Philip and the Ethiopian

This play, by Joy Kingsbury-Aitken, is based on Acts 8:26-40, and was written with youth groups in mind.

Download the full script

The studio of a Christian radio station.
Three people, wearing headphones, are seated around a microphone.

Radio Announcer: Christian radio welcomes you to this week’s episode of “The History of the Church”. Today our panel of church historians will be discussing the coming of Christianity to Ethiopia.

Panel, to begin with, would you share with our listeners some fascinating facts about the church in this North African nation.

First panellist: It may interest our listeners to know that the Egyptian Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox churches are the only expressions of Christianity in the continent of Africa that predate the witness of western missionaries. Christianity was recognised as the state religion of Ethiopia in the fourth century, only a few years after Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.

Announcer: So Christianity has existed in Ethiopia for a very long time.

Second panellist: Indeed. There were Christians in this part of Africa from the first century. The indigenous Ethiopian church has been a great survivor. …

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The Handwriting on the Wall

A play for youth groups by Joy Kingsley-Aitken.

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Scene One

An elderly scribe is sitting at a table on which is stacked a pile of clay tablets. He picks one up and begins to read it aloud.

Scribe: God says here through the prophet Hosea, “My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows. No, I will not unleash my fierce anger. I will not completely destroy Israel, for I am God and not a mere mortal. I am the Holy One living among you, and I will not come to destroy, for someday the people will follow me. I, the LORD, will roar like a lion. And when I roar, my people will return trembling from the west. Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt. Trembling like doves, they will return from Assyria. And I will bring them home again, says the Lord.”

He sets down the tablet.

Most High God when will your fulfil your promise? When will you bring us home again? Not just from Egypt and Assyria but from Babylon too. I was a baby in my mother’s arms when she and all my family were forced to march day after day all the way from Jerusalem to Babylon. The journey was too long for many, the days too hot and the nights too cold. There was too little water and too much dust. Though many died, many managed to survive, to live in captivity here, dreaming of our homeland, willing to undergo the perils of the return journey. I am an old man now. Will I ever see Jerusalem? When I left I was too little to remember anything of her? God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when will you fulfil your promise?

The scribe stands up. He gathers up the clay tablets and leaves the room.

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Joseph tests his brothers

A play with seven speaking and eight non-speaking parts, by Joy Kingsbury-Aitken and set in Ancient Egypt, written for youth groups:

Download your copy here.


In an office, beside a grain store in ancient Egypt, near the border with Canaan, the “first minister” of the kingdom is checking the distribution records for the store. A slave enters.

SLAVE: Excuse me your Excellency. There are ten men here from Canaan come to buy grain. What do I tell them?

JOSEPH (preoccupied): Tell them to go away. Egyptian grain is for Egyptians, not for the riff raff of other nations who haven’t made provisions for hard times.

SLAVE: They won’t like that.

(The slaves exits, then hurries back a few moments later).

Your Excellency …

JOSEPH (impatiently): Now what? …

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Liturgy for Disability Sunday

Liturgy for Disability Sunday (3rd Sunday in June)

disability awareness
Call to worship
To the God who walks on wounded feet
and heals with wounded hands,
To the God who stands beside us wounded,
all knowing and all loving,
To the God of imperfections
We offer our imperfect praise,
Trusting in the perfect love of the God
who knows what it is to be truly human.

WOV 10 – All people that on earth do dwell …

Prayer of approach
God of pain and God of peace, Mother and Father of us all,
Created in your image we inherited what makes us human,
The ability to think, communicate, reflect, record and create.
These gifts are precious and we give you thanks.
Though we have gifts in common, we are not all alike,
Each of us is a different individual, unique and special,
We come before you rejoicing in difference.
We come before you knowing each child is given a different blend
of gifts and experiences, that shape, and keep shaping the adult.
Every person in your world is differently abled,
Every person in your world is differently disabled
Help each of use what we can to enhance our lives and your world.  Amen

WOV 558 – When I needed a neighbour, were you there …

Bible Reading – Reflection from ‘Oh Light’ – God’s economy (p.9)
Bible Reading – Reflection from ‘Oh Light’ – If a cure were found (p. 27)

Alleluia Aotearoa 158 – Who is my mother, who is my brother … Murray/Render

Reflection: (Given by a person with disabilities – sharing frustrations, passions and achievements)

Promotion of ‘Creating Welcoming Churches’ (a handbook on inclusion – catering for disabled persons at services and on church property produced by the Disability, Spiritual and Faith Network with funding from Presbyterian Women and Methodist Women’s Fellowship)

God, help us to know the truth of your love in our lives;
Enable us to grow in the grace we need
to be agents of change for a better world.
We dedicate ourselves and our gifts to your service.  Amen.

Prayer of intercession
God of our yesterdays
and God of our tomorrows
We ask that you be with us now,
God of our today.

God of Vision and New Possibilities
open our hearts and minds to the reality of your presence.
God of Light illuminate the dark places of our lives.
We are not perfect people.
Come through the cracks of our imperfections
and fill us with your light.

