Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
August 3, 2008
Worship 10:00 am

300th Anniversary Celebration 

Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters…
(Isaiah 55:1a)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Call to Worship

*Hymn                        "Brethren, we have met to worship"                              8

*Opening Prayer

  Tercentennial Moment                     The First Brethren Baptism

  Hymn                               (vs. 1) "Move in our midst"                                 418

  Scripture                               Matthew 14:13-21

  Listening                                                     Congregational Discovery Team
            Invitation to Participate
            Quiet Time for writing
            Receiving our offering of words

  Hymn                               (vs. 2) "Move in our midst"                                 418

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory              (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

  Response                                (vs. 3) "Move in our midst"                                 418

  Sharing a joy, a concern, a word of testimony or praise
                                 (please be brief, and aware of God’s listening presence)

  Hymn                               (vs. 4) "Move in our midst"                                 418

  Pastoral Prayer

  Scripture                                    Isaiah 55:1-5

  Message                            "Come to the waters"

*Hymn                                    "Savior of my soul"                                      549

*Congregational Statement of Faith



#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

Come, you saints and sinners,
on this 300th anniversary of the church’s beginning.
Surrender yourselves to the glory of God.
         Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
         it will never know the fullness of life
         that God intends for all people.

Come, you who are faithful and doubtful.
Christ has lived, died, and risen
so that you may be transformed in his likeness.
         We offer ourselves,
         our hearts, souls, minds, and strength
         to the glory of God and our neighbor’s good.

Come, you who are wondering and waiting.
There is power in God’s spirit
to bear fruit for generations to come.
         The Spirit of God is upon us
         to bring good news to the poor
         and peace to all who are oppressed.

by Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm
from "Worship Resources for the 300th anniversary of the Church of the Brethren"


Opening Prayer

         Almighty God, we invite your presence in our worship today. We seek to enter into this worship experience with a spirit of surrender, with an openness to transformation, and with anticipation of empowerment to do your will. We pray in the name of Jesus the Christ, who modeled for us a life of surrender to God and a life empowered by the Holy Spirit. Oh, God, we praise and honor you now. AMEN

by Carol Spicher Waggy
from "Additional Worship Resources for the 300th anniversary of the Church of the Brethren"


Tercentennial Minute
The First Brethren Baptism

            Sunday, August 3rd, 2008, is the Sunday which is designated to celebrate the first Brethren baptism.  It was an act not only of faithfulness, but of great bravery, for it was illegal.

            Following the horrific religious wars of the 17th century, in which unspeakable atrocities were committed by Christians of several stripes in the name of Jesus, the Treaty of Westphalia established that there were only three official churches in the German states.  You were either Roman Catholic, Lutheran, or Reformed, and the choice was made for you.  You shared the same church as your local prince. If your prince changed churches, for economic or political reasons, you changed as well.

            Against this rather cynical backdrop there were those, known as Pietists, who believed that it was not the outward observances mandated by the state, but inward belief and practice according to the Bible, which made one a follower of Jesus.  Many of these Pietists continued to hold membership in the established churches, but some, including the eight who participated in the first Brethren baptism, decided that scripture gave them no choice but to separate from them.

            Writing sixty-six years later, Alexander Mack, Jr., son of the first Brethren minister, remembered how it had been described to him. “Finally in the year 1708, eight persons agreed together to establish a covenant of a good conscience with God, to accept all ordinances of Jesus Christ as an easy yoke, and thus to follow after their Lord Jesus – their good and loyal shepherd – as true sheep in joy or sorrow until the blessed end…..”

            The group decided that Alexander Mack, Sr., would perform the baptisms, but the question arose – who would baptize him? After prayer and fasting they decided to cast lots to determine this.

            Mack Jr., said, "They promised one another never to reveal who the first baptizer among them was, so that no one might have cause to call them by someone’s name.  They found such folly reprimanded already by Paul in his writing to the Corinthians.

            "After they were thus prepared, the said eight went out to the water called the Eder in the solitude of the morning.  The brother upon whom the lot had fallen, first baptized that brother who wished to be baptized by the church of Christ.  When the latter was baptized, he baptized him who had first baptized, and then the other three brethren and the three sisters.  Thus all eight were baptized in an early morning hour.  After they had emerged from the water, and had dressed themselves again, they were all immediately clothed inwardly with great joyfulness.

            "…This happened in the said year, 1708.  However, they have left no record of the month of the year, or the day of the month, or of the week."

            To this day we have no idea who performed the first Brethren baptism, nor when exactly it took place!  It is believed to have been later in the summer. The Brethren did not wish to be identified by anyone’s name – and since they believed they were restoring the first church, and not forming a new one, they did not take a name for their group.  Ultimately others named them according to their practice of baptism, Dunkers, and their close family relationship to each other, Brethren.

