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A place for conversations about worship in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), including the proposed revisions to the Directory for Worship. 

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October 20, 2014

Directory for Worship: Chapter Four

The fourth chapter of the proposed revision to the PC(USA) Directory for Worship attends to special events and pastoral occasions in the lives of individual believers and in the community of faith: reaffirmation of baptism (including confirmation), commissioning for service, ordination and installation, transitions in ministry, the covenant of marriage, and the funeral service. All of these events and occasions in Christian life are related to and flow from the Sacrament of Baptism—our covenant relationship with God and one another in the body of Christ. Accordingly, a key phrase, beginning every section in this chapter, is: “In Baptism each Christian …”

This chapter of the revision is very similar in structure and substance to the fourth chapter of the current Directory, “Ordering Worship for Special Purposes.” Because of a proposed amendment on marriage, under consideration at the 221st General Assembly (2014), the revision did not change the section on marriage; now that the amendment has been approved by a majority of presbyteries, the new language on marriage will be reflected in subsequent drafts of this revision. The revision also suggests moving the “Constitutional Questions” for ordination and installation back to the Form of Government, where they were located prior to the revision of that document.


Questions for Reflection or Discussion

Read this section of the proposed revision, ideally alongside relevant sections in the current Directory for Worship. 

(1) What does the Sacrament of Baptism have to do with service in the world, ordination and installation, Christian marriage, and the funeral service?

(2) Why do we ordain and install certain persons to special forms of ministry in Christ’s name? How do our services of ordination reflect our theology of leadership and service?

(3) How does the Directory for Worship’s description of the marriage and funeral services compare with recent weddings and funerals you have attended?


EMAIL COMMENTS on the proposed revision to the Directory for Worship. For official consideration in subsequent drafts of the revision, all comments must be received in writing at this address by July 1, 2015.

Tags: chapter four, directory for worship, presbyterian