Baptism of the Lord 2019, Year C — Planning Notes

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Greater Things Worship Series: YOU ARE BELOVED
Baptism of the Lord — January 13, 2019

Calendar Notes

January
January 13   Baptism of the Lord
January 11   Human Trafficking Awareness Day
January 20   Human Relations Day
January 21   Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 18-25 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 20   Ecumenical Sunday

February
All Month       Black History Month
February 10   Scouting Ministries Sunday
February 18   Presidents Day (USA)

March
March 1        World Day of Prayer
March 3        Transfiguration of the Lord
March 6        Ash Wednesday, and Lent Begins
March 31      UMCOR Sunday
 

Planning for this Series

On this Baptism of the Lord Sunday, we are launching a new worship series. The series “Greater Gifts” starts with the Luke text today, and then follows the epistle readings from 1st Corinthians for the next three weeks. The title for this week is “You Are Beloved,” pulling from the language in John 3:22.

In 2016, Taylor Burton-Edwards noted that

 “Baptism of the Lord is one of the four named days in our Book of Worship recommended for celebrating services of the baptismal covenant (Easter, Pentecost, and All Saints are the others). See The United Methodist Book of Worship, 84.

“There are several options for liturgies you may use, depending on what you will be doing this day. If you are baptizing, reaffirming, and receiving new professing members, use Baptismal Covenant I as revised by the 2008 General Conference. If you are only reaffirming, use Baptismal Covenant IV as revised by the 2008 General Conference or the more interactive version celebrated at the 2008 General Conference (English, Spanish). And if you are baptizing infants or others not becoming professing members and reaffirming, but not receiving new professing members, you may use this adaptation of the 2008 General Conference service designed for persons not answering for themselves. And if there are some baptized persons whose sponsors have moved or died, and you need a way to bless new sponsors who take up this role today, use the appropriate additional material found in A Service of Reaffirmation for New Sponsors.”

So you may consider adding a reaffirmation of baptism to your liturgy today. Even if you do not add a liturgical aspect of baptism to your service, consider Burton-Edward’s advice regarding the worship space: “Be sure the font is visibly central in your worship, that it is full of water, that you use water abundantly either in baptism or reaffirmation of the baptismal covenant. If you have a Paschal Candle, light it today and place it by the font.”  You may decide to take a hymn focused on baptism or the gifts of the gathered community and make it a musical focal point for the series. Whatever you do, make it intentional and focused on the gifts of the church as the baptized body of Christ, before launching into the next series, #SeeAllThePeople, which is all about getting the people out of the church and into the community.