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A thorough grounding in how to handle conflict in the congregation would be very valuable. 

Something to help ministers avoid preaching "slef help" sermons, yet incorporate good principles and practises that would help the congregation deal with issues of self esteem, relationships etc in the body of sermons which preach text in context, and preach the Good News of Jesus and His Grace.

How to address issues in modern life, politics, economics, poverty, same sex relationships etc. without being partisan.


The Jesse tree is a wonderful Idea that helps us celebrate the season of Advent.  I wonder if, instead of wishing everyone a Merry Christmas during Advent, we could wish each other Thoughtful Advent?  Then at Christmas, we could drop the name Christmas.  It is the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and it lasts 12 days.  Could we claim back the season for Christ by wishing everyone Merry Nativity?  And  before the Nativity Eve service wew could begin to turn the Jesse Tree into a Nativity Tree by adding symbols and figurines that have to do with Christ's birth?

It's important to emphasize that Baptism is a means of Grace, and that the movement is from God to the child, family, and congregation. Baptism is not about our profession of faith but God's Grace and Covenant Promises. Faith is called for as our response to Baptism.  So it's a time for parents and congregation to hear again the covenant promises of God and to renew their response in a common confessin of faith and  vow to live that faith in evry part of life.  The folowing is adapted from an alternative litrugy of the Church of England.  I think it woud serve us well as an option or example for incorporation and use in baptismal liturgies in the CRC.  It's important for the congregation to use the first person pural in their responses, because it is not merely as individuals we respond to what God does in Baptism, but as a Covenant Community, a community of the New Covenant in Christ.

A large candle may be lit. The minister addresses the parents and congregation.

In baptism, God calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light.

To follow Christ means dying to sin and rising to new life with him.

Therefore I ask:

Minister: Do you reject the devil and all rebellion against God?

Response: We reject them.

M: Do you renounce the deceit and corruption of evil?

R: We renounce them.

M: Do you repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbour?

R:  We repent of them.

M: Do you turn to Christ as Saviour?

R: We turn to Christ.

M: Do you submit to Christ as Lord?

R:  We submit to Christ.

M: Do you come to Christ, the way, the truth and the life?

R:  We come to Christ.

The Apostles' Creed may be said in question and answer form at the appropriate time in the service.

M: Do you believe and trust in God the Father?

All: We believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

M: Do you believe and trust in his Son Jesus Christ?

All: We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

M: Do you believe and trust in the Holy Spirit?

All: I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.


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