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Church Anniversary with Cornerstone Dedication

by The Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

I wrote this special liturgy for the 135th anniversary of Shiloh Lutheran in Walton, IN at a time when they were also dedicating the Cornerstone for their new Parish Hall.  Even without a church anniversary to celebrate, the color of the day is red as a celebration of the church.

 

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GATHERING

Prelude

Entrance Hymn  "For All the Saints"

 

Dialog of Praise:

A: Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord!

C: Praise the Lord! Give thanks to him!

 

A: God has blessed us and brought us to this time.

C: God has blessed us and brought us to this place.

 

A: God has caused his name to dwell in our midst.

C: God has stirred our hearts and made us glad.

 

A: God has shown us his glory in his mighty word.

C: God has shown us the way of truth and life.

 

A: Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord!

C: Praise the Lord! Give thanks to him!

 

A: For 135 years, God has nurtured and fed us.

C: For 135 years, God has shown us his grace.

 

A: For 135 years, God has given himself in Word and Sacrament.

C: For 135 years, God has empowered us with his Holy Spirit.

 

A: For 135 years, God has made us his witnesses in the world.

C: For 135 years, God has placed us in loving fellowship with one another.

 

A: Praise the Lord for 135 years! Praise him for 135 more!

C: Praise the Lord for evermore! Oh, praise the name of the Lord!

 

Hymn of Praise  "Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones"

Prayer for a Church Anniversary

 

WORD

Announcements

First Lesson: Isaiah 26

Second Lesson: Revelation 21:9-11,22-27

Verse: "Alleluia"

Gospel Lesson: St. Matthew 5:1-12

Sermon: "Living Stones"

Hymn of the Day  "Who Is This Host"

 

Exhortation:

P: The Lord God is his goodness has blessed us with 135 years of mission and ministry as Shiloh Lutheran Church. We are a remembering people, and it is good that we remember that God has chosen us, baptized us, and brought us together as the Church of Christ in this place. As remembering people, we look back at all the saving acts of God: the Creation, the Flood, the Covenant, the Exodus, the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Church.

    We are a remembering people, but we are also a people of this day, brought together by God to be a holy fellowship of believers: the Body of Christ, sharing, caring, working in the world, and living in the hope of the world to come.

    Our eyes look back with thanksgiving. Our eyes look forward in hope. Therefore, with thanksgiving for the past and hope for the future, let us dedicate ourselves and our lives to the mission which God gives us as the Church of Jesus Christ in this place.

 

Prayer of Dedication:

C: Almighty God, we give you thanks for the work you have done in this place. We give you thanks for your love and faithfulness. When we called on your name, you made your presence known to us. When we prayed, you heard us. When we preached your Word and administered your Sacraments, you were in our midst. You have accepted our humble sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. You have listened to our confessions and forgiven our sins. And you have sent your Holy Spirit to heal and comfort our hurts, our sorrows, our infirmities, and our losses.

 

A: Continue to empower us with your Spirit, O Lord, that we might proclaim your Gospel to all people.

C: We dedicate our lives to your service.

 

A: Help us to witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ in all that we do and say.

C: We dedicate our lives to your service.

 

A: Show us how we might give care and support to the needy, love and mercy to the broken and forlorn.

C: We dedicate our lives to your service.

 

A: Show us new ways of loving one another and those around us.

C: We dedicate our lives to your service.

 

A: Break down those prejudices and barriers which divide us, and make us all one in your Son, Jesus Christ.

C: Hear our prayer, O Lord.

 

A: Renew us by the Spirit, given at our baptisms, so that we might be challenged to move beyond our ruts, our apathy, and our anxieties of inadequacy.

C: Hear our prayer, O Lord.

 

A: Grant that we may continually grow in the Spirit and in the ministry that you give us as members of your royal priesthood, the priesthood of all believers, so that we may carry out our mission of service and love.

C: Hear our prayer, O Lord.

 

A: Continue to comfort, heal, and lift up the broken and afflicted among us, especially ___________, our shut-ins, friends of our congregation and all those we name in our hearts before you. (Pause) By the promise of your presence, bring us your healing love.

C: Hear our prayer, O Lord.

 

A: Bring us at last to the joy of your eternal kingdom, where, with Rick, Leona, Helen, Hobert, and all your saints, we may evermore praise your name.

C: Hear our prayer, O Lord.

 

P: Blessed Lord, draw our hearts to you, guide our minds, fill our imaginations, control our wills and make us wholly yours. Use us as you will, to the glory of your holy name and the welfare of your people; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C: Amen

 

P: The peace of the Lord be with you always.

C: And also with you.

All share the Lord's peace with one another.

 

MEAL

Offering

Offertory Hymn:   "We Give Thee But Thine Own," stanza 1

Offertory Prayer

Great Thanksgiving (sung)

Holy, Holy, Holy

Eucharistic Prayer

Our Father

 

Distribution:

     Lamb of God

     Hymn  "In Heaven Above, in Heaven Above"

 

Post-Communion Prayer

 

SENDING

 

Dedication of a Cornerstone:

P: Let us go forth in peace,

C: In the name of the Lord. Amen.

 

Hymn #369:1-2 "The Church's One Foundation"

During the hymn, all process into the new Fellowship Hall to the place of dedication.

 

P: Sisters and brothers in Christ: We have come here today to seek God's blessing as we dedicate this cornerstone.

St. Peter writes, "Come to Christ Jesus, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God's sight; and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture: 'See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.' To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner...." But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."

 

A: Our help is in the name of the Lord,

C: Who made heaven and earth.

 

A: Blessed be the name of the Lord.

C: From this time forth and for evermore.

 

A: The stone which the builders rejected

C: Has become the cornerstone.

 

P: The Lord be with you.

C: And also with you.

 

P: Let us pray. Blessed are you, O Lord our God, king of the universe. You have stretched out the heavens like a curtain; you have gathered the seas; and you have established the dry land, the mountains and the plains. We praise your holy name, for you have built us, your living stones, into a spiritual house of which Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone. Be with us now and bless us as we dedicate this cornerstone to your glory and honor. By your Spirit and grace, enable us to serve as your holy priesthood. Accept our praise and thanksgiving through your Son, Jesus Christ our High Priest. All honor and glory are yours, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in your holy Church, now and forever.

C: Amen

 

P: In thanksgiving to God we set aside this stone, on which a Fellowship Hall for the Church will rise, in the name of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

C: Amen

 

P: Alleluia! The house of the Lord is firmly built on solid rock!

C: Alleluia! Praise the Lord!

 

Benediction and Dismissal:

P: Now, may the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and + give you peace.

C: Amen

 

A: Go in peace. Serve the Lord!

C: Thanks be to God!

 

Closing Hymn:  Doxology

 

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Acknowledgments:  The Anniversary liturgy for today is written by the Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  The Dedication of a Cornerstone is taken from the Occasional Services 1982, Augsburg Fortress.