COCU Index

COVID 19 prayers and resources (new prayers by Ann Siddall Sept 2020) 
A liturgy at the time of dying (for those who are isolated from the dying) NEW
#BlackLivesMatterresources (new: A Prayer for Breonna Taylor)
Sunday Prayers by Nadia Bolz-Weber
A prayer in the shadow of a pandemic and the barrage of bad news by Nadia Bolz-Weber

NEW musicSongs of Hope, Faith and Love (Australian) with lyrics, chords and recordings

Lectionary and prayer resources and special days/weeks – Oct/Nov 2020
WCC Prayer Cycle: The Caribbean (18 – 24 Oct)
International Pronouns Day, 21 October 2020 (3rd Wednesday in October)
October 22: anniversary of the National Apology to Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse in Australia. A 2019 Liturgy of Acknowledgement and Lament downloadable liturgy here and a 2018 resource here.
New pre-recorded liturgy for 2020 will be posted here
COCU63A, 25th October 2020
WCC Prayer Cycle: Canada, USA (25 – 31 Oct)
Reformation Day, 31st October (Reformers of the Church)
(All Saints Day 62A Nov 1) faithful servants
COCU64A, 1 Nov 2020
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP), 1 Nov 2020
UCA Calendar: Soren Kierkegaard Christian thinker (Nov 4)
Remembrance Day, Nov 11th
COCU65A, 8th November
COCU66A, 15th November 2020
(also World Toilet Day)
(UN World Children’s Day Nov 20)
International Transgender Day of Remembrance (ITDR) Nov 20

Pilgrim Uniting Church online Facebook and Youtube 

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

Starters for great resources
Lectionary Liturgies (Thom Shuman) with HC each week
Singing from the Lectionary
Church of Scotland Weekly Worship
Together to Celebrate
Pray the Story
UCC Worship Ways

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

Narrative lectionary

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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Kristallnacht: “Night of Broken Glass” 9 Nov 1938

On the evening of November 9-10, 1938, the German Reich unleashed a pogrom against the Jews, burning down synagogues and smashing the glass fronts of Jewish shops in Berlin and all big cities in Germany and Austria. The pogrom was allegedly in retaliation for the assassination of a German diplomat at the German Embassy in Paris by the 17-year old Herschel Grynszpan.

To describe it, the Nazis coined the phrase Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass. On that night 91 Jews were killed, 30.000 Jews sent to Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg concentration camps. 5.000 Jewish shops were looted, 191 synagogues attacked, bonfires made of Torah scrolls, prayer books and volumes of Jewish history, philosophy and poetry. This action was a signal event whose importance in the history of the Shoah or Holocaust, as it is also called, is that it represents the shift from mass arrest and terror to mass murder. From the time of Kristallnacht onwards, the momentum of the Holocaust gathered force and led to the wholesale persecution and the killing of six million Jews including one and a half million children.

The Night of Broken Glass was crucial in the movement towards the Final Solution, a systematic programme of genocide, which was designed to annihilate every Jew in Europe. Soon would be added the deaths of millions of civilians, service men and women and partisans during WW II.

Australian story
An Aboriginal man, William Cooper, was the only person to stage a private protest against the Nazi persecution of the Jews. An important piece of history.

(from a service in New South Wales)
We remember a night of darkness and fear that swept the heartland of Christian Europe like a scourge. We remember those who were persecuted. Jews for being Jews. We remember those who spoke out, brave souls who tried to save a world.

And we remember the silence! How many stood aside, mute and unconcerned forgetting the divine command: “You shall not stand idle while your neighbour bleeds.”

For the sin of silence,
For the sin of indifference,
For the secret complicity of the neutral,
For the closing of borders,
For the washing of hands from blame,
For the crime of forgetfulness,
For the sin of meaningless rhetoric,
Let there be no forgetfulness before God, and let memory startle us at any moment, when we lie down and when we rise up. Let us remember and never forget.

Golden crystal hope – a blessing to go
Hope is the gold we melt and pour
between the crystal pieces, shattered,
smatterings and scatterings beneath our feet.
Tread carefully, hold gently the shards,
bear the wounds the healing cuts.
Offer the sacred price for peace, to mend
the broken crystal at our feet.
May the Holy bless us as we go, in peace. Amen

Source: Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story. Written for the commemoration of 80 years since Kristallnacht, the state-sanctioned demolishing of Jewish synagogues, schools, homes, and businesses in Germany and Austria; written for the interfaith gathering hosted by The Canberra Jewish Centre and Wesley Uniting Church, 7 November 2018, at which was premiered the work by Elena Kats-Chernin, ‘To Mend Broken Crystal…’, which inspired this blessing.

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COCU67A.Reign of Christ.22Nov2020

Ezekiel 34: 11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100
Ephesians 1: 15-23
Matthew 25: 31-46

See also Reign of Christ B and Reign of Christ C

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International Pronouns Day

International Pronouns Day began in 2018 and “seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people’s multiple, intersecting identities”.

