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Lord's Baptism Sunday / Epiphany +1

New Year's Day Resources
Epiphany Resources


Seasonal Humor
Ms. Terri asked her Sunday School class to
draw pictures of their favorite Bible stories.
She  was puzzled by Kyle's picture, which showed four people on an airplane,
So  she asked him which story it was meant to  represent.
"The  Flight to  Egypt ," was his reply.
Pointing at each figure,  Ms.  Terri said,
"That must be Mary, Joseph, and Baby  Jesus. 
But  who's the fourth person?"
"Oh, that's Pontius - the  pilot!"
[ more humor ]

Worship and Sermon Resources


Prayer for Renewal of Baptism

O Giver of Light and Life, we come to you aware of the parts within us that are lost, broken, and even dirty--the parts that need your healing and cleansing touch. We ask you to baptize us today with the knowledge of our own humanity, and with a faith in your divine power to cleanse and heal us.

Open us up to a healing acknowledgment of our own weaknesses, so that we may experience the power of your divine perfection flowing into the depths of our souls. Create us anew, Divine Maker. Move into the formless void within us. Open our spirits to the Light that is always accessible within, so that we may learn and grow and build a heavenly life of happiness and service in your creation. Amen.



Children's sermons:

  • Water, children's sermon on Baptism / Lord's Baptism
    by Rev. F. Schaefer

  • Remember Your Baptism, children's sermon on Baptism / Lord's Baptism
    by Rev. F. Schaefer


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Sermon Excerpt:

Understanding Baptism
A sermon based on Mark 1:4-11
Rev. Karen A. Goltz

About a hundred years ago, a baby born in England, Lucille by name, was taken by her maternal grandmother to the local Wesleyan chapel to be baptized. Lucy’s father, a sturdy Anglican, was skeptical about the whole proceeding since the Church of England does not regard Methodist clergy as being in the apostolic succession. So he took Lucy to the Anglican church where she was baptized again. Now Lucy’s mother was a convert to the Salvation Army and didn’t think much of either the Wesleyans or the Anglicans. So she took Lucy to the local citadel for presentation under the banner of blood and fire—the Salvationist counterpart to baptism.

In time the family emigrated to the Midwestern United States. The community they moved into had neither an Episcopal Church nor an Army Citadel; so the family attended the Methodist Church. As a teenager, Lucy joined a class of those preparing to take the vows of church membership. Now it happened that the pastor was one of those mavericks who looks upon the practices of his own denomination with disapproval, and regards the baptism of infants as a misguided tradition. He therefore decreed that all in the class had to be “truly baptized” at the font on the day of their vows. Lucy’s mother discovered what was afoot and said, “Absolutely not. Three times is enough for anyone.” But Lucy was a good psychologist and knew that once her mother was seated in church, she would not make a scene. When the rest of the group went to the font, so did Lucy.

Now it came to pass that some years later Lucy fell in love with, and married, a Southern Baptist—but not without extracting from him a pledge that she need not be baptized yet again. He agreed that she was quite sufficiently initiated into the church, and all was well—until they moved to a community where they attended a Baptist Church that was in need of a pianist. Lucy loved to play, and seemed to be a providential gift to the congregation. But, ruled the deacons solemnly and steadfastly, unimmersed hands may not play the Lord’s songs for us. And so, for the fifth time, Lucy was initiated into Christ’s church. [From Baptism: Christ’s Act in the Church by Laurence Hull Stokey; Abingdon Press, 1982]

I don’t know if Lucy deserves a place in the Guinness Book of World Records or not, but her story is a helpful one when dealing with some of the confusion that surrounds the practice of baptism. Who can properly baptize? Is one denomination’s baptism more authentic than another? Is the water really necessary, or should it be a more spiritual experience? Does a person have to be a certain age and consent to it? Does the manner or amount of water matter? Can or should a person be re-baptized? And what exactly does baptism do, anyway? . . .

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Newsletter Article:

Good News to the "New Year’s Grouch!"
The “birth” of a new year is upon us.  How do you usually experience this event?  I guess it’s not much different from our morning attitudes.  Some people have a hard time getting up in the morning.  They wake up thinking: “do I really have to get up? Not another day of the same old, same old.” Or they may think: “not another day filled with pain or labor!”  This type of people, whom I like to refer to as morning grouches, usually need a couple of cups of hot java and a couple of hours into the day until they start to feel better about their day.

Then there is is the morning-type person who can’t wait to get up because they are looking for new opportunities the day may bring. Unlike the morning grouches, they wake up with a feeling of fresh hope.  These are the people that whistle on their way to work.  If you are a morning grouch, you will usually find yourself thoroughly annoyed at the morning-type person, because they just spoil our pity party.

I found that these attitudes often carry over when it comes to the start of a new year.  The morning grouch usually looks at a new year with skepticism, concern or even fear.  What sticks out mostly to them is the negative and how it might get worse.  The morning-type people usually also look at the dawn of the new year more optimistically. They are more likely to see the positive and the new opportunities.

This year, as always, God is calling on all of us to be “new year-type” people and greet the new year as a gift from our Heavenly Father.  Why? Because we have God on our side! If any book of the bible was written by a morning grouch, it would have to be Lamentations. But even this writer cannot help but acknowledge that there is hope for the future because of God’s faithfulness. He writes: “Yet, this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.”  Lam. 3:22-23.

O.K. if Mr. Lamentations himself could see hope at the beginning of every new morning, so should we.  A new year is like a new morning in many respects.  So, if you’re a morning grouch, take comfort in the fact that God is already greeting us in the new year.  God is the same, and God is and remains faithful and good!  Take courage and give thanks to God for his faithfulness even in the new year and beyond!

New Year's greetings and best wishes.

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