Season of creation – various

Cicero

Prayer of confession: Weapons of Massive Consumption
God who conceived creation,
And breathed it into being with the Word,
You have observed the eons pass,
You have seen the cosmos evolve,
And give rise to our humanity.
We have come to know of you and even to know you
But we fall so short in who we could be in relationship to you.
We fall out of relationship with you and creation,
We fall out of relationship with each other and ourselves.
In our small-minded self-interest,
In our self-centred drive for ever-increasing comfort,
In our pursuit of our wants and the illusion of power over the earth,
We have become the outsiders,
setting ourselves beyond the natural order of creation.
We are the only living things whose waste cannot be broken down
and reintegrated in the living cycle.
We have unrelentingly taken from the resources of the planet with a domineering mindset and a disregard for impact on the world or the future.
We have been the cause of desecration, degradation and destruction,
In our obsession with more and better.
We have become ecological weapons of massive consumption,
Destroying ecosystems,
Polluting the planet,
Decimating nature and its goodness an beauty,
Being responsible for death and extinction with little regard,
As we forge forward towards our own sinful death of this planet
and its ability for it to sustain us.
We, in the so-called developed world, have spread the cancer of our greed,
Failing to learn from indigenous cultures who live or have lived
in harmony with the planet.
We are responsible.
We have sinned against you, against creation,
against each other and against ourselves,
And for the most part we are unrepentant.
Forgive as you do,
But pierce us with your truth and grace,
Confront us with our sin, that we might repent and be transformed.
Creator God,
It almost seems that thigs are too late.
The cancer of our consumption is too advanced,
The damage has been done to a point of irreversibility.
Is there hope for redemption of what we have done,
Or all that can be done now is to wait for history to take its course
towards the final end of all things,
Where you will come and renew all of creation?
May this not be so.
May we be converted and transformed.
May we spread the gospel, not just for our salvation,
but for your call for the salvation of creation in this planet.
May we become agents of your healing.
May we work to change our ways through the inspiration of your Spirit,
Until we find our humble and responsible place once again in the natural order.
God of creation,
We pray for this world which we do not respect.
Heal our ignorance and apathy,
So that your will may be done.
This should be our prayer,
Not just now, but always.
Amen.
(Source: Jon Humphries) Continue reading

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resources in times of natural disaster/tragedy

Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean
A monster hurricane in the Atlantic basin – Lord have mercy!!

Flooding in Texas August/September 2017

O God, We’ve Prayed in Wind and Rain
(tune: AMAZING GRACE, words: Carolyn Winfrey Gillette)

O God, we’ve prayed in wind and rain
And now we pray once more
For those who felt the hurricane
And heard the waters roar.

We pray for those who watched the storm
Destroy the life they knew,
Who wait in shelters, tired and worn,
And wonder what to do.

We thank you, God, for acts of love
Not bound by race or creed,
For hands that reach across the flood
To all who are in need.

We pray for others far away
Who’ve seen destruction, too;
We look beyond ourselves, for they
Are also loved by you.

We pray that leaders of our land
Will heed creation’s cry,
And bravely care and take a stand
For earth and sea and sky.

Where rains flood cities, homes and towns
May we go out to be
A witness that your love abounds
In each community.

Tune: Virginia Harmony, 1831 Arr. Edwin O. Excell, 1900.
Alternative Tune: ST. ANNE CM Attr. William Croft, 1708 (“Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”).
Text: Copyright © 2017 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: bcgillette@comcast.net Website: www.carolynshymns.com

Kathy Howard has been brainstorming specific ways to pray for the current flooding in Houston, south Texas, and beyond. These specific needs/items can be lifted to God in the wake of a wide range of natural events and disasters. (this list is a work in progress).
Pray for People in the Flooded Areas
Protection of all life, including family pets
Safe transportation to safe areas
Dry, comfortable lodging, safe drinking water, and nutritious food
Quick reunion for any separated families
Long-term housing for those who have lost homes
Ability to communicate with extended family and friends
Pray for Rescue Efforts by First Responders/Emergency Personnel
Reliable cell and phone service so citizens can summon help
Good, reliable communication between agencies
Safety for police officers, firemen, and emergency medical personnel
Strength, stamina and wisdom as they respond to the overwhelming need
Additional manpower from outside the area to meet the need
Pray for Ongoing Relief Efforts
Plenty of volunteer teams and government groups to respond to the need
Physical strength and stamina for the disaster relief teams
Coordination of all volunteer efforts so there will be no gaps and all needs will be met
Enough resources – money, supplies, equipment, food, and water – to meet the needs
Protect the resources from theft, fraud, and accident
Pray for Physical Conditions
Protection from additional rain and tornadoes
Open passages for built up/backed up water to safely drain away
Plenty of sources for clean drinking water
Clear roadways for emergency personnel
(Source, Kathy Howard, www.KathyHoward.org)

