When each person is exercising her gift, she becomes an initiating center of life.
When we confirm a person’s call to this segment of the Church, we say by that
confirmation that we will be instruments in calling the person forth in her totality.
The one who joins assumes that same responsibility for all the other members of the
community. This covenant is implicit in the celebration of commitment of each new
The Church of the Holy Spirit is full of variety. Sameness and conformity are the
demands of alien spirits. No gift is unimportant. There are no lesser gifts.
Each is crucial to the proper functioning of the Body; each contributes to the rich
diversity needed by the Church for its work within the total organism of humanity.
–N. Gordon Crosby, quoted in "Eight Day of Creation" by Elizabeth O’Connor
Examples of Visual Whole Liturgy from Fragments:
Place various colored sticky notes in bulletins and invite people to record a prayer. Design a time and place in worship where they may either post them in a spontaneous pattern or collect them in baskets and have someone create a pattern with the colors. (Perhaps on a wall behind the altar, to the side, or on a board in front of the altar)
Materials-3 large pieces of black foam core, 3 pieces of white poster board, heavy duty wide tape, assorted magazines (news type will be the most useful), white glue or double sided tape, glue sticks, scissors if desired. Heavy string or other hanging material to suit your site.
1. Rip or cut photos of faces from magazines. (The edges, smooth or ripped, will create different aesthetics).
2. Tape foam core on the backside to form a large cross.
3. Tape or glue poster board to foam core, leaving a 4-inch border. (Adjust border size to aesthetic of your setting). Alternate: You can cut the black foam core to superimpose a “frame” on the poster board. This creates dimension.
4. Use glue sticks to create a collage of faces on the poster board. Fill entire poster board, overlapping to cover white areas. Allow some to extend over the poster board edge and trim them flush. This gives a sense of a sea of faces extending beyond the viewer’s sight.
5. Ask (aloud or in print form). “For whom did Jesus die?”
Note: If you have gathered faces without editing for personal preference, this should create some challenging encounters.
If the sanctuary in which you worship has a Christmas tree, during Advent you can choose a symbol related to that year’s scripture: Stars, Angels, mangers, etc…Place a cut out in each bulletin and invite people to record a prayer for the season.
You might also choose a symbol related to your church’s current mission and ministry, such as hearts and hands, and record a gift to Jesus. “I will use my hands to……” “I will open my heart to……”
Examples of Verbal: Whole Liturgy from Fragments
1. Read the Psalm or other SCRIPTURE in Spirit guided fragments.
The gathered people wait as the Spirit moves one to read a word or phrase then waits for another to read the next word or phrase. Prepare people to expect that words will overlap, sometimes the words will be read by one, other times by a few or by many simultaneously.
2. Turn “ANNOUNCEMENTS” into liturgy. “The Work of God, for the People of God.”
3. Create space in liturgy for people to name what they bring. For example: In the Great Thanksgiving, “It is right and an good and joyful thing always and everywhere to give thanks to you, O God….”
Note: many churches practice this in prayer. ”Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.”
A. Adapt a simple hymn
Ex: I’m going to work/sing/walk/paint/dance so God can use me)
B. Choose a simple refrain to connect fragments of spoken prayer or insight.
Ex: There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place…..
5. TWITTER: Ask people to bring their smart phones.
Project tweets responding to an open sentence such as, “Water is…….”
6. Preachers can collect initial reactions or questions at the start of a series or biblical exegesis.
7. Preachers can invite answers to scripture based questions. For ex:
Matthew 28:16-20 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 1When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
What doubts might you have if you were one of the eleven?
How do you imagine they might have worshipped him?
What would it be like to worship Jesus face to face?
What “nation” is Jesus sending you to?
What commandments would you include in your teaching?
Example of Multi-Sensory Liturgy From Fragments:
RIBBONS: Dancing to music, written prayer fragments, woven banner or altar cloth.
Memorial Re-membering of BAPTISM (gathering the body) Gather by a lake or pond, or fill a large container with water (people could bring water from sources near them). Cut 2” squares of coated paper and have ready to hand out (or include in bulletin). Ask people to write the name of someone they remember from the Body of Christ and a word that describes how they embodied one of God’s gifts to the world (peace, patient, challenge, generosity, humor, etc….) Float the papers on the water. Option, at night, add floating candles.
Remember Copy Right!
Approaches to copyright and licensing are moving in two opposite directions.
1. Tighter regulation of copyright.
2. Open use, or creative commons material.
Err on the side of caution.
1. Respecting another’s creative work is the right thing to do.
2. You and the church are in a legally vulnerable situation if you ignore copyright issues.
New software makes it very easy to search unauthorized use of word, image or music.
You may be sent a bill for use of unauthorized material.
Where to go to learn:
www. UMCOM.org (United Methodist Communications)
http://budgetstockphoto.com/free_stock_photos.html (lists sites for images)
Incorporate ongoing awareness of confidentiality as you lead your congregation in crafting liturgy and prayer. Here is a sample from the Readfield United Methodist Church’s prayer tree guidelines: Adapt the same intention and awareness in your liturgy creation.
There has been confusion about the legal situation local churches find themselves in when they pray for people either publicly, as in worship, or privately, as through prayer trees. Some congregations have gone so far as to stop making prayer requests public or requiring written permission to do so. These guidelines are intended to clarify our relationship with those we hold in prayer so that we may both respect their needs and participate in their healing as spiritual partners. They also reflect an awareness of issues raised in recent lawsuits across the country that highlight the private nature of many of our prayer concerns.
1. When you become aware of a need for prayer in our community ask for permission from the person to lift their need in prayer during worship or via the prayer tree (by calling A, B is her back-up). Make sure that you are clear whether they are giving permission for one, both, or neither. If neither, ask the person if you may lift them up in your personal prayers as an active expression of your caring for them.
2. If a request is made to send a prayer request through the prayer tree, ask whether this information should be treated as confidential by the prayer tree members.
3. When a prayer tree request comes to you, make sure you are clear about whether it is confidential or not and RESPECT THE INDIVIDUAL’S WISHES. Remember, the prayer tree is not an information line but a way to surround the person, their family and caregivers in a blanket of prayer.
4. If a request is made to lift up a concern in worship, ask the
person how we can best pray for them and what information
they are comfortable having known publicly. For example, If Mary’s daughter, Suzy Q, is undergoing cancer surgery, she might request: -
a. No public prayers.
b. Prayers for a little girl undergoing surgery (anonymous).
c. Prayers for Suzy Q (no details).
d. Prayers for Suzy Q as she undergoes surgery and treatment for cancer.
Any questions should be answered, “this is how the family requested we pray for them. I’ll let you know if there is more to be known.” Then do so! Some studies show that people who are prayed with and for have shorter recovery times!