AN ORDER FOR THE LEAVE–TAKING OF A CHURCH BUILDING
This order is intended to be used within the final service of worship held in a church building or sanctuary that is about to be razed or that is hereafter to be used for other purposes. The service as a whole should follow a pattern familiar to the congregation, with this order concluding the service. If the service begins in an old building or sanctuary and continues with a procession to a new building or sanctuary and a service there, this order should immediately precede the procession. If this order is being used by a congregation that is disbanding, the italicized words within brackets  and An Order for Disbanding a Congregation may be added.
Included in the bulletin or in the earlier portions of the service may be:
1) A brief history of the congregation and of its building(s)
2) Reminiscences by members of the congregation
3) A listing of former pastors and leaders
4) Greetings from former pastors, some of whom may be present and participating in the service
LITANY OF THANKSGIVING *
Blessed be the name of God,
whose Word has long been proclaimed within this hallowed place.
R We give you thanks, O God.
As generations have prayed their prayers and sung your praises here,
your Spirit has blessed countless worshipers. R
We have celebrated the Lord's Supper here
and been nurtured by it through our journey in faith. R
We have rejoiced here as believers have confessed faith in Christ. R
Here we have baptized our children and mourned our dead. R
As new families have been created through marriage,
we, our parents, and our children have vowed at this altar
to love, honor, and cherish always. R
From within these walls many have gone out to serve you in the world. R
As we go now from this house into a further journey of faith,
we give you thanks, O God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
HYMN * Suggested from UMH:
563 Father, We Thank You 102 Now Thank We All Our God
565 Father, We Thank You 393 Spirit of the Living God
92 For the Beauty of the Earth 558 We Are the Church
As this hymn is sung, the Bible, sacramental vessels, cross, and other objects may be removed from their places in the chancel and held by designated persons until they are carried out during the recessional hymn.
A statement may be made regarding the disposition of the pulpit, Lord's table, baptismal font, and other furnishings that cannot be carried out during the recessional hymn.
[DECLARATION OF DECONSECRATION]
The bishop or bishop's representative (who may be the pastor) may say:
having been consecrated
and named the Name United Methodist Church,
together with the land on which it stands and all objects remaining in it,
we now deconsecrate and release for any honorable use.
We declare that it is no longer
the place of meeting of a United Methodist congregation.
If the congregation is disbanding, a Declaration Disbanding the Congregation immediately follows the Declaration of Deconsecration.
A response such as Tino tenda Jesu (United Methodist Book of Worship, Hymn 203) or Shalom to You (UMH 666) may be sung.
CLOSING PRAYER *
O God, as in your great goodness
you have blessed the many ministries carried on
by this congregation in this building,
so, now and in the days and years to come,
we pray that you may greatly bless your many ministries
in your ongoing Church.
Bless those persons who have worshiped in this building,
and will now be worshiping
in their new building (in other congregations and other buildings).
As disciples of the risen Christ,
may we be channels at all times of your steadfast love;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
RECESSIONAL HYMN Suggested from UMH:
671 Lord, Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing 664 Sent Forth by God's Blessing
117 O God, Our Help in Ages Past
See also other hymns.
GOING FORTH *
If the congregation is moving to a new building nearby, the procession begun during the Recessional Hymn may continue to the new building, where there may be an opening service of worship.
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Copyright: “An Order for the Leave–Taking of a Church Building and An Order for Disbanding a Congregation” Copyright © 1992 UMPH.