Annual International Ushers and Nurses Guild Convention Grand March, April 3, 2009, Mount Calvary Holy Church of America Inc., Washington, D.C.
USHERS AND NURSES GUILD DAY
MUSIC & WORSHIP RESOURCES
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Eli Wilson, Jr., Guest Lectionary Liturgist
Minister of Music at New Covenant Baptist Church of Orlando, FL; a recording artist; and founder of Eli Wilson Ministries, Inc., a resource ministry for church music leaders
Worship Planning Notes
“I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in tents of the wicked” (Psalm 84:10b, NRSV).
Webster’s dictionary defines a doorkeeper as someone on duty at a door or gate, especially someone who guards the entrance. That definition is correct, but in the Bible the doorkeeper was so much more. Being a doorkeeper was an important position. They were in charge of guarding the gates of the house of the Lord—the east, west, north, and south gates. “For the four chief gatekeepers, who were Levites, were in charge of the chambers and the treasures of the house of God. And they would spend the night near the house of God; for on them lay the duty of watching, and they had charge of opening it every morning” (1 Chronicles 9:26b & 27, NRSV).
Some were charged with taking care of the items used in the temple services. Some were assigned to care for the furnishings of the temple; some mixed the spices; some baked the offering bread; and some were in charge of preparing the bread that was to be set out on the table for the Sabbath. Some doorkeepers were also musicians—“Now these are the singers, the heads of ancestral houses of the Levites, living in the chambers of the temple free from other services, for they were on duty day and night”(1 Chronicles 9:33, NRSV). Doorkeepers were essential to temple worship.
Ushers and nurses guild members are partners in the worship experience with other church leaders. These volunteers play an integral role in worship. Ushering can, at times, be a thankless job. However, it is very much a form of ministry within the church. This reality is clearly seen within black churches. Ushers are our first contact and our support throughout the worship experience.
The work that is executed by ushers and nurses guild members starts well before attendees arrive. In most cases, ushers arrive at the church hours before service begins. They are responsible for ensuring that the programs and offering envelopes are prepared and organized, that the pews and surrounding areas are neat and cleaned, and that “post” assignments are made for those participating within the ministry on that day. And once service concludes, ushers are among the last few to leave. Nurses guild members are typically responsible for the church pulpit and more and more are the first responders to persons who may faint or suffer other moments of physical distress in church. Many nurses guild members and ushers are now even certified to perform CPR.
Modern church culture has somewhat reduced the position of doorkeeper to traffic directors—opening the doors, directing congregants to their seat, placing water and/or juice on the pulpit, and handing out fans. All these things are necessary; however, we need to see ushers in a more expanded way. In a symbolic way, the doorkeeper is the one who decides when and/or whether the doors will open to those who would see Jesus. They are the ones with the key to the door.
The doorkeeper’s position is that of a spiritual conduit. The doorkeeper is the first responder to the people’s anticipation and expectations. Worshippers who are trying to make their way to be in the presence of God are affected by the first persons they see and the look on the faces of those persons. The kind of hospitality extended in the house of God represents the spirit of God in the house where each doorkeeper and nurses guild member serves.
During this day of celebration, we want to present ushers and nurses as a part of the spiritual leadership whose ministry of service is essential to the worship experience.
Suggestions for Worship
If possible, guest ushers and/or youth ushers and nurses should serve to allow the adult and young adult ushers and nurses of your church an opportunity to rest. Ushers and nurses should be on their post at least 15 minutes before worship is to begin. Consider posting ushers on the outside—meeting worshippers as they approach the church building. Each adult usher should be paired with a youth usher. There should be ushers posted at each entrance, armed with a welcoming packet, a caring smile, and warm words of welcome.
Soft, worship-appropriate music should play as worshippers enter the sanctuary. The following are suggestions for pre-recorded music that can be played as worshippers enter the sanctuary and prior to the call to worship. (a) Surely the Presence of the Lord Is in This Place. By Lanny Wolfe
(b) Acceptable to You. By Eli Wilson, Jr.
