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September 1989

Three in One: Three Separate Congregations Make Up Korean Community RCA

If you were to attend a Sunday service at the Korean Community Church of Lakewood, California, you would need to decide which one of their three congregations to join in worship.

The first is the Korean-speaking congregation, composed primarily of about a hundred Korean- American adults, that worships in the sanctuary of Mayfair Reformed Church (from which the congregation currently leases space). Rev. John Y. Kim is the pastor and primary worship leader of this congregation.

Kids and Kooks

Children's services can bring out the worst in people…and the best in God

When the Rev. Allen Spender left church that night and took a country road out of town, he was thinking that while not every church had a steeple anymore, every congregation had a bozo.

Hymn of the Month


Psalter Hymnal 194
Rejoice in the Lord 169
Trinity Hymnal 148

Isaiah 40 is often read and sung during the Advent season. It's a passage that speaks of the peace and comfort that the coming Messiah will bring. The prophet encourages the people of Israel to prepare a way for the Lord: to "make straight in the desert a highway for our God" (RSV). The first three movements of Handel's Messiah are taken from Isaiah 40:1-5.

Book: Daily Prayer

Prepared by the Office of Worship for the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1987,455 pp., $10.95.

Fifth in a series being prepared for trial use, Daily Prayer provides patterns and resources for a discipline of daily worship. The book includes services for Morning and Evening Prayer, and for Midday and Night Prayer. Also included are ample musical resources and a two-year daily lec-tionary to use with these services.

Building the Sermon

Two heads may be better than one.

Duane and Carl are preachers. It's Wednesday noon, and they're having lunch together at Burger King. Over a Whopper and a large order of fries they discuss the meat and potatoes they'll be dishing up for their congregations on Sunday.

This lunch is a regular part of their week. If s also a regular and important part of their sermon preparation.

Book: Rejoice! A Collection of Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

Sydney: The Presbyterian Church of Australia, 1987. Available from the PCA, G.P.O. Box 100, Sydney 2001

Home Communion

Spiritual nourishment for the shut-in

We gathered around the kitchen table in the old farmhouse. The oilcloth with pictures of yellow pears and red strawberries was still on the table from lunchtime. So were the napkins and a few stray bread crumbs. There were four of us: the eighty-two-year-old widow who had lived in the house since her marriage sixty years ago, two elders, and myself.

Book: All the Seasons of Mercy

Diane Karay. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1987,144 pp. $7.95.

This collection of prayers, intended primarily for congregational worship, is also appropriate for personal and family devotions. The prayers are of four types: calls to worship, prayers of praise, prayers of confession or affirmation, and pastoral prayers. As the book's title suggests, the prayers are organized for use in the many seasons of the liturgical year: Advent and Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and a section for all seasons.

Chalice and Loaf or Cups and Cubes

Serving the elements in the Reformed tradition


I appreciated the article "Healing Services" by Robert Wise (RVJ11). I would like to see more articles on the practical use of spiritual gifts in Reformed worship services. One source might be Presbyterian and Reformed Renewal Ministries International, 2245 N.W. 39th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73112, (405) 525-2552.

Piano Music for Advent, Christmas, Epiphany

Listed on this page are collections of keyboard music, some of which contain music for use in worship services during Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, others which are devoted exclusively to these seasons. Since there is a dearth of good literature written explicitly for piano in worship services, this list includes collections that are intended for organ, manuals only, but that are suitable for the piano as well.


Hymn-Tune Competition

Hymn-tune competition in celebration of the 150th anniversary of an urban church in the Reformed tradition. Tune to be composed for the winning text entry. Deadline for hymn tune: December 1,1989. For the text and details, contact: Hymn Competition, Central Reformed Church, 10 College NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, (616) 459-3260.

Advent Light; Banner for Advent

Banners. Different people have different opinions about this form of liturgical art. Some folks don't like the idea of anyone being allowed to hang "just anything" in front of the sanctuary. Others are grateful that someone took the time to change an otherwise drab setting. Some people wish the banner-maker would stick to counted-cross-stitch. Others would have liked the pink a little more mauve to go with the cushions of the chairs up front.

Joy to the World

The night we all went caroling.

It's the second Sunday of Advent. Just before the morning benediction the pastor reminds us to dress warmly for the evening service, which is going to be held mostly outside. Outside it is 27 degrees Farenheit and snowing. But from experience we know that we will have a bigger crowd than usual this Sunday evening.

The Word Foretold

A series of resources for the four Sundays of Advent and Christmas Day

This series of Advent-Christmas worship resources is meant to provide a framework for a deeper, richer experience of the worship of our God, who in his eternal plan saw humankind in its desperate need and sent his Son, Jesus.

Prayer for Advent

O IMMANUEL, we come to praise you on this first Sunday of Advent. A new year is beginning, a new year in which we eagerly anticipate the wonder of your coming among us. A new year in which to worship you, to heed your call to obedient action, to listen to your teachings. Each Advent is like seed sown in our lives. May it not be choked by the weeds of work and shopping and parties and decorating and baking. May it not be ground underfoot by the intense soil of cloying sentimentality so that it cannot survive the fierce pressures of the seasons.

Time for Renewing

Planning a service to rekindle our vows and commitments

Vows have lost their value for many people in our society. Marriages are discarded, church membership obligations ignored.

Renewing Our Commitments

This service is intended for the first service of a new calendar year or as a Watch-Night Service. Churches might use such texts as 2 Chronicles 16:9 or Hebrews 6:13-20 to emphasize God's commitment to us during the new year. Psalms and hymns are selected from the 1987 Psalter Hymnal (PH) and Rejoice in the Lord (RL). Scripture verses are taken from the NIV.


Congregation, what is your source of comfort and encouragement?

7 Tips for Choir Directors

Advice on the care and feeding of the church choir

For many choir directors getting people to sign up isn't the problem. Getting them to stick with their commitment is. Choirs that are loosely organized, that don't have a clear mandate and purpose, that lack an enthusiastic and creative director, often fade away before Christmas.

Reaching Out or Drawing In?

A case for the missions emphasis of Epiphany

Some churches have Mission Emphasis service(s) in early spring, others in the summer, and still others in the fall. Is one time more "correct" than another? Probably not. The church always needs to be attentive to its mission character.

Revealing the Glory of God

Sermon and hymn suggestions for Epiphany

In The Service of God: How Worship and Ethics Are Related (Abingdon, 1983), William H. Willimon says that before preachers can summon the congregation to action, "We move aside and point the people to see God who has summoned us, telling them what we see and hear… The first job of the preacher is to give them a vision so true, so concrete, so clear, so demanding, so gracious, so alluring that it evokes their most courageous response" (p. 156).