Our Ordinary Order of Worship

Lan @ prayer station

Lan @ prayer station

 

We’re a group of people committed to journeys of discovering what following Jesus means in the emerging culture of today’s Australia.

One such commitment is to gather together through worship that is participatory, supportive of creativity, not afraid of questions and connected to the realities of our lives.

This worship prepares us to better follow Jesus in the world, serve the people we meet day by day, and to look for ways of making our society a better place for all people.

Community Prayers are about allowing others the chance to experience God and journey on their path along side others on their own spiritual path. We are a group of different people with different understandings of life and spirituality, brought together with a mutual interest in sharing that journey together. Services need to provide a space for without too many words.

We seek to curate open-ended spaces to this end and  facilitate the creativity and spirituality of the entire community in the liturgy (ie. work of the people).

Whilst the forms of our gatherings vary, the “ordinary order” of our community worship generally takes place at 4.30-6pm at 12 Brighton Street in Flemington and looks something like this:-

Ordinary Order of Worship

Opening Ritual

We acknowledge that we gather on the land of which the Wurundjeri people have been custodians from time immemorial. We honour this history and commit ourselves to care for the land with them. May our worship and our service be work for reconciliation with people and with our God.

(We say together…) Jesus, light of the world, we confess that you are here. Shine your light into the hidden places of our lives, and bring warmth to the cold places of our hearts. Amen. (silence while a candle is lit)

Call to Worship 

Meditation or Song/s… Celebrating Grace

We sometimes sing the refrain and read the Psalm of the week from the download tab at  Issac Everret’s The Emergent Psalter.

Prayer of Confession / Assurance of Grace/ Passing of the Peace 

passthepeaceKnowing the Word:  

Our tradition is to read one or more of the bible readings from the Revised Common Lectionary.  We usually read a verse each from the pew bibles.  We don’t mind awkward silences or people speaking over each other.  ‘Awkward’ is often true to the way the Word is heard or appropriated in our lives!

We value interaction. One of our mottos is ‘Questions allowed, Questions aloud allowed’ and we often leave time for this during or after any sermon or spoken presentation.

Sometimes we undertake a form of the ancient practice known as Lectio Divina

1. Lectio:

Hear The Word read aloud twice

2. Meditatio:

What is The Word for me? Voice words and phrases which stand out to you from the text aloud as a different way of hearing the word.

3. Oratio:

What does The Word make me want to say to God or to others? You are invited to make a statement or prayer.  Sometimes the leader may shares quotes or thoughts on the passage from people throughout church history.

4.Contemplatio / Vocatio :

Rest in The Word. Silent reflection.What does The Word  call me do or be?

Response / Open Space / Eucharist 

After hearing the word we leave space for personal reflection and response.

Some sit quietly and listen whilst music is played.

On first and third Sunday’s our open space involves the ritualised use of the elements of a meal to remember and enter into the death of Jesus.  All are welcome to freely share in the bread and cup or to decline should our expression not be according to your tradition, understanding or dietary requirement.

People are invited to light candles at this time as a way to offer prayers for ourselves and others.  Some of us text blessings to friends or those in need of encouragement.

Opportunities to give financially to the work of the church are available at this time in the church’s offering bags.

Sometimes a ‘station’ based physical/creative response to the earlier ‘Call to Worship’ or ‘Prayer of Confession’ can also be invited during this time.

Concerns/News of the Community

Prayers for Others

say…Lord hear us  and we will respond,
Lord hear our prayer.

Benediction…

we say to each other…

You are God’s servants, gifted with dreams and visions
Upon you rests the grace of God like flames of fire.
Love and serve the Lord in the strength of the Spirit.
May the deep peace of Christ be with you,
The strong arms of God sustain you,
And the power of the Holy Spirit strengthen you in every way. Amen
. (Dianne Karray Tripp)

While we follow this pattern most Sundays, anyone can sign up to lead any segment. Creativity is encouraged and explanatory materials are available to guide those who lead below. Each week the flow of the service and environment of worship is in the hands of a worship curator who maintains the flow between the segments of worship.

