COCU Index

COVID 19 prayers and resources

Pilgrim returns to worship in the church building 12th July but will continue to do online services via Facebook and Youtube (links on Pilgrim’s website). 

Service of Lament prepared by Pilgrim Uniting Church for #BlackLivesMatter – uploaded as video to Youtube on June 6th 2020. 

New resource: Church Anew blog
….spiritual reflections, imaginative biblical commentary, and thoughtful ideas for innovation (including Diana Butler Bass, Walter Brueggemann). 

WCC prayers: Djibouti, Somalia (12-18 July)
COCU48A, 19th July 2020
One Great Sunday of Sharing, 19th July 2020
A recognition and celebration of the Uniting Church being a multicultural Church for all God’s people. 
WCC prayers: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda (19-25 July)
COCU49A 26th July 2020
UCA Calendar: William Wilberforce (July 30), renewer of society
COCU50A, 2nd August 2020
(also, Hiroshima Day August 6th. Could also use some prayers for peace resources)
August 9th, International Day of the World’s Indigenous People recognition
COCU51A 9th August 2020
(Prayers for Peace – Korean Peninsula – August 13, 2017)

Citation index (Vanderbilt Library) in canonical order

UCA Calendar of commemorations

Ecumenical prayer cycle (World Council of Churches) 
2020 NCCA Ecumenical Prayer Cycle with lectionary readings

Components of worship – general
Acknowledgement of Land
Prayer of thanksgiving
Prayer of confession/prayers of who we are/Words of Assurance
Prayer for Illumination
Readings (see specific weeks)
Prayers for others
Lord’s Prayer
Prayer of Dedication
Benediction and sending out
(Communion Hymns)

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One Great Sunday of Sharing 19 July 2020

The declaration that the Uniting Church in Australia is a multicultural Church for all God’s people sets us on a journey of continual discovery and renewal. One Great Sunday of Sharing helps us to keep this focus at the heart of our common life in the UCA. It is held each year on the 3rd Sunday in July, or another date best suited to the local setting.
Uniting Church congregations, faith communities and fellowship groups are invited to come together to share stories of being both guest and host, in personal life, in relationship with other cultures, and of our experience of being Christian in a multicultural Church and a nation that is both multicultural and multifaith.  
It is an opportunity to spend time together with people whose culture and background is different from your own. 

A video of a service for One Great Sunday of Sharing has been prepared by Pilgrim Uniting Church which will be available on the Pilgrim Uniting Church Adelaide Youtube channel from Tuesday 14th July 2020.

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9 August 2020 – prayers for peace (Korean Peninsula)

Uniting Church members are encouraged to join in prayers for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

On Sunday, 11 August, 2019, Christians around the world will be praying for peace on the Korean Peninsula, which remains divided and without a formal peace agreement more than 70 years after the end of World War II. 

Romans 14:19: “Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

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Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28: Jacob loves his son Joseph more than his other sons, and gives a Joseph a beautiful robe. But, his brothers become jealous and sell him into slavery.
Psalm 105: 1-6, 16-22, 45b: A psalm of thanksgiving and celebration of what God has done as the psalmist remembers Joseph.
Romans 10:5-15: Becoming right with God is not about the law’s requirements, but about recognising the nearness of God’s word and responding to it in faith – which is why it is so important that there are those who will take the message to the world.
Matthew 14:22-33: Jesus walks on water to join the disciples in the boat as they struggle with the storm. Peter asks Jesus to call him to join him, but as he walks toward Jesus he fears and begins to sink. Jesus rescues him, and when they climb back into the boat, the storm dies down.
(Short summaries of Bible readings by John van de Laar, Sacredise. Also, reflections on the readings and local/global applications at the same link)

Water Walker
As the setting sun fell away
and the wind took the space of light
the waves
like a claw
shaped the tension
between stability and capsize
and the ghost called
from among the swell
‘step out! step out!’
and as Peter’s foot
sank into the waves
with the first steps
of an impossible journey
the miracle was born:
not that Jesus was a water-walker
but that Peter
with a surge of belief
that tore through doubt
loosened himself
from that which he was familiar
but the devil of deception
robbed him
with a last pull
and faith fell away
and in that single moment
the Saviour caught him
‘o ye of yet little faith’
which hid a promise
that realises
from little seeds
kingdom’s grow
and this was only the start
for a disciple who always willing
to get his feet wet
(Source: Roddy Hamilton, 2011)

Trepidation or Hope? (Matthew 14:22-33)
Why did Jesus send
the disciples away first
and the crowds later?

