Sixth Sunday of Easter — Planning Notes

May 21, 2017 (Year A) | Becoming One with Each Other
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

Becoming...One With Each Other
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.   

All Month        Christian Home Month
                        Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
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: Becoming...One With Each Other

In this second service of a series, the focus is starting from where you began last week and taking this service toward the week to come. Since this series, in effect, has four services, the second and third weeks function more like a plateau, with a final hike up the mountain happening on week four (Pentecost).

The service this week and next maintains the same approach to the entrance, the reading of Scripture, and the sermon (seated at the dining table) as last week’s and adds an element suggested both by the departure of one of the disciples in the wider context of the reading and the time of the year in the US. We are in the midst of “graduation season.” While you may use this part of the service on any week you find it most helpful in your setting, it is particularly appropriate today. Even as folks may leave us to continue education or find work elsewhere after completing education, we are still made one with them in Christ, and our role is not merely to say farewell, but to send them where they’re going as sisters and brothers in Christ to find faithful ways to live out their discipleship and a community of faith to support them there.


Rehearse the actions around the table (people coming to it, reading, placing cross, leaving) with your musicians and those coming to the table. The specific actions are somewhat different this week than last.

Also rehearse the actions of the graduates and families coming to the front and assembling for the prayer, as well as the action of giving each graduate a small gift after the prayer. Pastor, you will want an assistant to hold and give you the gifts or distribute the gifts. This will prevent you from fumbling with gifts plus your worship order and keep everything flowing smoothly. This rehearsal may be done shortly before the service begins.  

Today is Heritage Sunday in The United Methodist Church. This is noted particularly in the act of sending for graduates. This year’s theme, “Milestones: Calling Local Churches to Discover and Celebrate Their History,” may be better suited for a display and perhaps a program in your fellowship hall or Sunday school classes than in worship today. 

Additional Resources

2014 Planning Helps for The Sixth Sunday of Easter

Ecumenical Prayer Cycle: Malawi, Zambia

Categories: Year A, Sixth Sunday of Easter - May 21, 2017