Grant safety to the men, women, and little children navigating the dangerous flood waters. Strengthen local clergy and congregants as they provide shelter and aid for their communities. Specifically, give wisdom and present resources to pastors and lay leaders working to provide for the physical needs of those who have lost homes, precious belongings, and are possibly separated from their loved ones. Give them courage to minister to the spiritual needs as well.
No doubt considerable fear and anxiety haunt those in affected areas. Grant unshakable peace and rid this storm’s victims of the spirit of fear. Show us all how to respond to the needs of those struggling with frustration and fear, that we may serve you well through your son Jesus Christ. Amen. (Source: Chelsen Vicari)

In Psalm 46, we read these words of encouragement and comfort: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Creator and preserver of our world, We ask you to hear our humble prayers for all those afflicted by devastating floodwaters and those still threatened by flood. Protect both life and property. In your mercy, bring relief to all affected areas.
We pray for the sick and injured, for the homeless, for the bereaved and for those still searching for loved ones in this great tragedy.   Have compassion, merciful Lord, in the midst of their profound suffering, comforting and relieving them according to their needs.
Heal those broken in body and spirit. Give courage and hope in the midst of despair. Through the generosity of governments, groups and individuals across the world, provide a future for those whose present circumstances are marked by loss and desperation. Protect all those who are most vulnerable in the areas of devastation. And by your gracious hand, rebuild communities where men, women and children are nurtured with care and love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
The Lord is at hand. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Philippians 4:5b-6
Everlasting God, you know our necessities before we ask. We pray for all emergency services personnel. We thank you for the unstinting dedication and efforts of the emergency services and the nation’s defence forces. Give them courage in adversity, safety in service and protection from harm. We ask that you would also watch over their loved ones. In the service of others, may assistance be rendered to those in greatest need with speed and efficiency, justice and compassion.
We pray also for medical personnel caring for the injured. Provide ample resources and energy to doctors and nurses coping with prolonged work hours and deeply distressing circumstances.
In the midst of this tragedy, we thank you for the compassion and generosity of governments, businesses and individuals.   We ask for an ongoing spirit of care and generosity as local, state and national bodies help to reconstruct communities and bring hope to victims and to future generations.
Give wisdom to to all who exercise significant community and national leadership at this time. Enable them to chart a course through the complex challenges during all the phases of recovery in the weeks and months and years to come. In Jesus’ name we pray.   AMEN.
(Both prayers adapted from original source: Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Better Gatherings

At the same time, there is horrendous flooding in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, where more than 1,200 people have died in the worst annual monsoon floods to hit South Asia in more than a decade. More than 41 million people have had their lives disrupted.  Rescue and relief efforts are ongoing, with international aid agencies reporting thousands of villages cut off. People in remote and isolated areas have been without food and clean water for extended periods.
There are also floods in Nigeria, with more than 100,000 people having to flee their homes because of major flooding in the central state of Benue.
What prayers might be offered for vulnerable people devastated by floods, many who have little likelihood of recovering homes and possessions?
Continue reading

