Synod Celebration
Hymnic Materials
Belhar Hymns
A Liturgical Miscellany
Musicals for Children
From the Silence
Europe 2008
Just for Fun
Contact Us

Liturgy for Commissioning Harold M. Delhagen as Synod Executive of the Synod of Albany

Music before the service:           Soar Like an Eagle   Dan Edwards

                                                Trumpet Tune in D Major   Bert Landman

                                                Bwana Asifiwe! (Praise the Lord!)  arr. Cathy Moklebust

                                                Sortie                                        César Franck

We approach God


During the hymn, participants will process: 


Harold & Donna

Pultneyville Consistory

Albany Synod Staff

Albany Synod Classis Presidents

Ecumenical Representatives

Classis of Rochester

Worship Leaders


The congregation remains standing; Kyle leads from the Table.

Let us worship God.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  Psalm 124:8

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Please, O Lord, please give us success!

We bless you from the house of the Lord.

The Lord is God, and has given us light.

O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good.

God’s steadfast love endures forever.  excerpted from Psalm 118:24-29

May grace and peace be yours in abundance

     in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.   2 Peter 1:2

And yours also.


The congregation is seated; Kyle continues

Beloved in the Lord, if we say that we have no sin,

     we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just

will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9

Let us therefore come before the throne of grace,

admitting our faults and asking forgiveness.


Prayer of Confession

Almighty God, we confess how hard it is for us to be your people.

You have equipped and called us to be the church,

to continue the mission of Jesus Christ

          to our lonely and confused world.

Yet we acknowledge we are more apathetic than active,

    more isolated than involved,

      more callous than compassionate,

        more obstinate than obedient,

            more legalistic than loving.

Gracious Lord, have mercy upon us and forgive our sins.

Remove the inner obstacles preventing us

     from being your representatives to a broken world.

Awaken our hearts to the gift of your indwelling Spirit,

     renew our zeal for the building of your reign.

We pray these things in Jesus’ name.  Amen.**

A period of silent confession follows.


Assurance of Pardon

Listen to these words that we may trust:

May you be made strong with all the strength

     that comes from God’s glorious power,

and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience,

     while joyfully giving thanks to the Father,

          who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.

God has rescued us from the power of darkness

and transferred us into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son,

          in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:11-14

Believe this good news and live in peace.  In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Thanks be to God.


Kyle invites the congregation to stand to sing.

For permission to use this hymn, contact Daniel Meeter: d.meeter@oldfirstbrooklyn.org


The congregation remains standing.

The Peace

Now in Christ Jesus all who once were far off

have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace; in his flesh he has broken down the dividing wall,

that is, the hostility between us.  Ephesians 2:13-14

Therefore, in his name, let us offer to one another a sign of Christ’s peace.

The peace of Christ be with you.

And also with you.

An appropriate word and/or gesture may be offered to your neighbor to convey to them your hope that they may have the peace of Christ.

God speaks to us

Kyle sits with the worship leaders; Lucie goes to the pulpit to read.


Listen for the Word of God from the book of the prophet Habakkuk.


Then the LORD answered me and said:

Write the vision;

make it plain on tablets,

so that a runner may read it. 


For there is still a vision for the appointed time;

it speaks of the end, and does not lie.

If it seems to tarry, wait for it;

it will surely come, it will not delay.


Look at the proud!

Their spirit is not right in them,

but the righteous live by their faith.


This is the Word of the Lord.


Lucie returns to her seat; Lois goes to the pulpit to read.


Listen for the Word of God in this story from the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.


When the sabbath was over,

Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices,

so that they might go and anoint him.

And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen,

they went to the tomb.


They had been saying to one another,

"Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?"

When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large,

had already been rolled back.

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe,

sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.


But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed;

you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.

He has been raised; he is not here.

Look, there is the place they laid him.

But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee;

there you will see him, just as he told you."

