National Tree Day 27th/29thJuly2018

National Tree Day for schools – 27th July
National Tree Day – 29th July
https://treeday.planetark.org/about/what.cfm

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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Fairtrade Fortnight, 3rd-16th August 2018

Coffee, chocolate, tea and cotton can all be produced by farmers and workers earning exploitative wages, child labourers, or in environmentally damaging ways. Looking for the Fairtrade Mark removes the shadow of doubt. When you make your coffee Fairtrade, you can be certain farmers are paid a fair price for produce, environmental standards are improved, and communities are supported to build better futures. Buying Fairtrade chocolate gets us closer to a world without child labour and helps eradicate the practice in cocoa-growing countries like Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. More than 1.6 million farmers and workers are part of the Fairtrade system in 75 different countries.
A cup of Fairtrade tea supports the fight for gender equality in an industry that has a high number of female workers picking tea leaves, but can deny women their rights or make it hard for children to go to school. Cotton and banana crops can have a terrible effect on the environment, with harmful pesticides and chemicals ending up in waterways; not to mention the health costs to the farmers. Fairtrade’s environmental standards mean your new shirt doesn’t have to ‘cost the earth’. Literally. And spotting the Fairtrade Mark on sports balls ensures a fair price has been paid to the people making them, and that their children are also on the football field, not in a factory.
Fairtrade Fortnight (August 3-16) is a chance to buy a better future for farmers and workers around the world. Next time you shop, look for the Fairtrade Mark and remove the shadow of doubt about where your groceries came from.

http://campaigns.fairtrade.com.au/fairtradefortnight
Look for Fairtrade Australia on Facebook.

Creator God,
You created a beautiful world for all your children.
As we taste and smell the fruits of this creation
help us to remember those who farm the land to grow them.
Help us live in a partnership of love and support
with those who produce our food and drink
so that we might enable others to feed their families
and create a sustainable future. Amen

Prayer
Lord, forgive our silence.
Forgive our reluctance to speak up for others.
Forgive our reliance on goods which have been produced unfairly
at the expense of the poor.
Forgive our lack our awareness of how our clothes are manufactured, our food produced and our mistaking unneeded goods for essentials.
Lord enter the silence of our hearts
and lift them up with fresh understanding
derived from the Wisdom contained in your Word.
May we be ambassadors for Christ in bringing reconciliation between producer and consumer,
those exploited and those who benefit from their exploitation.
May all our labour be valued and rewarded justly.
May our lifestyles reflect a care for creation and humanity.
May we appreciate the gift of life and in so doing respect the lives of all God’s children.
Lord, you reconciled the world to God
through your suffering on the cross.
May your reconciling power
make us one with all who need fairness in their trading and systems which promote justice. Amen
(Source: Rev. Vaughan Jones, Harecourt URC)

This prayer is taken from the material Traidcraft has produced to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight. For more resources, worship material and stories visit TraidCraft.
As we boil our kettle and prepare our brew…
Make us mindful of those whose livelihoods depend on us:
The farmers, planters and pickers,
The packers, dealers and merchants,
The transporters, blenders, shop assistants and supermarket owners. Let it be for us a matter of simple justice and fair trade.
We pray especially for … (mention local shops and
retailers)
As we drink from our next cup…
Make us mindful of the many places we share this brew with:
China, Sri Lanka and India,
Kenya, Malawi and Indonesia,
From the past and the present.
Let it be for us a matter of simple justice and fair trade
We pray especially for … (mention some of the producers featured in the material from Traidcraft or those in The People Behind Your Cuppa fact sheets).
As we take time to share our next tea break together…
Make us mindful of the times when we have sat down and chatted.
Sharing in friendship
Pouring out our hurts
And enjoying a laugh
Let it be for us a matter of simple justice and fair trade
We pray especially for those known to us who need our prayers at the time… (silent or open prayer)
As we purchase our next packet of tea…
Make us mindful of the benefits of fair trade
The farmers and producers whose lives and communities have been transformed
Through fair wages, good working conditions and the extra security that comes with fair trade certification
And the organisations work tirelessly to achieve trade justice
Help us to support them, both practically and in prayer as they seek to support some of the world’s poorest producers Let it be for us a matter of simple justice and fair trade.
Amen.

Fair Trade
Lord we thank you for this world which you created, which you love, and which you are reconciling to yourself.
In a world where unjust global trade laws and unrighteous western consumerism darken the plight of those without influence and without a voice,
Make us a holy people.
Make us aware of the effects of our spending habits,
Make us God-fearing and righteous in the way that we go shopping.
May we worship you not only as we focus on you here today, but as we wander around the shops and tomorrow. May we seek to please you not only with our praises today, but with our choice of brands tomorrow.
May we honour you not only as we gather here today, but as we pack our shopping tomorrow.
May our spending habits bring health and healing to this world.
Forgive us for the part we play in exploiting the distant poor by the way that we shop.
Help us instead to support a ministry of true retail therapy, where healing and wholeness are experienced not merely by those who buy, but by those who produce our goods.
In the sweat shops that make our clothes, Amongst the slaves who produce our chocolate,
On the plantations that produce our coffee and tea, Bring the light of justice and economic fairness,
By your grace, enable us to live in such a way that may we help and not hinder your work of reconciling the world to you.
(Source: Faith and Society Team, Baptist Union of Great Britain)

