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Planning Ahead: Worship in September

September is a time of new beginnings. The new school year, the new church school year, and a new year of church ministries and activities are all worth remembering, celebrating, and dedicating in worship.

Other themes and occasions for worship in September include re-gathering after the summer, celebrating the beauty of creation in autumn, remembering the tragedy of September 11, and celebrating significant Old Testament holidays.

Introduction to the Season of Ordinary Time

The name "Ordinary Time" sounds rather mundane, but as Alfred Fedak writes in Reformed Worship, "This designation is not meant to imply that these weeks represent an unimportant part of the Christian year. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Ordinary Time is a valuable reminder that the Christian life is an everyday vocation and is not reserved simply for special occasions. The very word ordinary derives from the Latin ordo, (“rule” or “order”); thus, these Sundays are numbered consecutively to mark the passage of time, which, like life itself, is a gift from God."

This season after Pentecost is also a season for growth—and in fact some churches use the name "Growing Time" for this season—as we celebrate our spiritual growth as individual believers and as the body of Christ.

Related Articles
The Pattern of the Christian Year
Ordinary Time: Counted Time of the Church Year by Dennis Bratcher 
Extraordinary Worship During Ordinary Time by Harry Boonstra (Reformed Worship)
Green Congregations Become Centers of Creation Care and Renewal by Joan Huyser-Honig
Green Congregations Advocate for People Affected by Environmental Problems by Joan Huyser-Honig
Daisy Rhau on Children, Creation Care and Worship by Joan Huyser-Honig
Worship in the Season of Creation and Earth-Themed Sundays by Joan Huyser-Honig
Green Congregations Celebrate God’s New Creation in Worship by Joan Huyser-Honig
Bob Waldrop on How Earth Care Led Him to God by Joan Huyser-Honig
Kristi Holmberg on Hope for Healing the Earth by Joan Huyser-Honig
Green Congregations Promote Sustainability by Joan Huyser-Honig
All Nature Sings- from Reformed Worship by Carol Bechtel

Lectionary Readings
Find the readings from the Revised Common Lectionary for these Sundays from the Vanderbilt Lectionary Project
Find resources for these readings from the Revised Common Lectionary from 

Worship Service Ideas
Making Music to the Lord: Commissioning of Worship and Music Ministry Staff (Psalm 27)
A Symphony of Service: A Celebration of Our Ministries (1 Corinthians 12) (adaptable for the beginning of the ministry year)
Setting Some Apart: Commissioning Office-Bearers (Acts 13)
Services for Ordination and Installation
Called to Serve: Readings and prayers for commissioning church school leaders (Reformed Worship)
Unless a Grain of Wheat Falls: A Service of Installation (Reformed Worship)
Litany: Prayer for the New School Year (Reformed Worship)
Remembering September 11 in worship and prayer
Celebrating God's creation (Reformed Worship)

Series Ideas
Growing in Grace: A four-week series to begin church education year (Reformed Worship)
The Joy of Generosity: Service Plans for a Three-Week Series on Stewardship (Reformed Worship)

More Planning Ideas and Resources
Reformed Worship
Center for Excellence in Preaching: This Week  
The Text This Week
Christian Classics Ethereal Library