From Grace Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, S.D.
Our congregation used this transition service as we moved from our old sanctuary to the new sanctuary.
At the worship service, there were remarks about the memories the old building — all of the baptisms, marriages, funerals and events that had been held in this sanctuary, followed by a litany of Thanksgiving. The choir sang, “Thanks be to Thee.”
We then sang the first verse of “Now Thank We All Our God” and we left the sanctuary en masse carrying our hymnbooks following the Christ candle.
The congregation members taking the hymnals to the new space was symbolic of participating in the move from the old sanctuary to the new.
When we entered the new sanctuary, the organist (you will need two organists) was playing “Now Thank We All Our God,” the same hymn we sang as we left the old worship space.
The transition was happening.
Then we sang the last two verses of “Now Thank We All Our God.” A benediction was sung by the choir. Then the traditional “Go in Peace … .” We left the hymnbooks in the pews and went to the potluck in the fellowship hall.
It was very moving, especially the talk of what the old building had meant — some tears were shed.
At the close of the service following the prayers and Lord’s Prayer the following was shared:
Liturgy of Thanksgiving
Brothers and sisters in Christ: Let us give thanks for this church sanctuary and worship center which was dedicated for the ministry of God’s word and holy Sacraments, but which will now be used for an educational unit.
Reading: Moses said to the Lord: “If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
The Lord replied: “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:15,14).
Let us pray.
Blessed are you, O Lord our God. You fill the entire world with your presence; your name is to be hallowed through all the earth.
Receive our praise and thanksgiving for the blessings, help and comfort which you bestowed, upon your people in this sanctuary. Continue your mercies to your church, that we may be conscious of your unchanging love as we take leave of this place of worship and move to our new sanctuary; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.