So they went out and fled from the tomb,

for terror and amazement had seized them;

and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.


This is the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Lois returns to her seat; Gregg goes to the pulpit and preaches


After the sermon, Gregg returns to his seat;

Kyle leads the congregation in standing for the hymn.


For permission to use this hymn, contact Hope Publishing Company, or consult your LicenSing, CCLI, or OneLicense catalogs.


We respond to God

The congregation is seated; Steve goes to the pulpit; Dan G. goes to the lectern

Presentation of the candidate

Steve begins:

Beloved in the Lord, we have come to commission

a minister of Word and sacrament

     into a specialized ministry of Christ’s holy church.

Christ alone is the source of all Christian ministry,

     through the ages calling men and women to serve.

By the Holy Spirit all who believe and are baptized

receive a ministry to witness to Jesus as Savior and Lord,

and to love and serve those with whom they live and work.

We are ambassadors for Christ, who reconciles and makes whole.

We are the salt of the earth; we are the light of the world.

Following his resurrection and ascension,

     Christ gave gifts to the church.

These gifts were that “some would be apostles, some prophets,

     some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,

     to equip the saints for the work of ministry,

     for building up the body of Christ.”

We stand within a tradition

     where deacons, elders, and ministers of Word and sacrament

     are called and empowered to fulfill an ordained ministry

     which enables the whole mission of the church.


Dan G. continues:

          As our Synod celebrates this new ministry,

we are also thankful for an important ministry just completed.

The Rev. Robert Hoffman, our stated clerk,

served as our temporary administrator for five years,

making a part-time job into a full ministry among us and on our behalf.

I would like him to rise so the Synod may show its appreciation.


After Bob has been thanked, Dan G. continues:

    The Classis of Rochester has approved the ministry given to Harold Delhagen

by the Regional Synod of Albany to be its Synod Executive.

We invite you to come forward, Harold, as a sign that you accept this ministry.


The members of Rochester Classis gather behind the communion table.  The candidate, escorted by his wife and members of the Pultneyville Consistory, comes and stands, facing the presiding officer and the classis.


After Donna and the Consistory have been seated, Steve  continues:

Specialized ministers are called to build up Christ’s church.

They are to proclaim God’s Word, to declare forgiveness through Jesus Christ,

to call publicly on the name of the Lord on behalf of God’s people,

     and to celebrate Christ’s holy sacraments,

          baptizing and presiding at the Lord’s Supper.

They are to be pastors and teachers,

building up and equipping those with whom they work,

showing the gospel of God’s grace in word and deed,

sharing people’s joys and sorrows,

encouraging the faithful, recalling those who fall away,

helping the sick and the dying,

serving with the whole church in its ministry to the world.


so all may know you are both willing and able

to accept this ministry of Christ’s church,

the classis asks you to reaffirm the vows you made

at your ordination as a minister of Word and sacrament.

Do you confess together with us and the church throughout all ages

your faith in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

Harold:     Yes, truly, with all my heart.


Steve shall invite the congregation to stand:

Let us all stand with Harold,

     confessing our faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed.


I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s 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.

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. Amen.


The congregation is seated; the Harold shall remain standing and give the answers in bold.

Steve continues:

Do you believe in your heart that you are called by Christ’s church,

and therefore by God, to this ministry of Word and sacrament?

Yes, truly, with all my heart.

Do you believe the books of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God

and the perfect doctrine of salvation, rejecting all contrary beliefs?

Yes, truly, with all my heart.

Will you proclaim the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;

upholding the witness of Holy Scripture against all schisms and heresies?

I will, and I ask God to help me.

Will you be diligent in your study of Holy Scripture

and in your use of the means of grace?

Will you pray for God’s people and lead them by your own example

in faithful service and holy living?

I will, and I ask God to help me.

Will you accept the church’s order and governance,

submitting to ecclesiastical discipline

should you become delinquent in either life or doctrine?