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Music – various

Music is not inserted into worship;
rather worship is inherently musical.
We are a singing people.
How we sing together
and what we sing together
reflects our faith,
our church,
our union with fragile creation,
our thoughts and our feelings about one another,
and our attitudes toward all humanity.
(Adapted from ‘A Theological Statement of Music in the United Church of Canada’, July 2008)

There are a number of helpful sites using resources commonly available in Australia including:

Songs that Unite (Uniting Church in Australia) – website to be closed 2016

Songs by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette

George Stuart’s blogsite – new words to traditional and familiar tunes

William Wallace (NZ) (index of first lines here, with link to full scores)

Worldmaking – Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Lectionary song: http://lectionarysong.blogspot.com
The woman behind it is Dr Natalie Sims, a medical scientist  living in
Melbourne, originally ex-One Tree Hill UC in Adelaide. The site provides music
to match the lectionary each week.

Ross Langmead music and words: http://rosslangmead.50webs.com/rl/songs.html

Together to Celebrate: http://togethertocelebrate.com.au

This site is maintained by Rev David MacGregor (Queensland), and since its origins in 2000 has offered music suggestions across the breadth of contemporary Christian music from a wide range of sources including Iona, Taize, Shirley Murray, Graham Kendrick, Bernadette Farrell and Robin Mann. Plus, David is a gifted musician himself, which he offers as gift, usually with full piano score, lyric master and mp3 demo. (Thanks, David!). There are also kids friendly music, clearly identified.

Rev David Beswick also has a list of TiS and Sing Alleluia music related to the lectionary readings in his weekly lectionary resource, and (the late) Moira Laidlaw included music in her liturgies.

Music for contemplation: VOCES8 Eventide (preview here). Available on itunes.

 

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Hiroshima Day, August 6th

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.

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

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.
Continue reading

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Lay Preachers Sunday, 5thAugust2018

Lay Preachers Sunday in the Uniting Church in Australia is on the first Sunday in August each year.

2018 suggestions for Order of Service – 2018-08-05-Lay-Preachers-Sunday

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United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, 30thJuly2018

Faith communities are invited to make commitments to take action to prevent the crime of human trafficking and its abuse in our local and global communities. Together we must raise awareness of the crime of human trafficking and show the world our compassion for men, women and children who are trafficked and exploited around the world. This heinous crime must not be tolerated. We must prevent the physical, emotional and sexual abuse it causes.
Resources have been prepared for the weekend closest to the 30th July, The United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. Communities can choose any day which works for them. Go to StoptheTraffik website.

 

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COCU49B.29July2018

Readings
2 Samuel 11:1-15

After David sees Bathsheba bathing, he sleeps with her and she becomes pregnant. Then, he summons her husband, Uriah, who is away at war, and attempts to get him to sleep with his wife to cover David’s adultery, but when Uriah refuses, out of loyalty to his fellow soldiers, David commands that he be left stranded on the battlefield so that he will be killed.
Psalm 14 
Those who are foolish and wicked say that there is no God, and God sees how society has become corrupt. But, God is with the righteous who are “eaten up” by the wicked, and will save Israel, leading the people to rejoice.
Ephesians 3:14-21
Paul prays for the Ephesian Christians, asking God, who knows all people, to strengthen them, live in them and enable them to grasp the height, depth and breadth of God’s love. Then Paul, celebrates God who can do far more than we can think or imagine.
John 6:1-21
Jesus is followed by a large crowd and he asks Philip where they will find food to feed them, but Philip expresses that it would be far too costly to try and feed them all. Then Andrew points out one youth’s five loaves and two fish. Jesus blesses the food and has it distributed to the crowd, and everyone is fed. Then, because he knows they want to force him to be king, Jesus withdraws. But, later, as the disciples sail across the lake, a storm comes up. But, Jesus goes to the disciples on the water and they reach their destination safely.
(Bible summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Bible readings handout (landscape, folded A4 format) COCU49B.Readings

Resources
Textweek
Starters for Sunday (Church of Scotland)

Components of worship

Words of Welcome and Gathering

Call to worship (based on Psalm 14)
The foolish say, “There is no God!
We are alone, on our own.”
We gather to declare
the glory of God in our lives.
The foolish say, “It is your life;
you are accountable to no one.”
We gather, strengthened by the Spirit,
trusting that Christ dwells in our hearts.
The foolish say, “Everything I have is mine;
I owe nothing to any one.”
We gather to praise the One
who calls us to serve others in love.
(Source: Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies)

Call to worship (inspired by Psalm 14)
The foolish say, ‘there is no God.’
We come, trusting in Jesus,
the face, the voice, the presence of the God who loves us.
The scoffers of our age ask, ‘why do you seek after God?’
We come, in this time,
because God’s grace has spilled over in our lives.
The hopeless around us think, ‘no one cares about me.’
We come, in this time, to this place,
because Jesus has found us and brought us home.
(Source: Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies)

