Second Sunday of Easter — Planning Notes

April 23, 2017 (Year A) | Awakening to Ministry
by Taylor Burton-Edwards

Order of Worship Preaching Hymns Music  Planning Formation Groups 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 Ministry
Colors are white or gold, and flowers may continue to abound today and throughout the Great 50 Days of Easter Season until its final celebration on Pentecost, when the colors are red.   

April 23           Festival of God’s Creation
                        New Series Begins: Easter Season (through Pentecost)
April 25           World Malaria Day
April 30           Native American Ministries Sunday

All Month        Christian Home Month
                        Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
May 4              National Day of Prayer (USA)
May 5              May Friendship Day
May 8-14         Christian Family Week
May 14            Festival of the Christian Home/Mother’s Day (USA)
May 21            Heritage Sunday
May 24            Aldersgate Day
May 25            Ascension Day
May 28            Ascension Sunday (if transferred)
May 29            Memorial Day (USA)

June 4            Day of Pentecost (Easter Season Concludes)
June 11          Trinity Sunday, Peace with Justice Sunday
                       New Series Begins: TBA
June 18          Father’s Day (USA)
June 19          Juneteenth

July 4            Independence Day

All Month          Season of Creation (2017 resources forthcoming)
September 4   Labor Day (USA)
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)


For Your Planning Team: Ministry

Today marks the kickoff of the first of two three-week miniseries. “Awakening...” focuses on the meaning and grounding of ministry, Holy Communion, and baptism. The second miniseries, “Becoming…”, starts in three weeks and focuses on claiming our spiritual gifts and callings and becoming one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world in the name of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. Easter season culminates with Pentecost and a service of commissioning persons into the ministries to which they have discerned they are called.

Be sure to use today to draw attention to the weeks coming ahead, particularly in this miniseries. In effect, you’ll have three “launch Sundays” during the Easter Season. The first was last Sunday, launching the entire season. The second is today, launching this miniseries in particular. The next will be in three weeks, launching the second miniseries.

So remember these three keys to an effective series launch.

1. Start strong.  Strong doesn’t necessarily mean loud or even upbeat. It means compelling. Our order of worship today begins with lights dimmed and images of doors shut and locked. Whether you choose the modern worship song or the Africana hymns, the opening songs reinforce the awareness of doubt, fear, trouble, and wonder. The intention in visual effects and in music is to help the congregation connect in a sensory way with the fear the disciples felt as they locked themselves into an upstairs room just before Jesus appeared to send them into ministry.

2. Offer an overture in some way, something that lays out the theme and previews the journey ahead. You might do that today in onscreen announcement sets shown before and after worship, or in your bulletin, calling attention to it in pre-worship announcements. Your prelude might also include musical cues from the services coming up.

3. Articulate the series promise. The series promise for this miniseries fulfills one of the two ancient purposes for Easter Season: doctrinal formation of the newly baptized. This series in particular will help the newly baptized and the whole congregation become more deeply grounded in what it means to be in ministry, to live out our baptismal calling, and to celebrate Holy Communion together.

Additional Resources

2014 Planning Helps for The Second Sunday of Easter

Ecumenical Prayer Cycle: Djibouti, Somalia

Categories: Year A, Second Sunday of Easter - April 23, 2017