John C. Bush is interim pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama.
Articles by this author:
This order of service was prepared for Reformation Sunday 2003 at First Presbyterian Church, Royal Oak, Michigan. It includes several liturgical elements from the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, including contributions from Luther in Germany, Bucer in Strassbourg, Calvin in Geneva, Zwingli in Zurich, Knox in Scotland, and from the English Reformation. The songs include a psalm, canticle, and hymns from these traditions; they can be found in the Presbyterian Hymnal as well as in many other hymnals.
Call to Worship
John Bush explains, “This candlelight service has been used here at Northbrook Presbyterian for at least twenty-five years; it follows an elegant holiday feast held at the church. I integrated this ‘service of light’ into an Advent Service of Evening Prayer.”
[The congregation are holding unlighted candles. Two readers, also holding candles, gather at the Advent wreath, facing the congregation. The appropriate Advent candles are already lighted.]
This service is becoming a Good Friday tradition at Grace Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a relatively new congregation in Madison, Alabama. The service is entirely spoken; there is no music at all. The people gather in silence, entering a church that has been stripped of all movable ornamentation at the conclusion of the Maundy Thursday service. Lighting is subdued, but adequate for the people to participate in Scripture readings, litanies, and prayers.