I will, and I ask God to help me.

Will you be loyal to the witness and work of the Reformed Church in America,

using all your abilities to further its Christian mission

here and throughout the world?

I will, and I ask God to help me.

Will you strive to fulfill faithfully, diligently, and cheerfully,

all the duties of a minister of Christ:

to preach the Word of God in sincerity,

to administer the holy sacraments in purity,

to maintain proper discipline in the household of God,

and to shepherd the flock faithfully?

I will, and I ask God to help me.



Steve shall stand with the Classis. Daniel M. shall go to the pulpit and give the charge to the minister.  The charge which follows shall be read. 

            "Harold Delhagen, I charge you to be a prophet, priest, and king. And I charge you to practice faith and hope and love.

            Be a prophet and work by faith. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evi­dence of things not seen. You have watched these churches in the Synod of Albany, their pastors and their consistories and their houses of worship. Now be for them a prophet and see them with the eyes of faith. See beneath their surfaces and tell them what you see, see the saints who have gone before them and have given them so much, and tell them what you see, see the future that lies before them, waiting with Christ, and tell them what you see. Speak to them of many things, but when you speak to them as a prophet, tell them of those things which faith sees. Only faith can see how the kingdom of God is already among them as something they need only receive, and only a prophet can explain how to receive it with both humility and pride, in both repentance and joy.

            Be a priest and work by hope. To live by hope requires sacrifice, the sacrifice of comfort and contentment with the present. I charge you as a priest to offer your own life as a sacrifice of thanksgiving. I charge you as a priest to offer the sacrifice of incense and convert your hopes for the synod into intercessions, that you have a place of incense in your study and that you cycle through intercessions for every church and every pastor every week. I charge you as a priest to offer the sacrifice of your mind in preaching to them and teaching them, and to offer the sacrifice of praise when you break bread with them, that they might recognize the Lord Jesus and they might be comforted by the hope that is in you.

            The least of these is a king and the greatest of these is love. Harold Delhagen, you love the Reformed Church, you love this region, the valleys of the Hudson and the Mohawk and the basins of Lake Ontario and Lake Chautauqua, this land­scape in which the Reformed Church is so deeply rooted and organically at home, you love the congregations of this Synod and you are proud of them. Now give to them your body and your soul. Let your power be love and your exercise be love, and not your own love only, but that love of Jesus Christ which comes through you from the Holy Spirit. The holes in your hands are your power, the holes in your feet are your strength, the wound in your side is your sword. Wage peace, be a lover, kiss these churches, be intimate with them, and most of all, let them love you, do what you have to do accept their love. Be a king, and work by love."   Reprinted by permission of Daniel Meeter

Beloved servant in Christ,

be attentive to yourself and to all the flock

given to your care by the Holy Spirit.

Love Christ: feed his lambs, tend his sheep.

Be an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

Attend to reading, prayer, study, preaching, and teaching.

Do not neglect the gift that is in you.

Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them,

so that all may see your progress.

Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching;

continue in these things,

for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Harold, guard what has been entrusted to you.

And when the chief shepherd appears,

you will win the crown of glory that never fades away.


Daniel M. returns to his seat; Dan G. addresses the Synod; Harold moves to face the congregation, with Rochester Classis delegates behind him.

Will the classis presidents please stand? Steve stands with the other presidents.

Friends in Christ, will your classes receive Harold

as their colleague in ministry sent by God,

working with him and listening to the prophetic voice God gives him?

We will.


Will the members of the Synod staff please rise?

Brothers and sisters in ministry,

will you accept Harold as your colleague and leader,

working among you in God’s name,

sharing your gifts and wisdom and humbly accepting his?

We will.


Will all the members of the Synod of Albany please rise

to affirm their acceptance of the Synod Executive

          whom God has given us?

Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ,

do you receive in the name of the Lord

          this servant Harold to be our Synod Executive?

We do.

