Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes

Answer  |  RISE UP! 

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

This week and next, the color is green.
Colors on February 11 (Transfiguration) are white and gold.
Beginning Ash Wednesday (February 14), the color is purple.    

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

March 2         World Day of Prayer
March 11       UMCOR Sunday
                       Daylight Saving Time Change Song (Spring) (USA)
March 25      Passion/Palm Sunday
                      Holy Week Series Begins
March 29      Maundy/Holy Thursday
March 30      Good Friday
March 31      Holy Saturday (until Sundown)
                      Easter Eve/Easter Vigil (after Sundown)

April 1           
Easter Day
                      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. 

For your Planning Team

Planning This Service

It’s week four, now thoroughly “mid-series” in this six-week season. The core task mid-series is to sustain the series energy and and continue to develop the thematic thread. Energy always matters, but mid-series (last week and today), it’s development of the theme that tends to matter more.

Last week’s theme was about us doing something we may often find ourselves called to do — MOVE — especially as we think about how we will come alongside people learning the ways of discipleship with us and from us during Lent in their preparation for baptism at Easter. This week, however, focuses not so much on us as on God, and more specifically on reminding us that we have a God who answers us, and answers us profoundly. We need the encounter with God’s answering, regularly. The hope for us is that we may become better answerers to God and toward one another in so doing. But the encounter with the God who answers is primary.

That’s why testimony followed by prayer aloud together is the heart of the response movement in this service. It won’t do simply to talk about other people’s experiences of the God who answers in the sermon. You need the living witness of folks among you, from their mouths (or hands, for those who use American Sign Language).  Plan for two or three such testimonies as part of today’s service. And assign team members to work with those who will offer them so they are brief (2-3 minutes each, max), clear, and to the point-- not just on the page (if they are written), but in their presentations. This will mean you need to schedule live rehearsals in the worship space for each speaker the night before, and the day of, the service. You may find video to be a better way of helping to capture these stories than live presentation-- and that’s fine. Just be sure the quality of the video, both picture and sound, is consistent from one presenter to another, and that you have run it beforehand so you know the appropriate sound and lighting needed for all to see and hear it well.

Additional Resources for this Service

2014 Planning Helps for these readings »

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