Litergy advice

Tips and examples to help you make your own service booklet

Producing your own Service Booklets: Introduction

Many churches produce their own service booklets and the advantages of this are many. There can be customization so that the local congregation has something that is easy to follow and suits their context. There can also be dangers; these include bad layout, textual mistakes and failure to observe copyright legislation. Awareness of the principles behind the Common Worship material is important. This web page contains some brief thoughts and some personal examples. The Diocesan Worship Advisory Group has looked at a number of parish service booklets and service sheets and produced a very handy A4 sheet on some of the basic things to think about. Producing your own service book. If you want more detailed help you should consult Producing your own Orders of Service by Mark Earey’s (CHP 2000) which contains a lot of excellent guidance. It is also well worth reading The Non-Designers Design Book by Robin Williams’ which gives the golden rules of desk-top publishing in a very easily assimilated way.

Handy Hints

Spend some time to think about what booklets to produce, what size they should be (don’t forget to produce some large-print versions as well), what extra resources you want to include (texts, hymns, illustrations, etc.). Printing booklets: Windows can print in booklet format from Word. Mac users can download for free their excellent ‘Create Booklet’ application. Use plastic wrap-around covers (available from An advantage of these is that once bought they can be re-used if you change your service content.

Service booklets: examples

Below are service booklets produced for the parish of St Bartholomew, Barrow. Everyone will want to ‘tweak’ Common Worship in their own way but hopefully these will stimulate thinking. To view the full booklet click on the booklet image.

  • They used a basic A5 format, usually of 36 pages (9 sheets of paper as 10 sheets gets very hard to staple).
  • The font is the same as that of Common Worship generally, i.e. Gill Sans.
  • To keep costs down the simple colour band is used to indicate the season.
  • There is a page of introduction which includes encouraging people to prepare for worship, a selection of hymns and songs that are not in our church hymn book, and finally some statements of Anglican belief.
  • The hymns/songs included have an index listing tunes and sources.
  • The seasonal booklets include some hymns and songs particularly appropriate for the season.
Holy Communion (Book of Common Prayer) Many people still love the text from the Book of Common Prayer, but ideas about page layout were very different then. One slight liturgical change is in the wording of the Prayer for the Church Militant: where 1662 has us just praying for ‘Christian Kings, Princes and Governors’, this has been changed to include “all kings and rulers”. Holy Communion (Book of Common Prayer)
Holy Communion (Ordinary Time) Includes three versions of the CW Communion Service and has a common introduction followed by three options. These are Prayers A and D and Order 2 (modern language). People only have to turn to the particular option which then flows through to the end of the service. Following the Confession and Absolution, ‘The Comfortable Words’ have been included. There is an Appendix giving the version of the Ten Commandments with corresponding verses from the New Testament. Holy Communion (Ordinary Time)
Advent Services Lent is a very short time. There is also the weekly lighting of the Advent Wreath and so we have included both Communion and Morning Worship. On page 18 are the Advent Wreath prayers from Times and Seasons and there are also six psalms that are particularly appropriate for Advent. Advent Services
Christmas and Epiphany - As well as the main seasonal Communion Service, also included is the ‘Midnight Communion’ service which draws on Times and Seasons material. Christmas is a busy time so it felt a real advantage to have something prepared for regular use for this big occasion. The additional resources on page 24 include a Carol Service bidding prayer, a prayer for the blessing of a Crib and an extra Christmas blessing. Christmas and Epiphany
Lent and Passiontide To help people throughout the season of Lent, the invitation to keep Lent is included inside the front cover. It was decided that the Ten Commandments would come before the Confession to act as an aid to the penitential aspect of the season. Eucharistic Prayer D was included as an option as it was felt that this was particularly appropriate for Palm Sunday. There are four appendices which make use of material from Times and Seasons. Appendix 1 on page 19 was a form of ‘Self-examination and Confession’ which can be used on Ash Wednesday; Appendix 2 contains an Introduction to Palm Sunday which includes a prayer when palm crosses are given out; Appendix 3 has some intercessions for Maundy Thursday; Appendix 4 has some words for the ending of the Maundy Thursday service. Lent and Passiontide
Easter to Pentecost As well as the main seasonal Communion Service this booklet includes an Easter Day Family Communion Service. The illustrations in the latter are from the QuickArt CD collection. Other resource material (pages 16-19) include a Celebration of an Easter Garden; The Renewal of Baptismal Vows; and Prayer for Personal Renewal. Easter to Pentecost
Morning Worship This booklet is basically a modern form of Morning Prayer but with more of an ASB feel to it than is found in Common Worship itself (see, for example, the introductory sentences and some of the responses). It has got an option within it to be shortened if a baptism is to take place within it. Various Canticles are included and also a large selection of Psalms. Some of these are from the CW Psalter but a large number were composed by the late Michael Perry and were in his book ‘Preparing for Worship’ (available from the Jubilate Hymns web site). Michael Perry particularly put these in a form to suit reading aloud (rather than chanting) and they work well in that format. Morning Worship