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COCU55A.P14A.10Sept2017

Readings
Exodus 12:1-14
God gives Moses and Aaron the instructions for the Passover meal – for the animal that must be chosen, sacrificed and eaten, how it is to be prepared, and the way the Israelites must eat it, with urgency and ready to travel. The blood of the animal is to be placed on the doorposts of their homes so that the plague of death which comes on the Egyptians will not harm the Israelites.
Psalm 149
An exhortation for God’s people to praise God both publicly (in the assembly) and privately (on their beds) and through their praises to proclaim and establish God’s reign and overcome wicked kings and nations (Note: The sword image is a metaphorical reference to the power of the praise expressed by God’s people, not a literal call to religious violence).
Romans 13: 8-14
Paul exhorts the believers to owe no debt to anyone except the ongoing debt of love, which fulfils the law. Because of the urgency of their hope, Paul encourages the believers to live pure lives, free from the dark deeds to which they may be tempted.
Matthew 18:15-20
Jesus teaches his followers a gracious process for making right with those who have hurt them – going first to the individual, then, if necessary, taking along a couple of witnesses, and finally, taking the matter to the church. Then he encourages his followers to agree, for in doing so, they find power in prayer and Christ’s presence in their gathering.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Readings handout (formatted: A4 landscape double sided folded) COCU55A.readings.WORDversion.revised

Call to worship
(based on Romans 13:8-14 and Matthew 18:15-20)
People of God, open your eyes!
Look around!
The presecne of our Lord Jesus Christ is here –
among us and within us.
God’s salvation is close at hand –
nearer than you know.
So open your hearts and minds to the Spirit,
and let’s worship God together
(Source: re-worship)

A Call to Worship (Psalm 149)
Praise the Source of life!
Sing to the Holy One a new song.
Praise the one we name God among the communion of saints.
Let the people of God rejoice in their creator.
Let them praise the Source of all that is with dance,
and celebrate with musical instruments,
because God delights in them,
and adorns the despairing with welfare.
Let all the saints jump for joy;
let them cry out with gladness where they rest.
Let high praises of Divine be in their throats:
word and song that overcome injustice,
binding rulers in chains and the powerful in iron shackles;
bringing justice to them, and honour to all God’s faithful.
Praise the Source of all that is!
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, The Billabong)

“Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18.20
Where there is relationship,
where there is love, there is Christ.
Where there’s conductor and ground – electrical flow.
Loving community is Christ,
each of us the fourth member
of the Holy Trinity.
Not “beside,” Jesus says, but among:
in the in-between-ness,
in the exchange of energy
between us,
the power of forgiveness,
the light of gratitude, honor, affection,
the death and resurrection
of giving and receiving.
Gather in that name, that mercy,
and feel the Beloved
humming between you.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Seeing wrong/doing love
(Matthew 18:15-20/Romans 13:8-14)
The wrong done to me
I see large, but do I see
my wrong to others?Sometimes Jesus’ call,
“Love your neighbour as yourself”,
is not so easy.
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, The Billabong, 2017)

A creative moment – Romans 13:8-14

Materials: 
(a) Shallow trays or dishes of sand set out at or near the communion table;
(b) a supply of small votive candles, sufficient for the whole congregation;
(c) a large central candle from which the votice candles can be lit.
(d) as a precaution, it may be appropriate to have a fire-blanket on hand.

While Romans 13:8-14 is read, each member of the congregation is invited to listen for the word of grace or phrase which catches their attention. After several moments of silent reflection have the passage read again . . . slowly. The congregation is invited to come forward as “their” word or phrase is read, light a candle, and stand it in the tray of sand, and then return to their seat.
If the lighting in the church can be reduced for this reading, so much the better; the increasing “candle-power” will dramatically symbolise the approaching day, however that is understood from this reading.
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, The Billabong)

If a brother or sister sins against you,  go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. Matthew 18.15
Well, don’t go for “sin” or “fault:”
it’s too easy, and useless, to judge.
But pay attention to “hurt.”
Defy that voice of false politeness
and the repression of the truth.
If someone hurts you,
go toward them, not away,
and name the hurt.
Neither hide nor retaliate, even politely:
simply, gently tell the truth.
Claim your part of it,
even if just to receive it,
and to give them access to their part of it.
Not to nail them, not to relieve yourself,
but because you love them.
Be prepared to listen—
to their journey, and to your own.
Think of it as opening a door
to a place neither of you have gone before,
and can’t without the other.
Think of it as opening the door
to that Jesus place.
Imagine how refreshing the air would be
in a community of open, caring honesty,
without that hidden bucket of hurts
fermenting under the kitchen sink.
In the dark places where our hurts lie
is the tomb from which Christ rises, alive,
the very Christ who,
wherever two or three are gathered in his love,
is among us.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Benediction
 (Romans 13: 8-10)
Go into the world with no debt but love,
for love will not harm, will do no wrong
to your neighbour.
Go into the world with no law but love,
and you will keep God’s commandments
of love and honour.
Go into the world with no prayer but love,
and God will be with you, Christ
will be in you, Spirit will be around you. Amen
(Source: Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story)