Against a strong wind
the disciples worked in vain,
with trepidation.

When Jesus turned up
on that dark and stormy night
they were terrified.

Do we work today
with trepidation or hope
that Jesus turns up?
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, 2017, the billabong)

Out of the Boat (reflecting on Matthew 14:29)
Save me.
l hear you calling me to step out of the boat.
l hear you calling me out onto the tumult – out into the sea of humanity.
l hear you calling me away from what l think as safe.
I hear you calling and l want to step out in faith,
but I am afraid
What if I sink?
What if I am swamped?
What if I don’t have enough faith?
But I will trust in your love.
But I will put my faith in you.
Save me, Lord, from myself.
May it always be so
(Source: Jon Humphries)

Loving through the storms 
(could be used for quiet reflection/Prayers of who we are)
The worst storms, Jesus, are the ones caused by our fear,
when we grow afraid of losing our power,
or we grow suspicious of the power of others,
when we refuse to acknowledge your mysterious authority;

Yet, it’s in the storm that we find our capacity to love.
In releasing our weak claim to power
and opening to your reign,
we discover a new way of seeing ourselves –
as called and useful and beloved –
and the other, whoever they may be –
as dignified and precious and beloved.

Here in the storm, Jesus, we need you, and we need each other,
and the love you give us to share,
leads us through sacrifice and self-giving
to peace and calm,
if only we will loose our hold on fear. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

More resources to come…
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Hiroshima Day, August 6th

WCC to observe 75th anniversary of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
August 2020 will mark 75 years since the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To coincide with the occasion the World Council of Churches will share a series of reflections of survivors and renew its call for a world without nuclear weapons. The Uniting Church in Australia National Assembly will also co-host an online interfaith service on Thursday 6 August at 6.00pm, to observe the occasion. (Check out local times)

A Prayer for Hiroshima Day
Like most traumatic scars, the ones that are found in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are permanent: reminders of the terrible damage human beings can inflict.
Similar scars can be found in the hearts and souls of people around the world who understand this terror: scars of grief, sadness, fear and even shame.
None of these scars promise an end to war and devastation. Instead, they serve as a reminder of healing and renewal – of a return to life.
Gracious God, Spirit of Life and Love, help us to see our scars: those we have created, those we are called to witness, and those we can soothe and heal.
We are deeply grateful for the buds and blossoms that even the most scarred offer as a revelation to the world.
And, especially on the anniversary of Hiroshima Day, we renew our commitment to peace individually, collectively and globally:
To “peace within” which calms our anxieties and fears,
To “peace between” which overcomes differences, animosities and conflict,
And, to “the great peace,” beyond even our understanding, that is Your gift and which we attempt to be stewards of for the world. Amen.

Carol Hallman wrote: “I just got back from Japan a couple of weeks ago. I was greatly moved by the Atomic Dome in Hiroshima and so I wrote the attached piece in response to that. August 6th is Hiroshima Day of Remembrance.” There was a time when there would never be a worship service at the beginning of August that did not include a prayer for peace, a children’s message with cranes, a deep sadness … and many tears. Here are her words. You are freely given permission to share her them with attribution.

I did not expect
The tears

Standing on the
Holy Ground of

In the shadow
Of the dome
The ruins stand

Testament to
war bombs
hate fear

I did not expect
The tears
For people long dead

Perhaps they were
The lucky ones
No hanging onto life

So many others
Radiation sickness
Cancer lingering
But just as deadly
Killing just as surely

I did not expect
The tears
At the starkness of
The reminder
Of what war brings

Lives unlived unfulfilled
Dreams lost
Families torn apart

The bricks lie
Precisely as they
Did that day
There is a sense
Of voices long silenced

Cries long gone
Fire is out
Fear gone

I did not expect
The tears
Take off your shoes
Holy ground indeed
The Peace bell
Rings echoing
Offering hope

