Fourth Sunday of Easter 2018 — Planning 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

April 8           
Easter Series Begins
April 15        
Native American Ministries Sunday
April 22         Festival of God’s Creation
April 25         World Malaria Day

All Month       Christian Home Month (2018 Theme: Families Called to Peace, forthcoming)
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
May 3              National Day of Prayer
May 4              May Friendship Day (UMW/CWU)
May 7-13        
Christian Family Week (2018 resources forthcoming)
May 10            
Ascension Day
May 13            Ascension Sunday
                        Festival of the Christian Home/Mother’s Day (USA)
May 19-20      
Change the World Weekend
May 20           Day of Pentecost
                       Heritage Sunday (forthcoming)
May 24           
Aldersgate Day
May 27           Trinity Sunday
                       Peace with Justice Sunday
May 28           Memorial Day (USA)

Pray for annual conferences convening throughout the month, for all receiving new appointments or assignments, for those leaving existing appointments or assignments, and for congregations and other ministries receiving new leadership.
June 3          June Worship Series Begins: “Transitions”
June 17        Father’s Day (USA)
June 19        
Juneteenth (USA)

July 1           July Worship Series Begins: “Healing Hands”
July 4           Independence Day (USA)

All Month     Back to School Resources
August 5      August Worship Series Begins: “Life Together”

All Month         Season of Creation (2018 Discipleship/UMCom Series coming soon)
September 3    Labor Day (USA)
September 15-
October 15       
Hispanic Heritage Month (USA)

October 6       October Series in Job (in development)   
World Communion Sunday
October 14     Children’s Sabbath
October 21     Laity Sunday (2018 Resources forthcoming)
October 31     Reformation Day

November 1      All Saints Day
November 4      All Saints Sunday
                           Daylight Saving Time Ends (USA)
                           A Season of Saints (2018 Resources Forthcoming)
November 11    Organ and Tissue Donor Sunday
                          International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
                          Veterans Day (USA)
                          Extended Advent Begins
November 18   Bible Sunday
November 18-25    National Bible Week (USA)
November 22    Thanksgiving Day (USA)
November 25    Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday
                           United Methodist Student Day (offering)


For Your Planning Team

In the Series

Today’s series finale also functions as segue into the next series, “And in the Power of the Holy Spirit.” With this new series also comes the start of formation groups to help persons discern their gifts for ministry and the ministry/ministries into which they may be commissioned at Pentecost. You may even want to begin those groups this week, before next Sunday. We commend using DIY Tools for Spiritual Gifts Discernment and Ministry Deployment as guide for each session.

So today end this series well, with confident, bold celebration of Christ’s power to save at work in and around you. The opening action of this service and the prayer for illumination highlight persons who have experienced God’s saving love within your congregation during the past year. If you have fewer than three persons in these categories since this time last year, move the timeframe back until you have at least three. Be sure to invite these persons to be in worship today, and note they’ll be recognized at the opening of worship. This could be a good opportunity to call and visit with newer members who have not been in worship lately and help them reconnect. Note I said “call and visit.” Ministry with persons who have become inactive is one on one work, not through social media, email blasts or newsletters, or the US Mail. Call, visit, initiate the connection from your side, and see what response may be possible for them at this time. You are not in charge of their response. You are in charge of making sure there is an appropriate point of reconnection and invitation.

The music and language in the ritual provided for this service already creates a bit of a segue to the next series. Be sure to highlight the upcoming series, “And in the Power of the Holy Spirit” through multiple means in worship and throughout the coming week. And be sure your formation group leaders are ready, eager, and scheduled to work with those they may see starting next week.

Additional Resources for this Service

2015 Planning Helps for these readings »

Ecumenical Prayer Cycle: (Click link to find countries for this week when they are posted)