Do you promise to honor his authority,

and welcome his pastoral care as a representative of Jesus Christ?

We do.

Do you promise to encourage and pray for him

as you labor together for the welfare of the world?

We do.

Do you promise him such financial, personal, and spiritual support

that he may serve among you with joy and not with grief?

We do.


The congregation (including Dan G. and Harold) is seated; Ellen goes to the pulpit and gives a brief, scriptural charge to the Synod.

"Sisters and Brothers in the Synod of Albany, “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.  I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.  And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, “having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God  (Phil. 1:3-11)

 A harvest of righteousness in the kingdom of God.  Think about it!  All over Albany Synod, kingdom gardens…producing the harvest of righteousness.   

 Just think of it, when Harold comes to visit, we will show him the garden! And when we send him emails or letters, we’ll want to include a photo of the garden—the Kingdom garden.  And after a while, we’ll celebrate together the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.  I wonder…. what seeds will we plant in the kingdom garden? 


faces close to the earth

seeds are dropped

one by one

covered with soil

sprinkled with water

 Then the waiting

Tentative green shoots 


what we know

There is life in the ground;

it goes into the seeds;

and it goes into the one who stirs it.”*

 Jesus said that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth: yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, And puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.

He also said that the kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.  The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.  But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.

 As we receive with joy Harold Delhagen as Synod Executive for the Synod of Albany, let us remember together, it is our Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom.

 To God be all glory and praise, now and forever." 

*  Charles Dudley Warner

Reprinted by Ellen's permission


Ellen returns to her seat; Steve goes to the pulpit and Dan G. to the lectern. Steve says:

In the name and by the authority of the Classis of Rochester,

I now declare that the Reverend Harold M. Delhagen is duly commissioned

as a specialized minister serving as Synod Executive

of the Regional Synod of Albany.


Dan G. says:

In the name of Albany Synod,

I declare that our covenant with God and Harold for his ministry among us

          is now fully constituted.

Thanks be to God.


Steve returns to his seat.

Harold stands, and Lois and Dan G. remove the stole Harold is wearing and place the new stole on him, then all three return to their seats.

Wes goes to the communion table and says:

            Paul gives us these words in the letter to the Romans.

          So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:

          Take your everyday, ordinary life—

    your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—

            and place it before God as an offering.

        Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for God.  Romans 12:1

Let us now present our offerings of thanksgiving to God.


As the offerings are gathered the organist will play.  The elements for the Lord’s Supper will be brought forward with the offering while we sing. 

For permission to use this hymn, contact Brummhart Publishing: permissions@brummhartpublishing.com


Wes says:

            Let us pray.

          Ever-present God,

        with this offering we present also ourselves,

         all that we have been,

         all that we are,

         all that we shall become,

        and our resolve to walk together in your way.

    Accept us and our offering, we pray, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.


The congregation is seated.  Wes takes the offering plates and stacks them, and places the communion elements on the table, then he and the ushers take their seats.


Meaning Of The Sacrament


Harold, Craig, Jan, and three Scotia elders stand at the communion table.

Harold begins:

Beloved in Christ, this holy Supper

is a feast of remembrance, of communion, and of hope.

We come to remember:      Christ was sent by God to die for our sins.

                                                          We are never forsaken.

We come for communion:          Christ has promised to be with us always.

                                                                   We share him in bread and cup.

We come in hope:     here Christ gives us a foretaste

of the feast we will share in the New Creation.

Since Christ has united us in the life-giving Spirit,

we are to share this Supper in love,

one with him, with each other and with all God’s saints.


Come, for all things are now ready!


The Lord be with you.                                 And also with you.

Lift up your hearts!                                      We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.        For it is holy and right to do so.


With joy we praise you, gracious God,

                   for you created heaven and earth,

                   made us in your image, and kept covenant with us—

                             even when we fell into sin.

We give you thanks for Jesus Christ, our Lord,

                   who by his life, death, and resurrection

                   opened to us the way of everlasting life.

