James 1:21-22 New Testament for Everyone (NTE)
21 So put away everything that is sordid, all that overflowing malice, and humbly receive the word which has been planted within you and which has the power to rescue your lives.
22 But be people who do the word, not merely people who hear it and deceive themselves.
7 Commandments for the Service of the Word
as at 13 June 2020
1. The rhythm of worship – how many Eucharistic services, and how many non-Eucharistic ones – must be agreed by incumbent, PCC and Area Bishop. Area Bishops intend each MMU to hold a service of Holy Communion every Sunday morning.
2. Anyone authorized by the incumbent (or in the case of a vacancy, the churchwardens or Area Dean) may lead a service of the Word. This diocese has no scheme whereby such people should be authorized by a Bishop. However, for Safeguarding reasons, it is important that someone is present who has been safely recruited (for example a member of the clergy, LLM/Reader, Authorised Preacher, Churchwarden...) and that person is identified early in the service as the person to whom any safeguarding concerns must be addressed.
PREPARING FOR THE WORD
3. The service should begin with preparation for the Word. This should include:
A) a clear beginning such as
The Lord be with you! "And also with you!"
B) a confession ( there are lots of authorized ones eg in Common Worship pp122-134 or 277-278 - see links below - and subsequent publications, or they can be written locally – but locally composed confessions should be in the form:
Locally-composed sentence 1.
Lord have mercy "Lord have mercy"
Locally-composed sentence 2.
Christ have mercy "Christ have mercy"
Locally-composed sentence 3.
Lord have mercy "Lord have mercy"
C) a declaration of forgiveness. The authorised forms are to be found in Common Worship pp135-137 – note that where a priest is not speaking, “you” should be replaced with “us”. As an alternative, 1 John 1:8-9 could be read (CWp61). See links below
RECEIVING THE WORD
4. There should be a Bible Reading. Common Worship p27 states that from the third Sunday of Advent until the First Sunday of Epiphany, and from Palm Sunday till Trinity Sunday, an authorised lectionary must be followed; however, any of the readings from the lectionary may be chosen.
5. There should either be a sermon preached, or an equivalent. Sermons must be preached by someone authorized by the Area Bishop, eg an Authorised Local Preacher; Area Bishops may also authorize a church to encourage members to preach once or twice a year without becoming an ALP, eg to explore their vocation. In place of the preached sermon, a sermon or meditation could be read from an appropriate book, the diocesan sermon podcast could be played, a drama could be performed or a group of people could each share a 5-minute thought; none of these options need episcopal authorization.
RESPONDING TO THE WORD
6. After the ministry of the word, there should be a response to it. This should include:
A) an affirmation of faith (see link below)
B) intercessions (which may be written ahead of time or ex tempore). See link below for some possible forms.
C) a clear ending, such as the grace, a blessing (changing “you” to “us” if you are not a priest), one of the thanksgivings in Common Worship pp46-56, or the peace. Now, it could include a prayer of spititual communion or a lovefeast. See links below.
7. The following three elements must also be found somewhere in the service:
A) the Collect for the Day
B) the Lord’s Prayer
C) at least one Psalm or “canticle” (poetic item from the Bible – see Common Worship pp 778-813 for some examples). These may be said or sung. See links below.