Music
Singing from the Lectionary, Natalie Sims
Together to Celebrate, David MacGregor

Christ, you teach us of your Kingdom
(Tune: Infant Holy, Infant Lowly)
Christ, you teach us of your Kingdom
And the common life we share.
You remind us, “Be like children!”
So we offer you our prayer:
Make us gentle, make us humble,
May we cause no one to stumble,
Sheltered in your church’s care.

Shepherd, every lamb is cherished —
Even those who go astray.
You want none of us to perish
Nor to wander from your way.
When a sister or a brother
Sins against you or another,
Give us helpful words to say.

Let your love be our foundation
When we need to challenge sin;
May our quiet conversations
Be the places we begin.
For our judging and complaining
And our gossip and our blaming
Won’t bring sinners home again.

May we seek your will together,
Bound together by rebirth.
May we care for one another,
Knowing every sinner’s worth.
Two or three — united, praying,
Two or three — your love obeying,
Are your voice and hands on earth.

Biblical Reference: Matthew 18:1-20 Text: © 2014 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.
Email: bcgillette@comcast.net     New Hymns: www.carolynshymns.com/

Put On Love in Perfect Measure (Tune: Hyfrodol)
Put on love in perfect measure
Chosen people, holy, loved.
Clothe with kindness, God’s compassion
Tol’rance, each one God’s beloved.
All forgiven, all forgiving
In the grace of Christ our Lord
Bound as one in perfect measure
Above all
we put on love

Put on love and patience, gentleness
Modesty, wear all around
In our hearts let peace rule deeply
Peace our call; within, without
Ever thankful as your body
May Christ’s peace dwell deep in our heart
Bound as one in perfect measure
As your people
Each playing our part.

Let the word of Christ dwell richly
Teach each other on the way
May our doing, saying, living
Be in Jesus’ name, we pray
Giving thanks to God, Creator
Singing psalms and songs in praise
Bound as one in perfect measure
Clothed with love
Through all our days
(Source: David MacGregor, Together to Celebrate)

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COCU54.P13A.3September2017

Music

Australian church music website linked to lectionary with music suggestions for each week.

David McGregor’s lectionary based music suggestions here.

 

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COCU53A.27thAugust2017

Readings
Exodus 1:8-2.10: After a regime change in Egypt, the Israelites are made slaves and oppressed by the Egyptians. Midwives are also commanded to kill all male children but they refuse to do so, so Pharoah commands that male children be thrown into the Nile. It is into this context that the boy Moses is born, left on the river by his mother and adopted by Pharoah’s daughter.
Psalm 124: A pilgrimage Psalm remembering how God has protected and saved God’s people and kept them safe and free from their enemies’ traps.
Romans 12:1-8: Paul encourages the believers to offer themselves sacrificially to God, and to allow God to transform them by renewing their minds. He challenges them to remain humble and connected to each other, and to use their gifts in God’s service.
Matthew 13:16-20: Jesus asks the disciples who they think he is, and Peter declares that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus responds by affirming that God has shown him this and that he (or his proclamation – depending on which view you prefer) will be the rock upon which Christ’s church is built, against which hell will not prevail.
(Summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

First Thoughts on the Old Testament Readings of the RCL
http://hwallace.unitingchurch.org.au/webotcomments/ContentspageYearA.html
http://www.oldtestamentlectionary.unitingchurch.org.au/Lectionary.htm

First Thoughts on the New Testament Readings of the RCL
http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/lectionaryindex.html

Reflecting on ‘the body’ and community in Romans 12: 13-Ways-of-Looking-at-Community-ParkerJPalmer