We pray for all marginalised people.
Those who suffer discrimination because of: gender, race,
sexual orientation, physical or mental impairment.
Give them strength and belief in their worth.
We pray for those active in discrimination,
and those who allow it to happen.
May they know what they do.
May they understand the hurts they cause.

We gather our thoughts in this sacred place
knowing that you have heard each sincere desire.
We long for a time when all people are valued.
May our unconditional love flow from us to others
May it swirl and curl through this year
embracing all who seek a better life.  Amen

Hope is Our Song 16 – Christians are all kinds of people … Stan Stewart

With your help O God:

We reject victim mentality – we will live as survivors
We will do the best we can – we will be people of faith.

For the God who walks on wounded feet
and heals with wounded hands,
For the God who stands beside us wounded,
all knowing and all loving,
For the God of imperfections,
We go into our wonderful and imperfect world
to reflect God’s perfect love,
and in so doing, claim what it is to be truly human.

Sung Amen

Prepared by Rosalie Sugrue

Prayers for Pentecost

Prayers for Pentecost

by Joy Kingsbury-Aitken


Pentecost-01Call to Worship:
We gather together to worship
In observance of an ancient festival
We gather together to worship
In thanksgiving for the gift of Your Spirit
We gather together to worship
In remembrance of the beginnings of the church
We gather together to worship
You our Holy God on this your holy day of Pentecost.

Opening Prayer:
In earth’s wild places
and within the trappings of civilisation;
in moments of wonder
inspired by nature and human creativity;
we experience the Spirit moving
and sense your presence.

In familiar words that encourage
and through acts of loving kindness;
said and done by those we know well
and strangers who are not yet friends;
we experience the Spirit moving
and sense your presence.

Pentecost-02In moments of quiet prayer and meditation
alone and listening for words whispered in our minds;
and in times of jubilant praise and worship
singing along with the crowd in adulation;
we experience the Spirit moving
and sense your presence.

These hints of you draw us
to this place in response to you.
In the togetherness of community
and through our worship here today
we experience the Spirit moving
and sense your presence this Pentecost.

Offering Prayer:
Giver of the resources of the bountiful earth
Giver of the hope of the gospel of peace
Giver of the gifts of the Holy Spirit,
Loving Lord,
to you we offer these our gifts in gratitude;
in the belief that even when they are small
you can use them effectively
Pentecost-03for the work of your church;
that the good news of Jesus,
first proclaimed long ago
in Jerusalem on Pentecost,
will continue to go out into the world.  Amen.

May the Spirit who hovered over the primordial water
bringing into being abundant life on earth
bring light and fruitfulness to our lives.
May the Spirit that appeared as a column of cloud and fire
leading the Israelites through the wilderness
lead us in our daily walk of faith.
May the Spirit that filled the first temple with glory
and came with signs of power to the first church in Jerusalem
Pentecost-04fill us with God life, that we may be truly blessed.
And so may God
Father, Son and Spirit,
be with us all now and forever.  Amen.

Spirit God – by Joy Kingsbury-Aitken

Spirit God
(a responsive reading of a psalm for Pentecost)

Spirit God, hovering over a watery world
Ordering creation from primordial chaos
Clothing earth’s nakedness with nature’s abundance
Breathing your spirit life into our humanness;
We acknowledge our need for you to
Shelter us under your motherly love
Transform our turmoil into tranquillity
Fill up our emptiness with your wisdom divine
Raise us aloft on the winds of eternity.

Spirit God, dwelling in pillars of cloud and of fire
Alighting on Sinai in flaming splendour
Thundering forth commandments of covenant
Sanctifying holy a nation of slaves;
We acknowledge our need for you to
Guide us on journeys through barren wastelands
Help us climb mountains for encounters with you
Speak laws of love into our consciences
Make sacred a church of commonplace folk.

Spirit God, filling with glory Solomon’s temple
Soaring heavenward on chariots of fire
Inspiring your prophets with visions that challenge
Promising the coming of the Davidic Messiah;
We acknowledge our need for you to
Form from your people your present day temple
Transport us above our everyday thinking
Show us the ways of heaven on earth
Make of us true disciples of the Anointed One.

Spirit God, as a dove descending
Declaring beloved of the Father his Son
Driving the Christ into the wilderness
Inspiring rebuffs to the tempter’s allures;
We acknowledge our need for you to
Fly down upon us the blessing of peacefulness
Proclaim our membership of the family of God
Be there for us in our spiritual barrenness
Grant us release from the enemy’s snares.

Spirit God, on Pentecost coming
Sounding like wind and appearing like fire
Descending upon the hundred and twenty –
Bringing to birth the new covenant church;
We acknowledge our need for you to
Bless our celebration of time that is holy
Full us with the joy that gives light to our lives
Be in our midst as we gather together
Proclaim in and through us the gospel of God.

– Joy Kingsbury-Aitken

Pentecost, painted in acrylics by Jennifer Allison