Hypothetical Children’s Sunday Worship Bulletin

For my worship class this semester, I designed a worship service (based on the order of worship my current church typically uses) that is intended to get children more involved.  The goal is not only to help children be better able to participate, but also to remind adults of children’s presence and needs.

The bulletin doesn’t include all the logistics of who-does-what in the service, but part of the whole idea is that the procession would be made up of children rather than the Chancel Choir, that children could be readers, some older children with musical skills could do the prelude and/or postlude, and that children could be greeters and/or ushers as well.

Here’s a PDF version of the bulletin, Children’s Worship Bulletin , if you want to see the whole thing (plus, it doesn’t have weird blog formatting).  Otherwise, here are my favorite parts:

1.  The Prayers of the People

(which I slightly revised from a prayer used at a church I attended this summer in northern Wisconsin)
 

Almighty God, the challenges facing children and those who care for them can seem so huge and so abstract that we lose touch with reality.  Help us to remember that the needs and prayers of each child, each parent, each teacher, and each caring person are as real and as individual to you as the items in our hands.

(holding up a crayon)

And so we pray this day for the child care providers, parents, and guardians who provide safe, warm, stimulating environments to spark a love of learning and fuel the curiosity of our youngest children as they scribble with crayons, pet the hamster, and try to taste the Play-Doh®. We pray especially for those providers who are underpaid and undervalued, for those parents who can’t find quality, affordable care for their children while they work,  and for the children whose potential is squelched in poor care. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

(holding up a piece of chalk)

We pray for the teachers, covered in chalk dust, who devote themselves to educating our children and helping them flourish to their potential.  For their dedication, imagination, and concern we give you thanks.  We pray especially for those teachers who have given up on themselves or on the children, those who feel unsafe, and those who feel unappreciated.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

(holding up a pencil)

We pray for students gripping pencils as they strive to learn, especially those faced with the challenges of disability, unsafe schools, low expectations from their parents, teachers, and selves, and inadequate resources.  Protect and sustain these students in the face of bullying, violence, abuse, and fear.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

(holding up a Band-Aid®)

We pray for children who are sick and injured, whose ability to learn is hampered by vision and hearing problems or illness.  We pray especially for those children who don’t have health insurance to get the care they need, and for their parents who worry about what to do, who must rely on temporary solutions when prevention or treatment is needed.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

(holding up a penny)

We pray for the youths who are preparing for the world of work, that you will guide them in discovering their gifts and talents, skills and aptitudes, and surround them with teachers and adults who will get them ready to succeed.  We pray especially for those young people who fear  that they will not be able to find work and earn a living, who don’t have adults to help them prepare, and who despair of ever succeeding.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

(holding up a pen)

We pray for our leaders in government, business, and the media, that the laws they write, the bottom lines that are inked, and the stories they pen will demonstrate an investment and priority in our children today for our future tomorrow. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Amen.

2.  Eucharistic Prayer

(which I wrote myself with the United Methodist Great Thanksgiving as the basis)
 

+Invitation

 

Christ our Lord invites to his table all who love him,

who earnestly repent of their sin,

and seek to live at peace with one another.

Therefore let us confess our sin before God and one another.

+Confession and Pardon

Merciful God,

we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart.

We have failed to be an obedient church.

We have not done your will,

we have broken your law, we have rebelled against your love,

we have not loved our neighbors,

and we have not heard the cry of the needy.

Forgive us, we pray.

Free us for joyful obedience,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

All pray in silence.

If we confess our sins,

God who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins

and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!

In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!

 

Glory to God!  Amen.

 

+Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your heats.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

We give you thanks, God of majesty, for the wonders of Creation—

for the beauty of the plants and animals,

and for the mystery of the sparkling sky.

You gave life to all creatures and all people,

breathing into us your very own breath of life.

You created us in your very own image,

and promised to be faithful to us forever.

You chose children to be your prophets, your messengers, and the leaders

of your people.

Whether the oldest, the youngest, or somewhere in between,

your love rested upon them.

Whether they had one parent, two parents, more parents, or no parents,

you nurtured them as their greatest Parent.

We, your children, made mistakes.  We turned away from your love.

But your love for us cannot—will not—end.

You call us back to yourself,

save us from the chains of slavery,

hear our cries of pain,

and hold us in your loving arms for all time.

And so,

with all your sons and daughters here on earth,

and all the company of heaven,

we praise you with joy

and join in the unending hymn:

Musical Setting D, p. 23 (umh)

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, and blessed is Jesus Christ, your child.

You sent him, your dear son, to live among us,

to be nursed at his mother’s breast,

to be taught along with the other children,

to learn a trade from his father,

and to do your work on earth.

Your Spirit anointed him to bring your message

of good news for the poor,

freedom for those in prison,

new sight for the blind,

and liberty for those who are oppressed.

Jesus healed the sick, fed the hungry, and welcomed sinners.

He gathered the children close to him,

for they are precious to you, O God.

Out of love for us, Jesus endured death on the cross,

but you raised him to new life, a sign of hope for all people.

Through baptism, we participate in the suffering, death, and resurrection

of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Claimed in your name and cleansed through your son,

we rejoice in the covenant you made with us in Jesus Christ.

When he ascended into heaven, Jesus promised to be with us always,

in the power of the Holy Spirit.

On the night in which he gave himself up for us,

Jesus took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread, gave it

to his disciples, and said:

“Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you.

Do this in remembrance of me.”

When the supper was over, he took the cup,

gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said:

“Drink from this, all of you;

this is my blood of the new covenant,

poured out for you and for all people

for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me.”

And so, in remembrance of these, your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,

we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving,

as a holy and living sacrifice,

in union with Christ’s offering for us,

as we proclaim the mystery of faith.

Musical Setting D, p. 24 (umh)

Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.

     

O God, pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here,

and on these gifts of the bread and cup.

Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ,

that we may be for the world the body of Christ,

redeemed by his blood.

By your Spirit make us one with Christ,

one with each other,

and one in ministry to the whole world,

until Christ returns in victory

and we eat together at his heavenly feast.

Through your son Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church,

all honor and glory are yours, almighty God,

now and forever.

Musical Setting D, p. 24 (umh)

Amen, amen, amen.

+The Lord’s Prayer

And now, as the children of God, let us pray together:

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,

now and for ever.  Amen.

+Breaking the Bread

Because there is one loaf,

we, who are many, are one body,

for we all share in the one loaf.

The bread which we break is a sharing in the body of Chirst.

The cup over which we give thanks is a sharing in the blood of Christ.

These are the gifts of God for all the people of God.

Come to the table, for all things are ready.

Sharing the Elements

Communion Hymn             One Bread, One Body                                   No. 620 (umh)

Prayer after Communion

 

Let us pray.

God of majesty, we give you thanks for this meal,

a holy mystery in which you have given yourself to us.

Let it be the food we need to go into the world

with the strength of your Spirit,

to give ourselves to help others,

in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 
 
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About carissalick

United Methodist deacon, ESL teacher, wife, learner, mom
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