In one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. Romans 12:4-8
Churchful Gratitude
Christ,
I give thanks for the people who You call me to be a part of.
I am grateful that I have a place in this body of diverse and flawed followers.
l open myself to the offering of the small gifts which the Spirit has gifted me with to join with the gifts of others.
I am thankful that a cracked and broken vessel as myself can be of some use in your work, as you creatively make use all the cracked and broken vessels in this family of faith.
In this struggling mess of flailing and failing humanity called the Church,
Which holds me in faith, not always well,
You choose to be known.
We are blessed by your grace.
We blessed by you love.
In our connection with you and each other we find healing and wholeness.
In our serving you and others we find meaning and purpose.
In your way, truth and life we find redemption and salvation.
We are thankful for your kindness, care and patience,
So in our faltering fragile faith we pray. Amen.
(Source: Jon Humphries)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12.2)
Society presses upon you to copy
dress and manner, thought and value,
what will anger or attract you.
Ignore it. It’s fear whining for company.
It’s a shield against celestial radiation.
Tune out the market’s frantic clatter.
Be changed by a new way of thinking:
not thinking: an opened awareness,
a mind of wonder and gratitude
and the strangeness of being loved.
Conform to nothing but the grace of God.
Each moment the Mysterious Blessing
dawns in you, allows a newness,
sings a song their ears can’t hear.
Let the Great Love in you make harmony.
The tune is already there,
the ear and the voice.
Let it meld in perfect harmony.
Passersby will hear songs from your door,
from the woods rises music
that’s lovely, good and beautiful,
the delight of God.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Who do I say You are, Jesus?
(could be used as a reflection for ‘prayers of who we are’/prayers of confession)
Sometimes I think I know, and I eagerly praise You,
I confess that I have learned to know God because of You,
I celebrate the fact that my life is fuller because of You,
I recognise that, at great cost, You have made it possible for me
to have a second chance when I mess up my life,
and hurt those around me.

But, then sometimes I confuse You with others
that have helped me or challenged me;
Great teachers and writers, prophets and priests,
parents and authorities.
This can be helpful – sometimes they do point me to You;
but sometimes I can’t see You through the image they present,
and my relationship with You gets blurred.

Sometimes I’m not sure if I know You at all;
I begin to get a sense of who You are,
but then, like Peter, I misunderstand Your mission, or Your message,
or what You really want from me.

Who do I say You are, Jesus?
You are the one I have come to love as God,
You are the one I am learning to recognise
and will give eternity to know,
You are the unfathomable mystery
that is always beyond my ability to understand;
You are the Christ, the Son of the Living. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Our small difference
(could be used at end of prayers for others)
We may not be able to confront queens,
or challenge presidents;
We may not have the capacity to divert resources,
or uplift communities;
We may not have the voice to silence the noise of war,
or the words to negotiate peace between armies;
But, as we follow you, O Christ, we are able to do something.
And so, we pray that you would inspire us
to commit to and act on the small difference we can make:
May we bring peace through small acts of gentleness and reconciliation;
May we bring wealth through small contributions and collaborations;
May we bring safety through small acts of consideration and acceptance;
May we bring wholeness through small acts of care and service.
And in the small ways, O God,
may our small difference make a big contribution
to your saving work in our world. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

MUSIC
Australian Church Music website with suggestions for music related to each week (lectionary based)

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World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel:17-24 September 2017

wwppiWorld Week for Peace in Palestine Israel 17-24 September 2017
As participants in the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, churches around the world shall send a clear signal to policy-makers, community groups, and their own parishes about the urgent need for a peace settlement that ends the illegal occupation and secures the legitimate rights and future of both peoples. Events and activities are planned around the following three principles:
1. Praying with churches living under occupation, using a special prayer from Jerusalem and other worship resources prepared for the week.
2. Educating about actions that make for peace, and about facts on the ground that do not create peace, especially issues related to the wall.
3. Advocating with political leaders using ecumenical policies that promote peace with justice.

