Worship Books: The United Methodist Book of Worship

Nashville, TN: United Methodist Publishing House, 1992; 754 pp., $24.95.

This new book begins by affirming that although the Anglican, Evangelical United Brethren, and Methodist heritages all are evident in United Methodist worship, services find their unity through "the basic pattern of worship: Entrance, Proclamation & Response, Thanksgiving & Communion, and Sending Forth" (pp. 13-15).

The book carefully fleshes out that pattern in a general "Order of Sunday Worship," with many explanations and suggestions, and demonstrates it further in five "Services of Word and Table" (with seasonal variants of the "Great Thanksgiving") and four "Services of the Baptismal Covenant" (that include variants for the baptism of children and of adults, and for baptismal reaffirmation). This first large segment of the UMBW concludes with four services for marriage (with suggestions for prayers for marriage anniversaries) and several funeral services (including 'A Service of Death and Resurrection for a Stillborn Child").

The next segment of UMBW provides musical settings of a group of short responses used in numerous services; these settings vary from unison to four-part harmonizations and sometimes include texts in Spanish, African, or North American Native languages.

The middle and most sizeable portion of UMBW provides specific services and other resources for each season or feast of the Christian year; it also offers the Revised Common Lectionary of suggested Scripture readings for a three-year cycle and a number of services for specifically United Methodist Sundays such as "Human Relations Day," "Rural life Sunday," or "Laity Sunday."

The final portions of UMBW consist of prayers of petition and thanksgiving for various occasions, grouped by topics and contexts; model orders for daily services of "Praise & Prayer;" numerous "occasional services," which include a Love Feast, orders for comrnissioning laypersons, an organ dedication service; various healing services, including a ministry to persons with AIDS; services pertaining to organizing (or disbanding) congregations and consecrating church buildings; and various services of ordination.

Excerpt
WHAT'S INSIDE THE UMBW

Note: The following is an excerpt from the listing of contents in the United Methodist Book of Worship.

CALENDAR FOR DATING EASTER AND RELATED HOLY DAYS

COLORS FOR THE CHRISTIAN YEAR

REVISED COMMON LECTIONARY

ADVENT

Acts of Worship for Advent
Hanging of the Greens
Blessing of the Chrismon Tree
Blessing of the Advent Wreath
Lighting of the Advent Candles
An Advent Service of Lessons and Carols
Las Posadas (Service of Shelter for the Holy Family)

CHRISTMAS SEASON

Acts of Worship for the Chrismas Season
Blessing of a Nativity Scene
A Christmas Eve Service of
Las Posadas
A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
Covenant Renewal Service
Acts of Worship for New Year's Eve/Day
Acts of Worship for the Epiphany of the Lord

SEASON AFTER EPIPHANY

Acts of Worship for Baptism of the Lord
Acts of Worship for the Sundays after Epiphany
Acts of Worship for Transfiguration Sunday

Bert Polman (bdp5@calvin.edu) is a hymnologist who is a professor and chair of the music department at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.