And a reminder
That we aren’t there

I did not expect
The tears
But they came
In remembrance
Of what once was

They came
In sorrow and in
Hope of a better

** The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (広島平和記念碑 Hiroshima Heiwa Kinenhi), is the site of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, now commonly called the Genbaku Dome, or Atomic Bomb Dome (原爆ドーム Genbaku Dōmu). The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruin of the exhibition hall memorializes those who were killed in the atomic bombing which obliterated Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. Intended for the Aioi Bridge, the bomb instead exploded directly over the Shima Hospital, near to the Genbaku Dome. Because the explosion was directly overhead, it retained its shape. Over 70,000 people were killed instantly by the bomb, and another 70,000 suffered fatal injuries from the radiation.
(sourced from Gifts in Open Hands)

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Memorial Observance Worship and Prayer Resources – UMC (excellent prayers and resources)

This is the day, August 6th,
when history reminds us
the terrorism, the barbarism we’re capable of:
destroying an entire city full of innocent civilians
just to frighten a leader or two.

Lest there be any question,
three days later we’ll do it again.
Not military targets, just shocking.
Pure terrorism.
We’ll justify it,
wrap it in strategy and politics and patriotism,
as if we had no other choice—
but hundreds of thousands will die,
and more will suffer, for a generation,
a generation.

It’s how we do things.
We firebombed Tokyo in the night of March 9,
killed 100,00, destroyed 16 square miles of city,
and left a million homeless.

We did that to 67 Japanese cities.
Civilian deaths. Sixty-seven entire cities.

We are a great people.
And this, also, is who we are.
We will never escape our own violence
until we confess it.
We will never attain true greatness
without true honesty.

Let this be a day of confession, mourning and humility,
and a day of compassion.
Let us begin to be people of peace.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Prayers for Hiroshima Day
God our creator and sustainer, we gather to pray in the midst of a broken people who today remember the darkness and the shadow of death and destruction caused by nuclear weapons.
We know that we deal falsely with the world and with ourselves, healing wound too lightly by saying ” peace, peace” when there is no peace.
Let there be sown is us anew the unity, the light and the peace which passes all understanding. Be with us today and keep our minds and hearts in you and in your peace
We remember the 300,000 people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who died as a result of the atomic bombs: May they rest in peace.
We remember all those who died in the war with Japan, especially those who perished in the prisoner of war camps.
We remember those who gave their lives to help those suffering after the bomb and who died of radiation sickness. May their faithful and loving witness inspire us to compassion.
We remember the people of the Middle East – in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Israel. Each day brings news of more violence. We pray that nonviolent solutions may be found to heal wounds, bring justice and lasting peace to them.
We remember those who were able to forgive the suffering inflicted on them by their enemies in war. We pray for the same greatness of heart.
We will remember the peacemaker visionaries who have come before us, and we will give thanks for their witness and their commitment to life.
We pray we may be transformed by God and witnesses to the peace message of Jesus.
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Genesis 32: 22-31: Jacob spends the night on the banks of the Jabbok River where he wrestles with a man until dawn. In the fight, Jacob is injured, leaving him with a limp, but he is also blessed and his name is changed to Israel.
Psalm 17: 1-7, 15: A prayer for God to listen to and rescue the psalmist, who affirms his commitment to follow God’s ways and be faithful, and to trust in God’s willingness to answer his prayer.
Romans 9:1-5: Paul expresses his love and concern for his Jewish brothers and sisters, and celebrates the covenants, promises, law – and the Christ – that the Israelites received from God.
Matthew 14:13-21: Jesus tries to get some time to himself after hearing of John’s death, but the crowds find him, and end up, late in the day, in a remote place and without food. Jesus instructs the disciples to feed them, but they object that they only have few resources. Jesus then feeds the crowds with the disciples’ food, after which baskets of leftovers are gathered up.
(Brief summary by John van de Laar, Sacredise. John’s global and local application also worth checking out on the same link).

(Readings in a double sided landscape format –COCU50A.RCLReadings.PDFversion)

The struggle is where the blessing begins by Jan Richardson.

‘Struggle and blessing’ – reflection by Jan Richardson. (use of the image info here)

Rev Sarah Agnew’s reflection on ‘struggle and blessing’.