Letter from Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit on the occasion of the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel, 2016
Geneva, 16 September 2016
“He . . . has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.” Ephesians 2.14

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
I write to you on the occasion of the upcoming World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel (WWPPI). This has been an annual event for several years. Beginning on 18 September, churches throughout the world will join in prayer for the sake of peace based on justice for the peoples of Israel and Palestine. We need to continue our work together and our prayers together for a just peace. Israel and Palestine should be two states living in peace with justice as neighbors. We know this is not the reality. The region is still marked by lack of peace, by occupation, violence in many forms, violations of human rights and lack of trust and confidence between the two peoples and the three religions.
The theme for this year’s WWPPI is “Dismantling Barriers.” In the Israeli-Palestinian context, references to barriers bring up images of the separation barrier dividing Israelis from Palestinians and many Palestinians from their families, farms, and communities. This barrier continues to be blight on the landscape. It is a tragic monument of failures to establish a just peace. It was built as a means to bring security for the population on one side, but not for the people on the other side, rather to the contrary. It is a monument of a policy of occupation that seems to be leading to annexation of land, by including illegal settlements on occupied land into Israel. It brings direct harm to many Palestinians. It is built on occupied territories, not on internationally recognized borders, and therefore defined as illegal where it is now.
But it is not the only barrier standing in the way of peace. In this week of prayer, we will focus on many barriers that stand in the way of flourishing for all in Israel and Palestine: barriers of mistrust and hostility, barriers of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, barriers of self-centeredness and entitlement.
Many member churches of the WCC have made peace with justice in Israel and Palestine a matter of our highest concern and of our prayers. The global church effort to promote awareness and advocacy informed by the perspectives of Christians in Palestine and Israel is growing. Many have visited our brothers and sisters there and saw and heard themselves what the reality is. The voice of the churches is being received in many national and international arenas.
As a global fellowship of churches, we know of the many problems plaguing our world. The Israeli-Palestinian context is not the only place where injustice and fear reign. Even in the Middle East, Israel and Palestine do not constitute the only acute sites of human suffering. It is, however, one of the few places in the world where injustice is directly supported or at least accepted by a broad coalition of worldly power. For their own interests and reasons, today’s most powerful countries choose to allow this situation to continue and intensify.
What then shall we do? Now is the time for Christians around the world to stand with all who are seeking peace with justice in Israel and Palestine. Our witness cannot be compromised or muted. The vulnerable communities of the Middle East—and Christians are unfortunately counted among these—must not be left alone.
It is time for our global fellowship of churches to challenge all of the barriers that perpetuate injustice in Israel and Palestine. The WWPPI provides us with an opportunity to focus our efforts in order to amplify our voices for justice and peace, in global solidarity with all who are suffering from these barriers and the unsolved conflict they bear witness to.
I therefore invite you to participate in the WWPPI. You have to find your own ways to participate in this significant week of witness and peacebuilding. The material and proposed activities are for your use or to be amended in a way that is suitable for you and your church. I hope that you will be strengthened in your solidarity and commitment to justice and peace in Palestine and Israel.
In order to prepare for your participation in this global collective prayer, I commend to you this segment of the proposed WWPPI liturgy:
O God of mercy,
Free humanity from our sinful ways.
Where walls have been built up
Teach us to build bridges of understanding.
When hearts are hardened
Open them to the sufferings of the neighbor.
When we are oppressed
Preserve our dignity and give us courage to resist.
When we are the oppressor
Change our hearts and reform our ways.
(Source: Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC General Secretary)

Blogsite of an EAPPI participant, 2017 (Ecumenical Accompanist Program to Palestine and Israel)

An EAPPI participant’s reflections, posted on Easter Sunday 2017:
I sit with despondency as my head tries to comprehend what it is that causes such deep distrust and enmity between two peoples who have shared this land for millennia. I see so many similarities in these deeply spiritual, tradition-rich peoples – love of family, music, culture, land. Read the full post here Continue reading

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Child Protection Week (1st week every September)

National Child Protection week happens in the first week of September every year. The link will take you to posters, resources and facts sheets which can be downloaded. 

Not sure how congregations/churches/faith communities have been involved in the past but will aim to collect some resources for use in National Child Protection Week.

