Laity Sunday 2017 Planning Notes

Therefore GO! With HOPE through Hospitality

Overview Order of Worship Preaching Music Planning Additional Resources

Reading Notes

NRSV texts, artwork and Revised Common Lectionary Prayers for this service are available at the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.
Leccionario en Español, Leccionario Común Revisado: Consulta Sobre Textos Comunes.
Lectionnaire en français, Le Lectionnaire Œcuménique Révisé

Calendar Notes

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost (LAITY SUNDAY)
Habits of Hospitality, week 1: Offering Peace 

The color from now until Advent is green, with two exceptions: All Saints Day or Sunday (November 1 or 5)  and Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday (November 26).   

September 15-
October 15      Hispanic Heritage Month (USA)

All Month           A Season of Saints (2017 resources forthcoming)
October 1         World Communion Sunday
October 6-8     Children’s Sabbath (2017 resources forthcoming)
October 15       Laity Sunday (2017 resources forthcoming)
October 31       Reformation Day (500th Anniversary)

November 1
       All Saints Day
November 3       World Community Day
November 5       All Saints Sunday
                            Daylight Saving Time Change Song (Fall)
November 11     Veterans Day
November 12    Organ and Tissue Donor Sunday
                           International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
November 19    Bible Sunday (National Bible Week November 19-26)
November 23    Thanksgiving Day
November 26    Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday
                           United Methodist Student Day

December 1      World AIDS Day
December 3      Advent-Christmas Series (Year B) Begins (Forthcoming)
December 21    
Longest Night/Blue Christmas
December 24    Christmas Eve (evening)
December 25    
Christmas Day
December 26    Kwanzaa
December 31    Watch Night/New Year’s Eve


January 1        New Year’s Day/Holy Name of Jesus
January 7        Epiphany Sunday AND Baptism of the Lord
                         Season after Epiphany Series Begins (Forthcoming)
January 11      
Human Trafficking Awareness Day
January 14      Human Relations Day (Special Sunday with Offering)
January 15      
Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday
January 18-25 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 21      Ecumenical Sunday

All Month       Black History Month
February 11   Transfiguration of the Lord
                        Scouting Sunday

February 14   Ash Wednesday
                        Lent Series Begins (forthcoming)
February 19  
Presidents Day


In the Series

This week’s non-lectionary-based service for Laity Sunday launches a three-week miniseries, “Habits of Hospitality,” in which the succeeding two services are based on the Epistle readings from the Revised Common Lectionary.

Here’s a brief series overview.

Week One:    (Laity Sunday) Luke 10:1-9          Offering Peace

Week Two:    1 Thessalonians 1:1-10                 Welcoming All the People

Week Three: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8                   Sharing Our Authentic Selves

In this three-week series, the theme of each service builds on the theme of the one before. First, before anything else, and even before we actually meet others, we make it clear we come in peace and offer peace. Second, before we seek to share anything of our own gifts or agenda with others, we seek to welcome others and the gifts they bring into our lives. Finally, having welcomed others into our lives, we share ourselves.

This whole process involves perhaps a sense of dislocation and relocation for us in our congregations. As church leaders, lay or clergy, we may think of ourselves primarily as the hosts for newcomers. We think of others as wanting or needing to come to us, as if we have all the answers. And so we may have things backward of what Jesus is actually doing, both in this week’s reading from Luke and in his Great Commission. And we miss the important dynamic of Paul’s letters, where he writes to others of whom he has first been (or anticipates being) guest. We, like the disciples and Paul, are those who are SENT to others. WE are the outsiders. Those we meet are the hosts.

Keys to an Effective Series Launch

  1. Include an overture-- Find an effective way to preview or sample the key themes you’ll be exploring in the coming weeks of this series. The course of the songs for this service generally move in the direction of the three themes for this series. We begin by seeking the peace and presence of the Holy Spirit among us (Entrance). We then offer and seek welcome from all (music before the Scripture reading) and acknowledging our need for the gifts of others (“I Need You to Survive”). We conclude by asking the Spirit to send us out to share ourselves and Christ with others.
  2.  Use or introduce musical and/or visual threads you will continue to draw on throughout the series. With the overall series theme of hospitality, consider using all or parts of “Welcome” or “For Everyone Born” each week in different places in the service. This week, we suggest one of these function just before the reading of the Scripture, as a kind of prayer for illumination. Next week, it is the final song in the opening set. The final week, it is the song of sending.
  3. Start strong, with a plan to build on the first week in the second, and conclude in the third stronger than you began. Strong means confident, clear, and decisive. It need not (and often will not) mean “exciting” or even “impressive” (in terms or music or spectacle).

If you follow the advice above (1 and 2), you will have started this service and this series strong. Whether you celebrate Communion today or simply offer a significant prayer of thanksgiving in response to the offering, keep in mind that the role and timing of the sermon is only the first part of the “middle” of the service.

Scripture Reading

Jodi Cataldo, Director of Laity in Leadership, has chosen the NIV reading of today’s Scripture because of the language of “two by two,” as it echoes many children’s stories, like the animals in Noah’s ark, or the popular children's book Madeline. While you can easily have a single member of your congregation read the entire passage, one way to involve the diversity of your congregation is to involve seven leaders. One will serve as the narrator. The other six read as pairs. The first pair may be children or youth, as their part is very short and easy to remember. The second pair may be youth. The third pair may be adults or older adults. Show the diversity of your congregation, emphasizing that all are called to Go with H.O.P.E.!

Plan for time to practice the reading at least three times through the evening before and at least once the morning of the service. Everyone should feel comfortable in the chancel and worship space, especially children who may not be used to being worship leaders. The narrator may stand at a lectern or off to the side of the chancel. The pairs should stand shoulder to shoulder, lined up with the first pair in front. If your space requires a mic, a handheld mic may be given to the first pair and be handed back to the next pair after they speak their part. Each pair may move off to the sides after they speak, but not in a way that causes undue distraction from the process of reading itself.

If your readers are new to the task of reading Scripture in worship, remind them and help them to practice these simple principles in their reading. Read twice as loudly, half as quickly, and one or two steps lower in tone than if they were having a conversation with someone else. Remind everyone who is participating in worship to take deep breaths and speak slower than they usually do. This is not a long passage, and it will benefit from clear proclamation of the good news that the kingdom of God is near. 

A Note about Presiding

While this is Laity Sunday in The United Methodist Church, the special day does not change the work laity and clergy each do in the leadership and life of the church, established by both discipline and doctrine (This Holy Mystery).

Authorized presiders are clergy, whether ordained elders, provisional members preparing for ordination as elders and assigned to a particular local church, other denomination clergy functioning as local pastors or provisional members, licensed local pastors, or, in extraordinary circumstances, ordained deacons given authorization by the bishop to preside in their particular ministry setting.

A layperson or deacon may assist at the Lord’s Table by preparing the table, holding the liturgy book for the authorized presider, or leading intercessions if they are included within the Great Thanksgiving. The prayer is led by the authorized presider. It should not be divvied up among two or more presiders. 

Additional Resources for this Service

2014 Planning Helps for these readings

Ecumenical Prayer Cycle:  Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico

Categories: Worship, Worship Planning, Civil Observances, Laity Sunday, Laity Sunday

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