We generally celebrate Communion/ Lords Supper/Eucharist on first and third Sundays in a brief form. (These are names given to the ritualised use of the elements of a meal to remember and enter into the death of Jesus). From time to time we will dispense with some of our usual order and gather around a meal. 

Also from time to time as a significant occasion in the Church Year comes around we may dispense with our usual order to focus more fully on a particular theme (eg. Pentecost or Lent.)

Below are notes to help you understand the different elements of the service.  They are largely sourced from the work of Mark Pierson author of ‘The Art of Curating Worship’ who has joined us at times when he has visited Melbourne.   You can get a taste of Mark’s thoughts here…

“The liturgy, therefore, wherever it has substance in the Gospel, is a living, political event. The very example of salvation, it is the festival of life which foretells the fulfillment and maturity of all of life for all of time in this time. The liturgy is social action because it is the characteristic style of life for human beings in this world.”

–William Stringfellow, Dissenter in a Great Soceity154.


C2W (Call 2 Worship)

Newmarket Baptist : notes for creating and curating worship

In her book Finding Words for Worship ( Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995.), Ruth Duck writes:

“instrumental music, visual art, and the architectural space create expectations for worship before any words are spoken. An opening hymn involves a congregation in praising God. The first spoken words also help to set the tone and express the purpose of corporate worship: forming and renewing our relationship with God and one another through acts of praise, prayer, proclamation and commitment.” (p62)

According to Duck, the call to worship has the function of raising the question “why are we here?”, and enables the congregation to acknowledge the presence of God among them.

At Newmarket, the first formal part of the service is a call to worship. There are many aspects to this ‘call’. On the one hand we invite God to be among us, which is not to say that God is not present until we start the service. Rather, we voice some hope or desire that our worship will enable for us a more intense awareness of God in our midst, and a hope that God will act to transform and renew us through the shared experience of the service.

As well, we call ourselves and each other to worship. We acknowledge that the service does not happen in isolation from the rest of our lives. We each arrive at church carrying within us the scramble of events and interactions and feelings that have been part of the rest of the week. When we call each other to worship, we do not require people to leave their real lives behind and to focus on God instead. Rather, we often take time to notice how we are feeling, and what issues we bring into the space. And then, assisted by the action or words chosen by the leader, we place those feelings and issues into the context of our shared faith, and hope for them to be stilled, stirred, or transformed through our encounter with God and each other.

In practical terms, the call to worship clearly demarcates the beginning of the service. People need to know that we’ve ‘started’. The call to worship should also signal the transition of consciousness from ‘normal’ life into a different experience of time and space. A suggestion for leaders of this part of the service:

‘Introduce yourself by name. Then offer a scripture reading, popular song, recorded music, reflection, video clip, poem, hymn, drama, piece of art, story, ritual action, or whatever… what you do should be clear and decisive in calling the congregation together to worship God’.

The call to worship normally includes, or is followed by, prayer for God’s presence and blessing for the rest of the service.

Examples of Calls to Worship  (these from Cityside Baptist, Auckland):

1. A reading from the section from The Last Battle by C.S.Lewis, where Aslan meets the young servant of Tash. (Gabrielle McClean)

2. Poem readings. These have included:

George Herbert – “Easter Wings”, “Love (2)”, “Prayer (1)”

Gerald Manley Hopkins, particularly “When Kingfishers Catch Fire”.