For all those who work in child safety and protection
Christ Jesus,
You welcomed children and brought healing and hope to their lives.
We pray that as your Church, we will create places of welcome, care and safety for all children, reflecting your love and compassion.
God of love and comfort,
We pray for children who have been neglected or abused.
We pray that people will come into their lives who love and nurture them in healing and life-giving ways.
We pray for child safety workers and all those working in child protection.  We thank you for their dedication and the gifts they bring to their vocation to protect and improve the lives of children.
We pray that you will sustain their vision, and uphold them in love and grace.
Christ Jesus, as your church, you call us to be a faithful embodiment of your care and love.
We lament when we have failed to be communities of safety and care.
Challenge and correct us in our failure, and reform our life.
We commit ourselves as your Church to being places of safety, free of abuse and exploitation.
We commit ourselves as your Church to be communities, where people can flourish in ways of trust and love.
We pray that your Spirit will empower us to be advocates for a society in which all children can flourish.
Through Christ, Our Light and Life, we pray, Amen.
(Source: Deidre Palmer, Uniting Church in Australia, 2017)

A prayer for children
Loving God, we thank you for the care and affection of Jesus, who placed children in the very centre of his community.
We pray for children, created in your own image and likeness, dwelling places of your Spirit, each one called to experience the freedom of your daughters and sons.
We pray for all children – those in our family homes, those in our community of faith, those in the wider community, those in our global village, those with plenty and those who struggle to survive.
We yearn for the day when all children may know safety and freedom and protection from violence and abuse, when they may bask in constant love, safe from any harm, where they may flourish and be all they can be.
God of all goodness, we hope in you. Inspire us to surround others with gentleness and love and empower us to build a world that no longer knows abuse and violence. Grant us courage to speak out and act when children need protection, care and shelter.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Candle lighting

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit
We light this flame as a symbol of the creativity of our faith:
the creativity to explore new avenues of religious insight;
the creativity to develop a caring community;
the creativity to envision a world of peace and freedom.
(Source: William J. Gardiner, adapted, on Rex AE Hunt’s website)

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Migrant and Refugee Sunday.27thAugust2017

birchRefugee 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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Dialogue with two women.Sojo for two women – profoundly moving.

Iona has two downloadable PDF resources that might be of interest – Jesus was a refugee and Refugee Evensong.

Call to Leaders regarding Refugees
The Uniting Church in Australia responds
to the grace proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
who himself was a refugee.
We are called to work with all our hearts and minds
to love God, who is revealed in Jesus Christ.
We are called to express love and generosity of spirit
to the world for whom Christ died,
including the most marginalized people.
We seek to love the neighbour who is different
and welcome the stranger in our midst.
We implore civic leaders
to reflect the deep values of Australians,
shaped by different nations and cultures,
who seek to live in a world
characterized by peace and goodwill.
We therefore ask those leaders to embrace
a spirit of compassion
and concern for human dignity
in their considerations with regards
to Refugee and Asylum-seeker policy development.
(Source: Amelia Koh-Butler, Adopted by the South Australian Presbytery and Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia, October 2016)

2015 resources here.

Liturgy notes for 2011 prepared by SA Council of Churches Liturgy_Notes

Uniting Justice resources here.

Prayer guide: asylum seekers and refugees (Salvation Army)

A blessing for refugees:
“We bless the host nations in their spirit of compassion and sharing that their citizens may be awakened to the immense human, intellectual and cultural wealth these newcomers represent for them. We bless all concerned in their consciousness that my sister or brother is myself and that the challenge of integrating these immigrants is truly an amazing gift of the universe in helping all work toward the win-win world that alone will guarantee the survival of the human race”.
(Source: Pierre Pradervand, 365 Blessings to Heal Ourselves and the World)

Opening prayer
With respect and gratitude for the original custodians of this land, we gather together to affirm in hope and faith that we can create a sacred space of welcome for all who live in Australia (Let us pray )
God, you call us to be in relationship, building community with one another, working with one another, supporting and healing one another.
God, you call us into a community working for the common good of all people, making choices that bring hope, justice, truth and freedom to our world.
God, you call us into community with the whole of creation, always cherishing, nurturing and renewing the earth.
O God, You are the source of human dignity, and it is in your image that we are created. Pour out on us the Spirit of love and compassion.
Enable us to reverence each person:
to reach out to those in need:
to value and appreciate those who differ from us:
to share the resources of our nation:
to receive the gifts offered to us by people from other cultures.
Grant that we may always promote the justice and acceptance that ensures lasting peace and racial harmony. Help us to remember that we are one family. Amen.
(from resources for “Refugee & Migrant Sunday” 2006)

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August 13 – prayers for peace (Korean Peninsula)

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

On Sunday, 13 August, 2017, 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.

