Christmas Sunday & Epiphany Resources

Many of us are still in the thick of Advent 4 and Christmas Eve preparations so I’d like to share some resources and inspiration that might make your life easier and allow you to have some rest post Christmas.

Cookies & Carols Worship Sunday, Dec. 29 at 10am

For Christmas Sunday, we traditionally hold a Christmas carol hymn sing. This year we’re calling it Cookies & Carols and encouraging relaxed attire (PJs even!). We’ll be worshiping in our social hall so we can enjoy our cookies, cocoa, and coffee while we sing. It will be a standard worship service for us with a hymn sing in place of the sermon. But I up the ante a little and ask everyone to answer a question as they make their hymn request. This year’s question will be: What is the best gift you received this year, for Christmas or at any point through the year? 
We’ll start the service with Joy to the World, read Luke 2:25-38, sing Spirit-Child Jesus from Worship & Song #3062, and close with Go, Tell It on the Mountain in the United Methodist Hymnal #251. It’s a wonderful, relaxed service that doesn’t require a sermon! (yay!)

For Epiphany this year, I’m tying in the new year/new decade to think about what unexpected places God is leading us, just as the magi were led to return home by a different route. We’ll be using the traditional magi scripture Matthew 2:1-12. Our music director made the discovery that the song Shine (Heaven Let Your Light Shine Down) by Collective Soul is actually the perfect Epiphany song! We’ll be singing it as a praise song. I also came across this perfect Epiphany poem just today:
Those Hours by Joyce Sutphen

There were moments, hours even,
when it was clear what I

was meant to do, as if
a landscape had revealed itself

in the morning light.
I could see the road

plainly now, imagining myself
walking towards the distant mountains

like a pilgrim in the old stories—
ready to take on any danger,

hapless but always hopeful,
certain that my simple belief

in the light
would be enough.

star wordsIt’s become tradition at my church that on Epiphany everyone receives a Star Word (a word to guide your year written on a star shaped paper). It’s been really fun to see what words people get, how it plays a role in their year, and how it might guide them. I give them to the kids first during children’s time and then have the kids pass them out during the first hymn. We pray over them and then just choose them at random. I encourage everyone to take it home and put it somewhere they’ll see it every day. Follow these links for a list of suggested words and more information about Star Words.

Finally, here is a Call to Worship I adapted and used for Epiphany last year (updated for 2020):
Call to Worship (adapted from Rev. Andy Bryan)

God, we come to worship in this new year hoping it will be better.
Guide our thinking and doing and help us remember:
2019 will be kinder,
if I am kinder.
2019 will be more compassionate,
if I show more compassion.
2019 will be less anxious,
if I offer more grace.
2019 will be more just,
if I advocate for more justice.
2019 will be less contentious,
if I speak more gently.
2019 will be less violent,
if I more actively work for peace.
2019 will be more loving,
 if I demonstrate love more freely.
Guide us by your Light,
that we may bring your Light to the world.

I know there are lots of great Christmas & Epiphany resources out there so feel free to share your favorites as well! Hopefully in our sharing we can help make worship planning easier for us all during this busy time of year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Planning!

Maundy Thursday Taize Worship

Maundy Thursday is my favorite worship service of the Christian year! Yes, for me it even tops Christmas Eve and Easter. Jesus knew this was his last chance to show his friends God’s Truth and he does not disappoint! Teaching us what love is, giving us a new covenant open to everyone, sharing one last blessing with those he loved even though he knew they would soon desert him… that’s the good stuff.
This year, we used a Taize style worship for Ash Wednesday and it was so well received we decided to do it again for Holy Thursday. We’ll be holding this worship service around tables in our Community Room with candles and Communion elements on each table. The service includes the song By My Side from Godspell and a poem/reflection on Jesus’ foot washing by Rev. Carol Ferguson.

Download the PDF worship outline here: Maundy Thursday Taize Worship 2019

There’s more Holy Week resources coming.. I’ll be sharing our Good Friday prayer stations soon! Check out my Easter Sunrise worship and be sure to subscribe!

Happy (almost) Holy Week! May the odds be ever in your favor!Related image

Communion Liturgy of Poetry & Song

wildgeeseI recently had the rare joy of attending a worship service where my friend and colleague Rev. Rachel Morse introduced us to a beautiful simple song she had us use as a sung response throughout the liturgy. When I found out it was based on a Wendell Berry poem I loved it even more!

So thanks to Rachel’s inspiration and because April is National Poetry Month, I created another Communion Liturgy using Rev. Amy McCreath’s song, What we need is here that was inspired by the closing line of Wendell Berry’s poem, “The Wild Geese.”

Click here to download the PDF for a Communion Liturgy of Poetry & Song

As Holy Week nears, I’m planning to share a Maundy Thursday Taize service as well as Good Friday prayer stations! Be sure to click the follow button below to subscribe so you don’t miss any of that resource-y goodness!
And be sure to check out my resources from years past for a Kids’ Easter Vigil script, a Palm Sunday Responsive reading (sermon alternative!), and a fun little Easter Sunrise service!

Happy Holy Week Planning!

Hanging of the Greens Worship

hanging-of-the-greens-2017-webThis year, I’m excited to be bringing back the tradition of a Hanging of the Greens worship service. Whether your church dedicates a Sunday service to this tradition every year or you’re looking to give it a try, I’m happy to share an order of worship that explains aspects the season of Advent as well as our traditional decor.

Feel free to use or adapt this service to your congregation’s needs. (click below to download the PDF)
Hanging of the Greens Worship Order – Rev. Turnpenny

I’m also excited about our Advent series this year which I will be sharing here soon, so be sure to subscribe!

Happy planning!

Easter Sunrise Worship

 

 

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Need a Sunrise worship service? Look no further! This is a short, simple, and fun Easter sunrise worship service. Music can be done with guitar, piano, or a cappella. I have loved sharing Cynthia Rylant’s poem every year but the best part is ending the service with a rousing rendition of Joy to the World! (Trust me, it works. And it’s awesome!)

Download the bulletin PDF here: Easter Sunrise Worship (print doubled sided and cut in half)

Click here for the poem God Dies by Cynthia Rylant.

Blessing for a joyful Resurrection Day!