Gathering/Approach
You relate to us as person to person,
God who is our Parent, Protector and Friend.
In our world of passwords and multiple identities,
You come to us and you call us by our name.
But there again, you are the God to whom names have always mattered:
You invited our forebear Adam to name the creatures of the earth.
And today you call us to recognise that those whom we meet are each named.
You encourage us to establish genuine relationships,
to discover individual richness beneath too-quickly clutched stereotypes,
and unearth something of the spiritual depths
of those with whom we share homes and cafeterias and classrooms.
Let us open our hearts to one another,
even as we open them to you,
God our Companion;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Source: Rev Grant Barclay, Starters for Sunday) Continue reading

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COCU48B.22ndJuly2018

Readings
2 Samuel 7:1-14a 
David decides that he wants to build a temple (house) for God, but God, through the prophet Nathan, refuses him, and tells him that he is not the one to build a temple, and that God has never needed a temple. But, God promises David that his dynasty (house) will be established forever and that God will raise up a descendant of David to sit on his throne.
Psalm 89:20-37 
God has called and anointed David to be God’s chosen king, and God has promised him a dynasty that will last forever. If David’s descendants abandon God’s ways, God will discipline them, but never withdraw God’s love, ensuring that David’s dynasty is established forever.
Ephesians 2:11-22
Jews and Gentiles together have been reconciled to God in Christ and brought into one community in which the lines of division have been removed by God through Christ’s cross. Now both are part of God’s household, and are built into a temple for God’s Spirit.
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
When the disciples return from their mission, they tell Jesus about all they have done, and he calls them to rest. But, as they try to withdraw to a quiet place, the crowds follow them and Jesus has compassion on them because they are like sheep without a shepherd. Then, wherever he goes, the people bring the sick to him for healing.
(All Bible reading summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Call to Worship
When politics call us to take sides,
Christ calls us to serve one another.
When issues threaten to divide us,
Christ calls us to love one another.
When injustice and oppression seem to overwhelm us,
Christ takes on our burdens at the cross.
Come, join in worship together,
For we are one faith, one body in Christ, and we need one another. Amen.
(Source: Rev Mindi, Rev-o-lution)

Prayer of Brokenness/Confession
God Who Heals, we come to You in our brokenness, in our despair, in the hopelessness of the world. We know that You take up our burdens. When we feel the weight of the world on us, and feel that we are lost in the valley of the shadow, we have a hard time feeling Your presence with us. Become known to us, O God. May we feel Your presence in the most difficult times. May we feel Your healing when we feel most vulnerable. Help us to reach out to one another in our prayers and compassion, to help bear one another’s burdens, and help each other know Your presence. In the name of Christ, who makes us one, we pray all things. Amen.
(Source: Rev Mindi, Rev-o-lution)

Blessing/Assurance of Pardon
God restores our soul. God leads us into the paths of righteousness, prepares a place for us, and blesses us, even in the most difficult of times. God loves you, and will never abandon you, even when you feel most alone. You are beloved and precious to God. Share this good news, and bear each other’s burdens. Amen.
(Source: Rev Mindi, Rev-o-lution) Continue reading

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COCU47B.15July2018

Readings
2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19:
David brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem in two attempts, the second after hearing how Obed-Edom, in whose house the Ark had been left, was being blessed. Then, as the Ark enters Jerusalem, David dances with all his might, but his wife, Michal sees him and despises him for it.
Psalm 24
A song affirming that the earth is the Lord’s, along with all its inhabitants, because God is the one who created it, but only people of purity and integrity are able to enter into God’s sanctuary. Then, God is welcomed with open gates.
Ephesians 1:3-14 
God has blessed God’s people in Christ, choosing us to be holy and to be adopted as God’s children, and bringing us forgiveness through Christ, in whom we have also received an inheritance. God has given us the Holy Spirit as a down payment on this inheritance.
Mark 6:14-29 
When Herod hears about Jesus, he thinks John the Baptist, whom he had beheaded at the request of his daughter (under influence of her mother), has come back to life. After John’s disciples hear of John’s death, they take his body and lay it in a tomb.
(Summaries of readings by John van de Laar, Sacredise) Continue reading

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COCU51B.12August2018

Bread of lifeart work by Rev Mark Hewitt

Bread of life – Rev Mark Hewitt

Bread of Life by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Why nibble on the Bread of Life
when you can chow down?

Why only smell it, faintly,
when you can feast upon it,
every moment, every breath?

The Baker of the Universe
has made for you a special batch
of your favorite —
and it’s him!

All of his teaching, his healing, his love;
his passionate arms around you;
his insistent draw into the deep,
to the other side, into this crazy
trust and delight and brokenheartedness,
his terrifying stagger toward the cross,
his complete collapse into resurrection—
this is no time for moderation,
for politely picking at the crust.
Take the whole thing.  Both hands.

Here, eat it slowly.
Close your eyes.
Let it fill you.

What use are right beliefs
about bread?
This is the work of God,
that you savor the Bread
God has given you.

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