The theme for this year’s prayer is based on Romans 14:19: “Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

Uniting Church in Australia President Stuart McMillan called on church members to uphold in prayer all Koreans in the hope of a peaceful resolution and easing of tensions.

“Our thoughts and prayers are particularly with Korean members of the Uniting Church at this time of deep reflection and prayer for them,” said Mr McMillan.

Each year, the World Council of Churches and the World Communion of Reformed Churches call member churches to pray for peace and unity in Korea.

Prepared by the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) based in South Korea and the Korean Christian Federation (KCF) based in North Korea, the prayer is traditionally used on the Sunday before 15 August every year.

August 15 is celebrated as Liberation Day in both North and South Korea and is the date in 1945 when Korea won independence from Japanese occupation. It also marks the day when the Korean peninsula was divided into two countries.

Chair of the Korean National Conference in the Uniting Church Rev. Steve Lee joined the call to prayer.

“I believe many Christians in Korea have been earnestly praying together for peace in the region,” said Rev. Lee. “They will be greatly heartened to know fellow Christians in Australia will be joining and upholding them in prayer.”

He offered the following prayer points which he says reflect the hopes of Christians in Korea.

  1. Peaceful leadership and co-operation across the region.
  2. A renewed will for reconciliation and peaceful reunification.
  3. Strengthen Christians across the region as they deal with complex and often difficult situations.
  4. Encourage prayers from around the world to uphold the people in the Korean peninsula.

The Korean National Conference provides a network for Korean congregations and members in all Synods of the Uniting Church. There are currently more than 70 Uniting Church Ministers serving across the Church.

Resources for the Day of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula can be found on the World Council of Churches website and include an order of service prepared by the NCCK’s Reconciliation and Reunification Committee.

2017 North South/South North Joint Prayer for Peaceful Reunification
16 Mortal, take a stick and write on it, “For Judah, and the Israelites associated with it”; then take another stick and write on it, “For Joseph (the stick of Ephraim) and all the house of Israel associated with it”; 17 and join them together into one stick, so that they may become one in your hand. (Ezekiel 37: 16-17, NRSV)

God of grace!
Once again, we greet the month of August, the month of Independence where North and South still celebrate separately and remember it differently. It has been a long, harsh period, one with cruel struggles between the two countries. No longer are we oppressed by Japanese forces, but our people are still filled with contempt for each other and our country is still challenged by neighboring forces. Lord, pity us.

God who rules history:
For the last 72 years, we dreamed of being one, but we lived like foes, not living up to our dreams. We lived separated from our family and torn apart by different ideology and systems. Lord, bring the history of our people together with your holy hands. Let us hope for unification with passionate hearts and work together so fervently that we shed the sweat of hope. For every August we encounter, help us sincerely repent with our hearts, and fill us with a strong will for unification.

God who leads peace:
Lord, we speak of one people, one sisterhood/brotherhood while filled with hatred against each other. We have violated the spirit of the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement, the June 15 Joint Declaration, and the October 4 Joint Declaration and also firmly locked the doors of the Keumkang Mt. and Gaeseong Industrial Complex. Thus, we were left with a greater danger and greater threat. Lord, listen to our desperate cries that thirst for peace.

God who gives hope:
Lord, help us to dream once more of a beautiful land where no joint-military exercise is needed. Let us welcome a new world where we are not interfered with or challenged by neighboring strong powers. Let us once again begin with the same overwhelming determination we had as of August 15, 1945. Please quickly open the doors of intercommunication and let us walk hand in hand for joint prosperity. Lord, let the North and South greet each other without prejudice. Help us newly begin a history of reconciliation and embracement on this land.

God of grace!
Bestow your grace upon the whole of Korea. Shine down pure rays of peace from Baekdu to Halla, and wet the entire land with showers of joy. Give happiness to the 80 million fellow Koreans throughout this land and this world, and guide them to be leaders of their own lives. Bring our strengthened community to be servants of the world.

God of Peace, we pray in Jesus name.

August 15, 2017

National Council of Churches in Korea           Korean Christian Federation

Order of service (2017) 2017-8-15-prayer-order-NCCKRRC

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