Note: Resources specifically based on the Jacob wrestling with the angel reading are noted with an asterisk and the letter J (*J)

Acknowledgement of land – may also reference the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People recognition (August 9)

Opening words
On a winter’s morning on this first Sunday in August,
it is a good morning to be together!
Drawn by the warmth of faces familiar and new,

to the welcoming space of this sacred place.
It is a good morning to be together.
For this is a place where truth, love, and challenge meet.
(Source: B Cheatham, adapted)
Here, in this time, we can remember the ways God has graced us:
here, in these moments, we are reminded
God is with us, always!

Here are gathered those daring enough to step out of comfort
into the unknown:
here, in this faith space, we will find the courage
to recognize our need.

For we have gathered here in community,
in company with each other,
in company with God.
There is a safe place for each of us.
In our gathering, let us be open to new understandings,
reassurance and hope.
Let what we say and do here be both real and honest,
thus preparing ourselves for the life of the world. Amen.

Call to worship (*J)
The day breaks
And God does not let us go.
The hour calls
And God does not let us go.
When evening falls
God holds us fast.
Let us turn to God in worship
God, who never turns from us.

Gathering Prayer (*J)
Leader: God, you see us.
East: You see our struggles.
West: You see our difficulties.
East: You see our possibilities.
West: You see our promise.
East: Soften the hard spots with your blessing.
West: Call us in our wandering to hear you say our names.
All: For you are a good God, a God present in the scramble,
And in the end, you always, always have a blessing.
Leader: For this and so much more, we give you thanks!

(*J) In her book Scarred By Struggle, Transformed By Hope, the Benedictine nun and writer Joan Chittister uses the Jacob story as a paradigm for a “spirituality of struggle.”
In Jacob’s story she identifies eight elements of our human struggle:
change, isolation, darkness, fear, powerlessness, vulnerability, exhaustion, and scarring.
But with each human struggle there is a corresponding divine gift:
conversion, independence, faith, courage, surrender, limitations, endurance, and transformation.
“Jacob does what all of us must do, if, in the end, we too are to become true. He confronts in himself the things that are wounding him, admits his limitations, accepts his situation, rejoins the world, and moves on.”
The end result of the nocturnal struggle for Jacob, the cheater and liar, was God’s blessing: “God blessed Jacob there” (32:29).
(this could be offered during prayers of confession/prayers of who we are, followed by a time for quiet reflection).

Jacob’s Blessing (*J)
If this blessing were easy,
anyone could claim it.
As it is,
I am here to tell you
that it will take some work.

This is the blessing
that visits you
in the struggling,
in the wrestling,
in the striving.

This is the blessing
that comes
after you have left
everything behind,
after you have stepped out,
after you have crossed
into that realm
beyond every landmark
you have known.

This is the blessing
that takes all night
to find.

It’s not that this blessing
is so difficult,
as if it were not filled
with grace
or with the love
that lives
in every line.

It’s simply that
it requires you
to want it,
to ask for it,
to place yourself
in its path.
It demands that you
stand to meet it
when it arrives,
that you stretch yourself
in ways you didn’t know
you could move,
that you agree
to not give up.

So when this blessing comes,
borne in the hands
of the difficult angel
who has chosen you,
do not let go.
Give yourself
into its grip.

It will wound you,
but I tell you
there will come a day
when what felt to you
like limping

was something more
like dancing
as you moved into
the cadence
of your new
and blessed name.
(Source: © Jan Richardson,, from the book The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief)

The prayers of who we are (*J)
God is present to us, but we don’t always feel it.
God is good to us, but we can’t always accept it.
Fact is, there are things within and around us that attempt to step between us and our relationship to God’s goodness.
Sometimes our senses are dulled to the possibility of finding God in unexpected places and people.
Sometimes there are things that we think, things that we do,
that act to separate us from God. A time for silent reflection

Words of assurance (*J)
God is present!
God is with us! Thanks be to God.

Prayers of who we are – a quiet reflection (*J)
Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak…
Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day is breaking.’
But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go, unless you bless me.’ Genesis 32.24, 26

The angels you’ll have to wrestle with most often
are no strangers:
they’re your anger, fear, control, defensiveness,
your despair, blame, insecurity, avoidance.
You won’t get away without a fight.