And that's the Tercentennial Minute for Sunday, August 3, 2008.

by Frank Ramirez, pastor of the Everett, PA Church of the Brethren
posted by permission                        
The Everett church graciously makes available these weekly vignettes from Brethren history
to all who are interested during this 300th anniversary year of our denomination.
Frank will be the guest preacher for our Homecoming on October 26, 2008
(this is our congregation's 100th anniversary year)

(led by Congregational Discovery Team)

                                   Invitation to Participate

In this morning’s gospel lesson, the disciples were faced with a dilemma. As they viewed the situation, there were too many people needing to be fed and too few resources with which to feed them. “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish,” they told Jesus. This was an honest assessment of the circumstances. Jesus did not reply, “O you of little faith, watch and learn.” He simply took what they had and made do. And it became enough.

            As we celebrate the 300th anniversary of our denomination and the 100th anniversary of our congregation, it is appropriate to honestly assess our own circumstances as we look to the future. Last month we opened some space during worship for listening. What do we do well as a church? What draws us to this church? What keeps us here? These were the questions to which you responded. Thank you.

            Today, we ask a different set of questions, all of them focused upon our growth areas as a church. It’s important that we honestly assess these as well. So, let me ask: What ministries or activities of our congregational life can be strengthened? What ministry, program, or activity doesn’t have the energy it once did, and you are willing to let it go? Which ministry, program, or activity do you hold as a priority for your time and energy?

            During the following quiet time, please write your responses to these 3 questions on the index card in your bulletin. The questions are listed on the overhead. Do not put your name on the card. When you are done, pass your card to the center aisle to be collected. On June 8th we met after worship in the fellowship hall to read over the responses in small groups and talk about them. We will follow the same format today. I hope you can stay, and enjoy the fellowship along with some refreshments.

            Now, would you prayerfully respond to the questions?           

                                    Quiet Time for writing
                                    Receiving our offering of words

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

            "Bring them to me." That's what Jesus told his disciples when they pointed out their limited resources in the face of a great need, saying: "We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish." Similar words have been spoken here lately as we have honestly assessed our own church finances. Of course, you know the rest of the story of the feeding of the 5,000. Whether told by Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, the result is the same. Jesus took what they had and made it more than enough. What was true then is true now. You have already offered your own assessment of our present circumstances as a church in your responses to the questions that were asked. Now is the time for putting your loaves and fishes in the plate, if you know what I mean. Before doing so, let’s pray.

            Thank you God for clear vision. The history of our church – our denomination as well as this congregation – is full of real loaves and fishes experiences. Not the candy-colored, back-in-the-good-old-days way of remembering, but rather times of honest wondering if there was enough to go around. The wonder of it all is that out of such times have often come some of the greatest miracles, as you have taken what we had and made it more than enough. In that spirit, we place our loaves and fishes in the basket today, and ask you to bless this offering. Amen.


Pastoral Prayer


written closer to the time (if not at the moment)


Congregational Affirmation of Faith

       In the circle of God’s compassionate love,
       we surrender our lives to our Creator,
              knowing and being known by the great “I Am,”
              accepting the grace offered day after day.
       Surrendered, we know God’s love.

       In the circle of Christ’s transforming power,
       we change our lives to follow the Son,
              repenting, turning toward a new way,
              following the one who calls us friends.
       Transformed, we know Christ’s power. 

       In the circle of the Spirit’s unifying peace,
       We open our lives to the wider world,
              reaching out to all who are called God’s children,
              giving, receiving in a world made one.
       Empowered, we know the Spirit’s unity.

by June Adams Gibble
from "Worship Resources for the 300th anniversary of the Church of the Brethren"



O God,
Open our wills
        that we may surrender ourselves to you;
Open our hearts
        that we may be transformed in Christ;
Open our spirits
        that we may be empowered by your Spirit.

by June Adams Gibble
from "Worship Resources for the 300th anniversary of the Church of the Brethren"


(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)


Interested in Sunday School?
Below is a growing list of possible sites to visit. As you discover others, please let us know.

International Lesson:
Faith and Life Resources
Mennonite Publishing House

International Lesson:
Mennonite Weekly Review

(scroll down on left to "Sunday School lessons)

International Lesson:
Christian Standard
(one week ahead)

International Lesson:
Living Web Sunday School Project

International Lesson:
Adult Bible Studies
from The United Methodist Publishing House
(click "supplemental resources" and "current events supplement" under both the "Student" and "Teacher" sections in the left hand column)

While one of our adult classes follows the International lesson above (see also), using
A Guide for Biblical Studies,
published quarterly by our denomination,
another class often uses one of the
Good Ground series,
also published by Brethren Press.

For children and youth, we use the new
Gather Round curriculum
(developed jointly by the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church)


©2008 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


return to
Worship Orders

return to

return to

return to
Long Green Valley Church