Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
September 7, 2008
Worship 10:00 am, Sunday School 11:10 am

      "For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." (Matthew 18:20)

  Morning Praise (9:45 am)

  Call to Worship                                                                    (back of bulletin)

*Hymn                        "All hail the power of Jesus’ name"                          106

*Opening Prayer

  For Children                         "All that I have"

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory Video                    "Spiritual Formation"

(Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

  Commissioning our Sunday School

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

  Hymn                       "When I survey the wondrous cross"                         259

  Pastoral Prayer

  Tercentennial Minute

  Scripture                               Matthew 18:15-20

  Message                             "Not a wish dream"

*Hymn                             "Bless'd be the tie that binds"                               421

*Unison Benediction                                                               (back of bulletin)


#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

One:       We come together because we are connected to God through Christ.

Adults:   We are each different.

Youth:   We are each alike.

Leader:  We are all seeking God’s warm embrace through forgiveness and grace.

Men:      We ask for understanding.

Women: We ask to be understood.

Leader:   As we reaffirm our commitment to God, We acknowledge our connection with each other.

All:         We are surrendered to God, transformed in Christ, and empowered by the Spirit to bring God’s reconciliation to the world.

by Linda R. Lambert, pastor
Thurmont, MD Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

Opening Prayer

            How great is your name, O Lord of all! As we come together to worship you, we take the crown off our own heads and offer it to you. If truth be told, we’re not all that great at running things. It's amazing what happens, however, when we get off our thrones and allow you to be God. Help us to put our lives into perspective.

            Prostrate angels, sacred throngs, every kindred, every tribe … we have a hard time imagining this bigger picture, O Lord of all. Begin, as you often do, with the little things that we can see. Like our little ones. We have heard, “unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven(Matthew 18:3). Is it possible to make such a shift, God? Forgive our struggle to reorient ourselves to your new world order, where the last become first and vice versa, where one lost sheep matters more than ninety-nine others, where two or three gathered in your name are blessed with the humbling, listening, transforming power of your presence.

           “Let the children come to me,” you say, O Lord of all. Well, here we are. Teach us. Amen.

For Children
All that I have"

            With an offering plate in hand, our resident children's storytelling, Ed, will share from the heart with our little ones about what we give to God.

Returning our Tithes and Offerings

            While we strive to "put away childish things,' as the apostle Paul once wrote, we still have much to learn on Jesus’ lap. That's why even big people go to Sunday School. Just now, it's time to put into practice what some of us older ones have learned about giving and receiving. While we pass the plates and return our offering, however, let’s listen to what the author of this quarter’s adult School School curriculum has to say about growing closer to God. Let's pay attention to what the Lord may have to share with through this offering time. Ushers?

Commissioning our Sunday School

            Today begins a whole new year of Sunday School. You are invited to participate in it. Perhaps we should come up with a different name for this learning and growing time. The title dates back to the beginnings of a movement in the 1800’s when going to school was something brand new for people in our country, and having a “Sunday School” was a fresh experience. To us, it has perhaps become too “old hat,” something we do because our parents make us now, or made us once upon a time. I’d encourage you to put on a different hat. Imagine the excitement of a child for whom this experience is brand new. Can you enter into it with this kind of refreshing outlook? Don’t come with an “attitude,” whether it be “we have to do it this way or it isn’t Sunday School,” or “I’m tired of school.” I encourage you to imagine that Jesus is with you when you get together later on. How might that change the experience?

            Our younger classes will use the curriculum they have been using, “Gather Round.” The youth and adult classes, however, are going to try something different for the next 3 months. We’ll focus on the spiritual discipline called “community.” Don’t let that word “discipline,” however, immediately turn you off. Remember what we just heard the author of the material say – that spiritual disciplines are “little practices, little exercises, little things (we) do on a regular basis to connect with God.” When it comes to the discipline called “community,” we discover as we truly connect with one another, we also connect with God. But it’s not easy. Somehow it needs to involve scripture, otherwise we’re just playing with our own words and not connecting with the source of our strength, the One who makes real community happen.

            I invite you to do more than just study the Bible with your intellect. I encourage you to do more than talk about your troubles. Again, when you get together later on this morning, imagine that Jesus is with you. Because he will be! That’s a promise. Are you game? Good. You are “commissioned” to spiritually grow.

Pastoral Prayer


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


Tercentennial Minute
Hat Sunday
The Snake Spring women grab the bull by the horns

         Sometimes when we change the way we do things, we change the past to match the present. For instance, after nineteenth century Brethren became actively involved in the Temperance Movement there were those who suggested that Brethren had always abstained from alcohol. What the Brethren had practiced was moderation, though, not abstention.

         The Brethren developed the plain garb in the 19th century as part of their practice of nonconformity. However, it's not clear that the 18th century practiced any uniformity, although it is believed they dressed more simply than their contemporaries.

         What is clear is that by the 19th century some Brethren were chafing under their collars and bonnets, figuratively if not literally. Some of the young men wanted to wear bow ties. And the women – many wanted to wear hats.

         According to Carl Bowman, in his book Brethren Society, Eastern Brethren were especially opposed to this and were quick to point out any failure to conform to the nonconformity. On the other hand, they dismissed any criticism of a decision to grow tobacco as meddling in their personal business.

         The Snake Spring Valley congregation, located in the Middle Pennsylvania district, solved the garb issue with solidarity. According to the story, early in the twentieth century a group of the women decided they’d sink or swim together. As nonagenarian Gladys Pepple, a member of the congregation, recalled, the women of the church arranged ahead of time for one Sunday when they would all wear hats. "Several of them got together," she said, even though, "they were half afraid to go in church. They got together and went in together. If one got in trouble they all would." It was evidently a success. A photograph from 1921 shows the women of the Sunday School posing for the picture. They are all wearing hats. There is not one bonnet or prayer covering among them.

         The irony, Gladys Pepple noted, is that nowadays no one wears hats to church.

And that’s the Tercentennial Minute for Sunday, September 7

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)


We are forgiven. We are forgiving.  We are loosed from our fears, prejudice, and resentments. We are bound together by the cords of God’s love, mercy, and grace.  What God has joined together, let us hold in sacred trust.

by Linda R. Lambert, pastor
Thurmont, MD Church of the Brethren
Church of the Brethren Living Word Bulletin
Anchor/Wallace, Sleepy Eye MN 56085, "The Living Word Series"

(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)


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