in fact Lent begins just 5 weeks from today.

Therefore, it’s time to start brainstorming. Do you have any ideas you filed away last year, hoping to bring them out this time? Any germs of new ideas? Do you usually do a series, follow the lectionary, try to find a theme for the season? Will you have special worship environment (the fancy way of saying “decorating”) needs? Multi-media? Extra services?

Perhaps you’ll follow the Old Testament readings on the theme of God’s providing. Or on remembering what God has done and looking forward to what God is doing. Or maybe you’ll follow the gospel readings on the theme of Jesus’ encounters with various people, or on his inscrutability (everyone seems confused in these readings!).

Maybe this year you want to explore the idea of living in God’s house, using the psalms…along with a class on praying the psalms, maybe, or a midweek prayer service series that prays through the psalms like the monks (well, okay, probably not all 150, but still…).

Whatever your ideas, and however formed or un-formed they may be just now, drop a line in the comments so we can create together! Imagine the worship possibilities when all our spirit-filled comments start bouncing around off one another?


Question: would you like to have a Lent-idea-storming chat? We can do text chat or video. Would that be helpful to you?

looking ahead: Advent

Yeah, I know–it’s not even Halloween, so why is LiturgyLink jumping on the Christmas decoration bandwagon too??

Well, okay, the Advent Wreath bandwagon.

Because it takes time to get ready, of course!

So–what are you thinking for Advent this year? Will you do a series or  a theme, or just preach the lectionary? Perhaps focus on characters of the Christmas story, or preach the prophets, or spend the whole season in the first chapter of Luke, or organize worship around the genealogies, or your favorite Advent carols?

Will you sing Christmas carols during Advent? Why or why not?

What mood are you hoping to strike?

What visuals might come into play? Any rituals?

And, of course, the Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy…we have a few in the archives here, but we can always use more, so let’s write one together!

I know it’s cheesy, and I know I apply this in exactly zero other areas of my work and life, but seriously: when you plan ahead, it makes December so much less stressful. So what are you thinking?

brainstorming: Reformation and All Saints

Pretty soon we come up on a set of Sundays that some of us celebrate while others of us go on with the usual ending-days-of-the-lectionary.

Some of us will be celebrating Reformation Sunday on October 28–commemorating the 95 theses and other catalysts of reformation in our church’s history. How might you be both remembering/celebrating and looking at how we are Reformed and always being reformed?

Some of us will be observing All Saints Sunday the following week. In some churches that involves reading out the names of those who’ve died in the past year, or other pieces here and there. How will you help us remember our place in the Communion of Saints, as well as the place of those who have gone on ahead?

And in the midst of all of this, many of us will also be contemplating Stewardship Commitment sunday(s). How are you inviting people to commitment? How will you dedicate their pledges, offerings, and commitment to sharing? Does stewardship commitment go beyond a monetary pledge, or is the fall season only for thinking about money? In either case, how will you invite, encourage, dedicate?

Leave your ideas in the comments, because together our efforts produce so much more than any of us alone!

brainstorming: incorporating children in worship leadership

This week the gospel text includes one of those saying of Jesus about welcoming children. While we know that this is primarily a socio-political statement, we also know that it’s important to encourage children to worship with the community and to learn to take on various roles in worship–it’s good for them and for the rest of us too.

So…what are some ways you incorporate young people into the worship life of your congregation?

And what are some liturgical ideas for bringing up the importance of being led by young people? (to get your creative juices flowing, here’s a call to worship from contributor Stephanie Anthony.)


Looking Ahead: Summer Worship

It’s only the beginning of May, but this means that summer is around the corner. WOW! Usually this means that life in the church slows down a bit, and worship often takes some different forms. Sometimes it means a special sermon series or even a very different structure for worship.

What are you thinking about for the summer? Do you have ideas to share to make worship more interesting and relevant through these quieter months? What about special liturgies that highlight the summer season? Share your thoughts, and let’s create together!

Looking Ahead: Pentecost

I know, I know, Easter isn’t even over. But it’s time to start looking ahead to the next big day, especially as it presents some unique challenges!

Pentecost this year is May 27…Memorial Day Weekend. How might that affect your planning?

Many people celebrate confirmation on Pentecost–is that in your plan?

Here it’s also graduation weekend, which throws a wrench into anything we might want to do that involves families.

Not to mention the theme, decorating, and volunteer need potential!

Will you focus on wind? fire? languages? prophecy? preaching? conversion? baptism? a generic “holy spirit” idea? Some particular aspect of the story? the church’s-birthday?

What are you thinking about for this special day? How can we create worship that will help people experience the Holy, enter the story, and leave ready to be like Peter and the other apostles?

Ready, set, create!