(c) The Glory of the Lord. By Gloria Gaither, Richard Smallwood, and William Gaither
1. Responsive Reading
Ushers and Nurses Guild Day Litany (Psalm 84:1-5, 8-10; Psalm 27:4, 8)
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at the altar, O Lord of hosts.
One thing I ask of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.
Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
O Lord of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed.
“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek.
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to live in the tents of wickedness.
2. Ushers and Nurses Processional Step. By Gennifer Benjamin Brooks. Tune by Marilyn E. Thornton
3. Praise and Worship Choruses
(a) Lord, You Are Welcome in This Place. By Kurt Lykes
(b) Prepare Us, Lord. By Eli Wilson, Jr.
(c) Oh the Glory of His Presence. By Steve Fry
(d) In This Place. By Lanny Wolfe
(e) Holy, Holy Is the Lord. By Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio
(f) High Praise. By Corey Williams
4. Hymns and Congregational Songs (a) We’re Marching to Zion. By Isaac Watts. Tune by Robert Lowery
(b) O Worship the King. By Robert Grant. Tune by Johann Michael Hayden
(c) Make Me a Blessing. By Ira B. Wilson. Tune by George S. Schuler
(d) Sweet, Sweet Spirit. Text and Tune by Doris Akers
5. Spiritual Choral Arrangements (a) Feed-a-My Sheep. By William L. Dawson. For SATB
(b) I Can Tell the World. By Jester Hairston. For SATB
(c) Lawd, Ah Wants to Be a Christian in My Heart. By William Grant Still. For SATB
6. Other Choral Arrangements
(a) The Heavens Are Declaring. By Ludwig Van Beethoven. For SATB
(b) Psalm 150. By Louis Lewandowski. For SATB
(c) Seek the Lord. By John Carter. For SATB
(d) A Mighty Fortress. By Gordon Young. For SATB
7. Traditional and Contemporary Gospel Selections
(a) When I Rose This Morning. By Jerry Smith
(b) Majesty. By Joseph Davis
(c) Every Day with Jesus. By Kirk Franklin
(d) Usher Me. By Donald Lawrence
(e) To Our God. By Judith McAllister
8. Dance Ministry Music
(a) Trusting in You. By Donnie McClurkin
(b) I Really Love You. By M. Lamar Campbell
9. Mime Ministry Music
(a) I Am the One. By Kurt Carr
(b) Never Give Up. By James “Big Jim” Wright, Terry Lewis, and Yolanda Adams
(c) Rain on Us. By Ernest Pugh
10. Offertory Song or Instrumental
(a) Come and Go with Me. Congregational Praise Song. Arr. by Kenneth Louis
(b) We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise. By Kirk Dearman
11. Sermonic Selection
(a) Speak a Word. By Joe Pace
(b) Trust Me. By Richard Smallwood
(c) God’s Word Shall Stand Forevermore. By Eli Wilson, Jr.
(d) Speak to Me. By Rob Ellis
12. Invitation to Discipleship (a) Why Wait for Tomorrow. By Claude Jones
(b) God Restores. By Wayne Bucknor
13. Closing Hymn or Benediction (a) Stand Firm. By Eli Wilson, Jr.
(b) Healed by the Power of His Word. By Stephen A. Hurd
(c) Smile Medley (Part 2): God Has Smiled on Me. By Isaiah Jones, Jr.
Cites and Additional Information for Music and Materials Listed
Worship Planning Notes Pre-Recorded Music (while worshippers enter)
(a) Surely the Presence of the Lord Is in This Place. By Lanny Wolfe
Praise & Worship. Instrumental. Farnborough, Hants, UK: New Day, 2002.
(b) Acceptable to You. By Eli Wilson, Jr.
Eli Wilson Ministries, Inc.
P.O. Box 680712
Orlando, FL 32868-0712