T.S. Eliot, mainly from Four Quartets.
John Donne, “What if this present were the world’s last night?” and other Holy Sonnets
Dylan Thomas “No Man Believes”, “ This bread I break”

Several prayers from the collection “God of a Thousand Names”.
Carmina Gadelica (great Gaelic poems collected in the islands of Scotland from old people in the 19th century, before they were lost forever – found in Gaelic and English translation): http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaidhlig/corpus/Carmina/

(Mike Reeves-McMillan)

Sourced from Mark Pierson’s Fractals: Alternative Resources for Worship in the Emerging Culture


PoC (Prayer of Confession & Reconciliation)

Newmarket Baptist Church: notes for creating and curating worship

It is rare to hear a prayer of confession in some church traditions. Moving from the safety of some well chosen and tried words such as those of the Anglican Prayer Book needs to be done very carefully. Ruth C Duck raises some interesting issues, to which we’ve added some of our own, that need to be considered by someone leading others in a prayer of confession.  (Finding Words for Worship, Louisville:Westminster John Knox Press, 1995, pages 70f)

1. Questions of the general and the specific – unison prayers need to be quite general if they are to be spoken honestly by the pray-ers, because people experience sin in different ways.

2. The challenge of liberation theologies not just to pray confessions but to commit to change – calling for justice and healing for the victims of sin.

3. The role of corporate confession on behalf not just of individuals but also whole churches and societies. ‘How does one write a unison prayer of confession, when oppressor and oppressed intertwine not only in one congregation, but often in one person, who may both suffer injustice and do injustice to others?’ (pp 71-72).

4. The use of phrases beginning with ‘if’ and ‘when’ honours the variety of the congregation members’ experience as not all statements will be true of all.

5. A time of silent reflection after some generalised ‘starter’ statements lets people explore their experience within guided parameters.

‘Writing prayers of confession for a given time or place calls for freshness of expression with loving sensitivity to the actual persons who will pray the prayer. When writing unison prayers of confession, picture the persons who will pray the prayer. Can they honestly speak it? Those who write prayers of confession also should take special care not to fall into the preaching mode.’ (page 76).

Forcing people to say things in prayer that they might not agree with is coercion rather than enabling dialogue on controversial issues.

Why confess? What’s the point of it? What does it achieve? Why has a formal confession been included in Newmarket’s Ordinary Order of worship?

– It’s not primarily a shopping list of deeds, although confession of specifics has its place. It’s rather a recognition of basic patterns or attitudes that block our spiritual growth.

– We’re trying to change views of what sin is, how it manifests in a life, how we feel about it, etc.

Some people don’t work within a sin/redemption framework as their main salvation concept. Others have rejected the way guilt feelings have been part of their experience of the Church’s manipulation of their emotions and responses. Some people’s ‘sin’ lies in a legacy of hurting themselves and making their own lives small rather than hurting any others. Promotion of self-care and affirmation is more important in this context that an exploration of ‘pride’ and ‘selfishness’ which are often considered to be the source of ‘sin’ in church confessions. (p. 71)

It is important for prayers of confession to include the announcement of God’s forgiveness and acceptance – not leaving people in acknowledgement of wrong  but leading out from it into hope and resolution. Our most usual pattern is a declaration based on 1 John 1: 9. I might say something like, ‘We thank you Lord that you have said that when we confess our sins you can be relied on absolutely to forgive us, and to remove their residue from our lives.’

Prayers of Confession at Newmarket Baptist Gatherings tend toward the specific rather than the universal, exploring a particular dimension of sin or damage rather than ‘sin’ generally. Over a period of time, a multitude of different perspectives and reflections on sin are developed, including perspectives that redefine sin in different ways. Some people take the idea of ‘confession’ positively, to mean that which is acknowledged or professed – an entering into a kind of truth and articulating something that is held to be of value. Others remind us that sin is also corporate and national.

Individual reflection is stimulated in different ways. Often, people find a kinesthetic dimension helpful, a physical action that acts out a sense of being freed from something, releasing something, being cleansed, leaving behind. Some examples of this are listed below.

We sometimes use the traditional sung ‘Kyrie Eleison’ (God have mercy…) as part of our confession.  It can be used in a variety of ways i.e. between segments or at the end of the full prayer

Some Scripture references that might be useful in a prayer of confession are:

Call to confession: Proverbs 28:13; Numbers 5:5-6; Isaiah 55:6-7; Jeremiah 3:12-13; Acts 17:30-31. Psalm 32:1-6.