Therefore we join our voices

                   with all the saints and angels and the whole creation

                   to proclaim the glory of your name.


A brief silence


Most righteous God, we remember in this Supper the perfect sacrifice

     offered once on the cross by our Lord Jesus Christ

for the sin of the whole world.

Together we proclaim the mystery of the faith:




In the joy of his resurrection and in expectation of his coming again,

we offer ourselves to you as holy and living sacrifices,

and we offer our prayers.

Jan continues

May every grace of ministry rest on your servant Harold,

     keep him strong and faithful,

     may he herald the joy of your kingdom, serving rather than being served.


Craig continues

Give your grace to this Synod.

Strengthen us in service, preserve us in harmony,

     use us to extend your reign of justice and peace.

Inspire your whole church with your Spirit of power, unity, and peace.


Jan continues

Lead all nations in the way of justice.

Direct those who govern,

     that they be fair, maintain order, support those in need,

     and defend the oppressed,

that the world may know your true peace.


Craig continues

Comfort and deliver, O Lord,

all who are in trouble…sorrow…poverty…sickness…grief…

Make us instruments of your wholeness and peace in their lives.


Harold continues

Send your Holy Spirit upon us

     so that this bread and cup may be for us

     the communion of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

May we and all your saints be united with Christ

     and remain faithful in hope and love.

Gather your whole church, O Lord,

     into the glory of your kingdom.

Even so come, Lord Jesus!


Craig shall take the bread and say:

The Lord Jesus, the same night he was betrayed, took bread;

and when he had given thanks,

he broke it                     take and break the bread

and gave it to them, saying,

“Take, eat;

this is my body which is given for you:

do this in remembrance of me.”


Jan shall pour juice into three cups and say:

In the same way, he took the cup after supper,

saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood:

this do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”


Craig shall say:

The bread which we break is the communion of the body of Christ.


Jan shall say:

The cup of blessing which we bless is the communion of the blood of Christ.


Jan and Harold, each accompanied by an elder, form two stations in the front of the sanctuary to serve communion by intinction; the congregation proceeds up the central aisle to the stations, returning by the side aisles; those in the back of the nave will go first, moving to the front, then those from the balcony.  Craig and the third elder serve the choir.


While the Supper is served, the choir sings:

“Let us talents and tongues employ”  (Linstead)

“Eat this bread”  (Eat this Bread)


After everyone has been served, Harold says:

            Sisters and brothers, since the Lord has now fed us at God’s table,

                    let us stand and praise God’s holy name with heartfelt thanksgiving!

For permission to use this hymn, contact Brummhart Publishing: permissions@brummhartpublishing.com


Jan, Craig and the elders return to their seats during the hymn; At the end of the hymn (the congregation remains standing), Harold says:

Almighty and ever loving God,

     you taught us to pray for ourselves and for others,

     and to give thanks for all of life.

In the name of Christ, whose outstretched arms gather us all as one family,

     we pray the family prayer he taught us, saying:

Our Father in heaven,

            hallowed be your name,

            your kingdom come,

            your will be done,

            on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

            as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial

            and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours

            now and forever.  Amen.


Harold comes to the table and says:

May the God of steadfastness and encouragement

     grant us to live in harmony with one another,

     in accordance with Christ Jesus,

so that together we may with one voice

     glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 15:5-6


For permission to use this hymn, contact the Church of Scotland Panel on Worship, or consult your CCLI, LicenSing, or OneLicense catalogs.

While we sing this several times, participants will recess:

Harold and Donna

Worship leaders

Rochester Classis

Classis presidents

Albany Synod staff



Music after the service: “Allegro” from Piece Héroique                       César Franck

This page was last edited on November 08, 2010
This site is copyright © 2008 by Brummhart Publishing.  All rights reserved.  Questions or problems concerning the site may be directed to the Webspinner.