223 – Worship and the Sacraments

Dates Instructor Contact Info

Spring 2023: Postponed

Rev. Brian McPherson Email: [email protected]

This course examines the sacraments, worship rites, and liturgy of The United Methodist Church and the pastor’s role in both planning worship and serving as a worship leader.

Course Objectives:

  1. Examination of the church year and its historical and theological grounding.
  2. Examination of the theology and practice of the sacraments.
  3. Review the rites of Christian marriage, death, and resurrection, other occasional services as well as regular calendar planning of weekly worship.
  4. Reflection on worship practices, including use of nontraditional liturgies, modern and traditional media, music, and regular lay leadership.
  5. Development, for reflection and evaluation, of several sample services of worship.
  6. Development of resources for planning worship including online and web-based United Methodist sources.

Required Texts:

(Digital forms are acceptable)

  1. Wallace, Robin Knowles., The Christian Year: A Guide for Worship and Preaching. Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2011
  2. Hickman, Hoyt L., Worshiping with United Methodists, Revised Edition, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2007
  3. Stookey, Laurence Hull., Let the Whole Church Say Amen!, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2001
  4. The United Methodist Book of Worship, The United Methodist Publishing House, 1992
  5. The United Methodist Hymnal, The United Methodist Publishing House, 1989
  6. By Water and the Spirit, The General Board of Discipleship, 2008 (PDF)
  7. This Holy Mystery, The General Board of Discipleship, 2004 (PDF)

Note: Required texts are available on Cokesbury.com or Amazon.com. The General Board of Discipleship studies are pdf files downloadable from the sites listed. They are free.

List of Recommended or Optional Texts:

  1. White, James F., Introduction to Christian Worship, 3rd edition, Abingdon Press,  Nashville,  2000;
  2. Dawn, Marva J., A Royal “Waste” of Time, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999
  3. Duck, Ruth C., Bread For the Journey, United Church Press, Cleveland OH., 1982
  4. Bone and Scifres, The United Methodist Music and worship Planner  2017-18, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2014

Class Assignment:  Pre-class assignment due TBA

  • Write a two to three page double-spaced essay on “My worship Autobiography”
    • What is your worship “history and experience”?
    • What is your “favorite” worship to lead and your “favorite” to attend? (No leadership role)
    • How does worship engage you most deeply?  (Emotionally, intellectually, physically?)
    • Why (in your own understanding) is worship critical to faith and practice?
  • It is highly suggested that you begin the reading as soon as possible. The downloads from GBOD are available and accessible. Besides the assigned reading from the Hickman and Wallace books, the Stookey book Let the Church Say Amen  is a great read and very useful.

Class Assignment:  2nd Session due TBA

  •  Read pages 1-66 in Hickman’s book Worshipping with United Methodists 
  •  Read pages 1-58 in Wallace’s book The Christian Year
  •  Read “This Holy Mystery”  from the GBOD website (download, see above)

Class Assignment: 3rd Session due TBA

  • Read pages 67-128 in Worshipping with United Methodists
  • Read pages 59-120 in The Christian Year
  • Read pages 15-41, 53-64, 87-110  in Let the Church Say Amen!
  • Read “By Water and The Spirit” from the GBOD website (download, see above)
  • Create a worship service based around either a wedding or a funeral. You must include communion (yes, with all its attendant challenges!). It must contain full liturgy and space for a sermon. Hymns, special music and other liturgical elements must be included. It must be presented in a worship bulletin form with explanatory notes on reasoning and intent to follow. We’ll go over this in class prior to answer any questions.


Additional Information: Each assignment should be typed, double-spaced or legibly handwritten, with pagination numbers, and be accompanied by a completed cover sheet.   

Students should keep and bring a hard copy of each assignment to class.

Guidelines for writing pre-class assignments and information on academic dishonesty are provided in the Course of Study Policies Handbook, available on the website. Students who are found to plagiarize are subject to grading penalties, which may include dismissal from the school.

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