Words of Forgiveness and Assurance of Forgiveness:

1 John 1:9; Isaiah 43:25, 44:22; Psalm 103:8-12; 2 Corinthians 5: 19,21; 2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17

The Mercy of God: Deuteronomy 32:10-12.

Sourced from Mark Pierson’s Fractals: Alternative Resources for Worship in the Emerging Culture

 


 

Prayers for Others

Newmarket Baptist : notes for creating and curating worship

At our Newmarket Gatherings Prayers for Others often coincides with Concerns of the Church. Although sometimes led by a different person, the concerns often overlap.  Sometimes we overlap these segments with someone sharing news or a concern finishing with “Lord hear us” to which all respond “Lord hear our prayer.”

We engage in prayers for others with the assumption that God is present and interactive within human lives. As a church, it is important for us to look outward from our own lives as individuals and focus on the places and situations, both far away and in the context of our community, where we desire to see God at work.

“The Quest for the Male Soul” by Martin W. Pable (Ave Maria Press, 1996, p131) has a definition of prayer as “any act whereby we consciously attend to the presence of God within or around us”. Prayers for others is about consciously attending to the presence of God in the context of our concerns for a people, place, or event.

As Derek Christensen from Cityside Baptist in Auckland puts it in his leading prayers: bringing others, in prayer, into our personal circle of relationship with God. The prayer doesn’t have to be verbal.

Prayers for others can take the form of drawing, visualising, lighting a candle, writing a name, planting a seed, etc.

‘Consciously attend’ is about heightened awareness, a renewed quality of attention to the needs of others, in whatever form that takes.

The segment leader may verbalise our prayers after hearing and listing them, we may all pray in silence, items may be read out for a verbal response, or some kinesthetic response may be used.

It’s often important for people to speak to the gathered church about the item they bring for prayer – just naming the issue has a valuable effect for some people, and sometimes the ‘answer’ to the prayer resides in the offers of assistance that might arise from the congregation as a result of hearing a need. For some, hearing another person frame their concern as a worded prayer to God is important. The scope of prayers for others is not just the needs raised in the congregation, but includes national, international, and community issues that are significant to the people present.

Kathleen Norris writes about this aspect of a church service in her book ‘The Cloister Walk’ (Lion Publishing, Oxford. 1999. pp 294-296). Many of the things she mentions resonate with our experience at Seeds.

“At the worship services of Hope and Spencer there’s a time after the sermon and before the Lord’s Prayer, in which people are asked to speak of any particular joys they might wish to share with the congregation, or concerns they want us to address in our communal prayer on that Sunday and also to pray over during the coming week.  It’s an invaluable part of our worship, a chance to discover things you didn’t know: that the young woman sitting in the pew in front of you is desperately worried about her gravely ill brother in Oregon, that the widower in his eighties sitting across the aisle is overjoyed at the birth of his first great-grandchild…

It’s useful news as well; I’m one of many who makes notes on my church bulletin; so and so’s in hospital; send a card, plan a visit. Our worship sometimes goes into a kind of suspended animation as people speak in great detail about the medical condition of their friends or relatives. We wince; we squirm; we sigh; and it’s good for us. Moments like this are when the congregation is reminded of something that all pastors know; that listening is often the major part of ministry…

I sometimes feel that these moments are the heart of our worship. What I think of as the vertical dimension of Presbyterian worship – the hymns… the bible readings… the sermon… – finds a strong and (necessary) complement in the localised, horizontal dimension of these simple statements of ‘joys and concerns’…”

Sourced from Mark Pierson’s Fractals: Alternative Resources for Worship in the Emerging Culture

 

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One thought on “Our Ordinary Order of Worship

  1. Pingback: The pastor as curator | Newmarket Baptist Church

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