Sunday Services - A Contemporary Liturgical Resource


Preparing and using the services

Services of prayer, praise and proclamation

Occassional prayers

Services of the lords supper

Order of baptism

A service for today's church


How to purchase the book


  Welcome to Sunday Services
understanding and using this book
Sunday Services is a collection of services designed to suit a variety of occasions in most parish churches on Sundays. It contains two types of regular service: those modelled on the Morning and Evening Prayer pattern and those for the Lord's Supper. There is also a service of initiation.

The Sunday Services web site includes an extra service, A Service for Today's Church, that has not been included in the book itself. This service can be adapted either for a 'word and prayer service' or for a Lord's Supper. The recent origin of the service is A Modern Liturgy in Prayer Book Revision for Australia (1966), but it reflects the intended use of BCP, with its weekly combination of Morning Prayer, the Litany and the Ante-Communion, with only occasional celebrations of the Lord's Supper.

Within that general description, there is great variety. Each service allows alternatives and room for flexibility. Before using any of the services, familiarise yourself with them all, together with the introductory notes. You will then be able to choose the most appropriate form.

Having chosen the service to use, you will then need to add the components - Bible readings, hymns and songs, prayers, other music and so on. Music has the power to move our wills and emotions. If used well, it can also be an effective medium for teaching. Its purpose is to support a service rather than control it, so take care with the choice of music, where in the service it is placed and the tunes used.

Another issue is what to put in the hands of the congregation. Some churchgoers are comfortable being given a book. For others, this is off-putting. For each occasion, you might print an order of service, with the hymns and Bible readings so that people have all they need on one sheet of paper. Alternatively, print the outline of the service on a reusable card. While the text is supplied in its entirety on this site, text should be kept to a minimum, using the major headings so that people understand the flow of the service, together with those parts said by the congregation. They do not need the text of the leader's parts, nor the notes about the placement of Bible readings and sermons: simple headings are enough. Another option is to distribute nothing, using an overhead or data projector for the people's parts.

The clear structure of the services in Sunday Services will both free people to participate and teach them what is significant about their meeting together. If you are reprinting any of the material, please ensure the major headings are included so the congregation knows what it is doing and where it is going. Similarly, when you reprint the congregation's parts, please observe the line breaks: they are there to aid understanding and participation together.

reading the bible in church
Anglican liturgical practice has always given the Bible central place in all its services. From the beginning, it was intended that each service contain a psalm as well as readings from the Old and New Testaments: the purpose was to help people become familiar with the full account of God's work in his world. Each year various lectionaries are produced to facilitate that.

The structure of the services in Sunday Services assumes that the Bible will continue to take a central place in our liturgies. If a standard lectionary is used, the sermon might explain one or all of the readings. If a teaching program separate from the lectionary is being followed, then one of the readings may be replaced by one on which the sermon is based: in this case, an attempt should be made to maintain the continuity of the unchanged readings. Alternatively, where a teaching program is followed, another reading may be added just prior to the sermon.

the use of the historic creeds
Although the New Testament contains what might be called apostolic affirmations, for example, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Philippians 2:5-11, Colossians 1:15-20, 1 Timothy 3:16, the early church developed creeds to state and defend those beliefs held in common by all Christians. The Apostles' and Nicene creeds stand as agreed confessions of our common faith in the person and work of the triune God, in which we praise and honour God together with all Christians in all times and places. It is therefore appropriate that one of these historic creeds should be a standard feature of our gatherings. There may be occasions when an apostolic affirmation from the Bible or a song declaring the Christian faith is suitable. However, to remain true to the Christian faith, which is trinitarian, and to our Anglican heritage, those who lead services should ensure that the norm is to use one of the historic creeds.

the lord's prayer
In response to a disciple's request, 'Lord, teach us to pray' (Luke 11:1), Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer. Whether it was intended as a pattern for prayer or to be said on each occasion Christians pray, the Anglican custom is that it is said at some point in each service. It is helpful as a model for prayer and ought to continue as a regular feature.

the collects or prayers for the day
Originally, the purpose of the Collect was to collect into a prayer the thrust of the readings and the theme of the particular day in the Church's year. It is recommended that the practice of a prayer for the day be continued. BCP and AAPB are a rich source for such prayers. If a prayer is to be composed, the writer should bear in mind the purpose of prayers for the day.

The Book of Common Prayer gave detailed instructions about standing, kneeling and sitting at different points in services. These days local custom generally prevails. Where they occur in Sunday Services, the directions to stand, sit or kneel are suggestions only.

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