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An order of worship for online services is ready — and it’s adaptable


Office of Theology and Worship develops a worship resource for the coronavirus era

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service


The Office of Theology and Worship has developed an order of worship for online services.

LOUISVILLE — The Office of Theology and Worship has developed an order of worship, available here, that’s been adapted for congregations gathering exclusively or primarily online in response to the coronavirus.

Since it’s intended primarily for online worship use, the Lord’s Supper is not included. Sources for the new resource include the “Book of Common Worship,” “Glory to God,” and “The Presbyterian Hymnal,” which was published by Westminster John Knox Press in 1990.

Sections in the new “Service for the Lord’s Day” include Gathering, Word and Sending, with subheads offering worship leaders options throughout the service.

The Rev. Dr. David Gambrell, associate for worship with the Office of Theology and Worship, said that when liturgical materials for the first few pages of the “Glory to God” hymnal were being developed, the editors imagined they would be used as a teaching resource, on church retreats or for congregations that wanted to avoid printing worship aids every week.

“In God’s providence, we were also preparing for a pandemic,” Gambrell wrote in an email. “For church members who happen to have the ‘Glory to God’ hymnal at home, or can borrow one from the church, they’ll have everything they need to participate in an online worship service.”

He said editors were also careful to coordinate the resources in the 2018 “Book of Common Worship” with the materials found in “Glory to God,” which was published five years before. In the new resource, page numbers are included in the order of worship to help worship leaders navigate their options.

“All of this,” Gambrell said, “is an attempt to keep leaders and people ‘on the same page’ as they offer praise and prayer, and to help shape worshipers in their faith and discipleship through a consistent order of worship.”

For Presbyterians who don’t have “Glory to God” at home or may not be able to pick one up at their church, the downloadable resource linked above was developed free of any copyright strings attached.

The Office of Theology and Worship is grateful to the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, Gambrell said — not only for its collaboration in the development of online resources for worship, but for its generosity in granting permission for livestreaming or duplicating materials copyrighted by Westminster John Knox Press at this time.

“We are also grateful for our partnership with the Presbyterian Association of Musicians in developing these materials,” Gambrell said, “and for helping to keep a song in our hearts as we watch and pray for an end to this public health crisis.”

“In this time of social distancing,” Gambrell said, “for resources that keep us connected to the body of Christ, we can only say, ‘thanks be to God.’”

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