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SERVICES OF DEDICATION
With Examples


Prompted by numerous requests for liturgies of dedication we provide the following outline for construction your own liturgies for the dedication of just about anything during a gathering of the worshipping community. Our thanks to the Rev. David Shearman (shearman@sympatico.ca) of the United Church of Canada for the outline of what follows. Links to sample litanies and prayers of dedication by various folk are found here as well.

Services of Dedication of memorial gifts are decidedly simple. Most often they are placed in the order of worship at or near the time of receiving the gifts and offerings of the people, but they can go anywhere that seems practical to the liturgist.

The dedication of some gifts may involve a special liturgy and worship occasion (for example a new piano or organ might prompt one to have a special worship event that features a great deal of music and a small homily or sermon about 'singing a new song to the Lord', etc)

In any case the outline below will provide the structure of the actual act of receiving and dedicating the gift.

Various Dedication Litanies and Prayers

* Anniversary Dedication of Church and Members

* Dedication of Hymn Books

* Dedication of Organ or Piano

* Dedication of Pew Cushions

* Dedication or Planting of Memorial Trees or Bushes

OUTLINE OF A SERVICE OF DEDICATION
* A Statement of the Occasion - A brief statement about what is to occur next * A scripture reading. - Geared to the theme or thought suggested by the gift. A new communion table or lectern might lead one to chose a scripture concerning "the bread of life" or "hearing the word". * Presentation and Response - The Presentation is usually by the donor and/or the persons charged with representing the donor and the congregation. - For example stained glass windows are often dedicated in memory of a family member. A member of the family and/or the Worship or Building Committee might come forward and make the request for dedication and include some comments as appropriate. - The Response is usually made by the Minister and/or a representative of the congregation. - For example in response to the request to dedicate new hymn books or a musical instrument the Music Director might say "We receive with thanks these books / instrument and promise to use them/it in the worship of God and to God's glory in this place." * Act of Dedication. - the presiding liturgist, preacher, pastor, etc will then dedicate the object or item "to the glory of God" and, if needed, "in memory of - name of person", all in the name of "the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" * Prayer of Thanksgiving - The presiding liturgist or preacher or pastor will then lead the congregation in appropriate prayers of thanksgiving (for God's goodness, for the persons being memoralized, for the graces conveyed by the item dedicated. - For example upon receiving and dedicating new communion ware the presider might pray - "Loving God, we thank you for the bread that gives us life and the wine that wells up to eternal joy and for the gift of this cup and this plate which brings your grace to us. We thank you too for the gift you gave the family of - name of person memoralized - during his time with us - and we pray that you would bless them and all those who draw near to you in this sanctuary of your presence." * Closing - Every one involved returns to there place in the congregation. Sometimes it may be appropriate to exchange a sign of peace as this occurs.

David Shearman writes: Using this model, and adapting from any denominational resource (I have yet to come across a denominational resource without a dedication service of some kind), a service of dedication should be easy to craft. I should think that a pastor with access to their denominational worship resource should be able to come up with such an act in about an hour; 30 minutes if you are really good.

Using that model I have dedicated stained glass windows, highway bridges, hymn books and just about any piece of holy hardware we would use in the Reformed tradition.

To which we say - Amen.

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