“This person I know,
Wants to be called they,
It could bring people much closer,
To see them that way.
It’s a strange thing to think,
And harder to say,
But they are so happy when the effort is made.
For all the theys and thems,
It is this that I pray,
We will be kind and accepting,
And just let them be they” (Sam Smith, Instagram post)

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Judges 4:1-7
Psalm 123
1 Thes 5: 1-11
Matt 25: 14-30

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Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25:
Joshua challenges the people to turn from their idols and serve only God, and they commit to doing so.
Psalm 78:1-7:
A call for people to hear a message of God’s greatness and goodness, remembering how God gave the people laws and instructions so that they and their children could remember God’s deeds and hope in God.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:
A word of encouragement to remind the believers that death is not the end, but that believers, both dead and alive, will enjoy life eternal in union with Christ, which is our Christian hope.
Matthew 25:1-13:
Jesus tells a story about bridesmaids who are waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom at a wedding. Some have extra oil and are able to wait for as long as it takes, while others, who do not have extra, have to leave to find more and so miss the groom’s arrival. Then, when they return, they are shut out and not allowed in. Then Jesus encourages his hearers to be alert.
(RCL readings summary by John van de Laar, Sacredise)
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NAIDOC Week 8-15th Nov 2020

2020 NAIDOC theme – Always was, always will be. 
DEFERRED FROM JULY – Now 8th-15th Nov 2020
NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. It is an opportunity for all Australians to come together to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait people, and participate in a range of activities and to support local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. To follow the celebrations or find out more information, visit the NAIDOC Week website. Continue reading

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COCU62A.All Saints Day.1Nov

Readings: Year A
Rev 7: 9-17: They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Psalm 34: 1-10, 22 
O taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him
1 John 3: 1-3
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are
Matthew 5: 1-12: Beatitudes

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International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) – first Sunday in Nov

IDOP is recognised on the first Sunday in November each year, dedicated to the saints and martyrs of the Christian faith and for persecuted communities. IDOP website here.
In 2020 this falls on November 1st, which is also the closest Sunday to All Saints Day.

God, you know
The plight of people far away
Oppressed by governments and vigilantes
In places
Where Christianity is an unpopular choice.
God, you knew
That the day would come here
When truth-telling would be despised
And siding with the oppressed
Part of the road less travelled.
Have mercy, O God,
Upon persecuted Christians there and here
Who are willing to suffer consequences
For speaking your Name
In word or in deed
In defiance or in advocacy.
Grant courage and strength
To all who would dare
To live their convictions out loud. Amen. (UMC Discipleship) Continue reading

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Words to introduce Passing of the Peace

Christ is our peace. He has reconciled us to God in one body by the cross.
We meet in his name and share his peace.
The peace of the Lord be always with you. And also with you.
We offer each other a sign of peace.

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World Mental Health, 10th October

Hey God,
We’re not down, we’re not out, but we’re hurting.
This vulnerability sits like an open wound and
every new hit jars it.
We breathe through it, lean into it,
listen for what the pain has to tell us.

Lend us quiet that allows us to hear
the harmonies of the universe that let
us know, even in this, as we are, we have
a place in the order of things.

Lend us space that allows us freedom
for those things that are tight to loosen,
those thoughts and events moving quickly
time to slow so that we can look and
see them clearly.

Lend us peace that allows us grace
to tell the difference between our internal
and external insecurities – our own and
also of those around us.

There is much that is unknown,
but You are not.
We are grateful for that.

Lead us. Teach us. Send us. Amen
(Talitha Fraser, Godspacelight)

Caring for Community: a mental health resource for congregations, prepared by Uniting Church in Australia, SA Synod. While this is not a resource for worship, it does offer many ways of understanding mental health that may offer entry points for reflection or a sermon.

Dark Dealer: There’s a dark inside for everyone (Sarah Agnew) – including Soundcloud reading.

Mental illness is something which needs to be included in liturgy and prayers, not only on particular ‘weeks’ and ‘days’ but acknowledging that many people in congregations struggle with mental illness while at the same time they seek to worship God and find meaning in their life, and faith. Farmers struggle with depression and sadly the rate of farmer suicides in the USA and Australia is double the average for the rest of the population (especially in the younger age group of farmers).

(NB a caution against closely linking mental illness with racist acts and hate crimes perpetrated against innocent people need to be considered separately, even if mental illness may be considered a factor).

friendsR U OK?Day See also Wikipedia link here.
From Wikipedia: R U OK?Day reminds people to ask family, friends and colleagues the question, “R U OK?”, in a meaningful way, because connecting regularly and meaningfully is one thing everyone can do to make a difference to anyone who may be struggling. Around 45% of Australians will experience mental illness in their lifetime, while 20% are affected every year. 

World Mental Health Day  is 10th October and part of Mental Health Week.
(these are dates for Australia – check out dates in your own country eg Mental Health Day in USA is in May)

The following has links to worship resources related to mental illness, depression etc. It is an area that clearly affects almost half the population at some stage in their life, and yet is almost never mentioned in church and worship.

For those Sunk in Depression
by Jon Humphries

God of Joy and Hope,
Christ of compassion,
For those sunk in depression we pray for their uplifting.
In the maze of dark emotions,
may your light guide them to a way out
and may it shine in those who care to help them on the journey.
In the midst of hurt and hopelessness,
may your life awake in them the promise of healing and better times.
At times when the cycles of and habits negativity take root,
weed them out and plant the seeds for happiness and positivity to grow.
When all certainty seems to point to no future which does not hold sadness
and the aching of the soul, may they know the truth of your love and promise.
In the paralysis of unfeeling apathy and no desire to rise from sleep
or no purpose in caring to care,
may your will be lent to them so that the reason for love may awake within them.
In the battle against this insidious enemy,
may those who struggle find allies to help them in the fight.
For those lost in the valley of the shadow of death,
may they find that you are there looking out for them.
God of Joy and Hope,
Christ of compassion,
We pray for all whose life is being crushed under the burden of depression,
Bring around them people of sympathy, empathy and compassion.
May your people embody care and support for all who need it.
May grace and patience be gifted as they struggle to escape into wellness.
May love and healing be willingly and freely offered
and received in the crucial times of desperate want.
So Lord, for those sunk in depression we pray for their uplifting.
Please may this be so and may none be lost.
This we pray, Amen

My God, my God – Depression and the lament in Psalms by Stacey Gleddiesmith
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