They may also be God’s forgiveness,
the Beloved’s absolute acceptance,
God’s serenity in the face of your betrayal,
God’s accompaniment in your troubles.
You won’t accept them without a fight.

You’re not wrestling with what’s happening;
you’re wrestling with your feelings about it:
not the problem but its difficulty,
not the suffering but how you take it personally.
The angels are not your world, but your self.

So wrestle. Grab them firmly.
Feel their breath on your neck,
their body against yours,
the weight of their intent.
Let your sweat mingle.

Learn their moves.
They’re your sparring partner,
not out to destroy you
but to shove you into the face of God.

Who knew divine intimacy
could be so hard?
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

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National Tree Day Sunday 2nd August 2020

National Tree Day, proudly sponsored by Toyota Australia, was co-founded in 1996 by Planet Ark and Olivia Newton-John. It has now grown in to Australia’s largest community tree planting and nature protection event. Planet Ark is asking Australians to help us plant one million new native trees and shrubs across the country. After the decimation of trees in the 2019-20 bushfire season in Australia, this year more than ever we need to be planting trees. 

Schools Tree Day Friday 31st July 2020
National Tree Day Sunday 2nd August 2020 

Creator God,
Out of chaos you brought order.
Out of nothingness you brought life.
In the middle of all life stands the tree.
Trees provide the air that nurtures all your creation.
Birds make them their homes.
Cats climb them for protection.
Trees recycle life that has come before.
Bless the trees of this word, loving God.
Remind us to serve as their caregivers and protectors.
Give them long limbs and long life.
The gift of their breath is as special to us as the breath of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Migrant and Refugee Sunday.23rdAugust 2020

Refugee and Migrant Sunday is a celebration of the dignity of people who are refugees and migrants and the contribution they have made to life in Australia.  It is celebrated by the Churches together on or around the last Sunday of August each year.
(see also resources in World Refugee Day)
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Genesis 29:15-28 Jacob serves Laban for Rachel and Leah
Psalm 105:1-11, 45b God, and God’s people
Romans 8:26-39 The future glory
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 parables about the kingdom & hidden treasure

Mucky Paws Roddy Hamilton

COCU49A.Worship resources compilation

The Spirit is breathing.
All those with eyes to see,
women and men with ears for hearing
detect a coming dawn;
a reason to go on.
They seem small, these signs of dawn
perhaps ridiculous.

All those with eyes to see,
Women and men with ears for hearing
uncover in the night
a certain gleam of light;
they see the reason to go on.
Dom Helder Camera

Pilgrim Uniting Church services this week (2017): COCU49A.Pentecost8A.Midweek.PDFversion

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Genesis 28:10-19a
Psalm139:1-12, 23-24
Romans 8: 12-25
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43


You Have Searched Me, Lord, And Known Me
NETTLETON D (“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”)
You have searched me, Lord, and known me! All my life is in your care.
When I lie awake in evening, you are always with me there.
When I rise to greet the morning in an attitude of praise,
what I learn from you is humbling: You already know my ways.

Lord, you know the song I’m singing and my words before I pray.
You’re behind me and before me as I travel through each day.
You once knit me all together; You created me by grace.
In your eyes, you see and love me as you treasure all my days.

Lord, I try to learn your wisdom, but I cannot understand.
Yet your love is all around me; I am part of all you’ve planned.
Let me sing your praise each morning, let me serve you all day through,
and in evening, make me peaceful, knowing this: I’m loved by you!
Biblical Reference: Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
Tune: John Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music, 1813
Text: Copyright © 2014 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: New Hymns:

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Genesis 25:19-34
Rebekah gives birth to twins, who wrestle with each other from the womb. Then, Esau, the older twin, sell his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew.
Psalm 119:105-112
The psalmist celebrates God’s word, committing to obeying God’s commands even when life is difficult and enemies threaten.
Romans 8: 1-11
In Jesus we have access to God’s life-giving Spirit who frees us from the power of sin that brings death.
Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23
Jesus sits in a boat and teaches the crowds through parables – in this instance, the parable of the seed that falls on different kinds of ground and produces different results.
(Bible reading summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Church of Scotland
Rex AE Hunt

Video of the parable of the sower from The Work of the People (subscription needed to download)

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