“Prayers for our Children” – is a 4-slide PowerPoint presentation with an Aotearoa New Zealand flavour.
Come As You Are
Dear God, you know what?
I reckon coming to church
is like a “come as you are party.”
You do not invite us
because we are good looking,
or well dressed or have clean hands,
or because we are extra nice people.
You invite us to come as just we are,
with all our faults poking out
like elbows through a worn jacket.
Thank you for loving us
with such an accepting love.
– Bruce Prewer
Prayer for Children – http://www.bruceprewer.com/DocC/C51sun22.htm
Rosalie writes: “I have been concerned for some time that with less ordained clergy along with many parishes less able to employ full-time ministers, a heavier load than ever is being put on lay people to lead worship, many having to do so without training or mentoring. To help with this situation I have written a book that rolled off the printing press last week. Lay Preaching Basics – a Practical Guide for Leading Worship covers the nuts and bolts basics of what a lay preacher needs to know concerning the Bible and preparing services along with sample services and prayer resources. It is a book that would be useful for every preaching place to have ready to hand as it addresses all manner of preaching emergencies as well as supplying Bible information useful to any study group. In my section on additional resources I promote Word & Worship and the NZLPA website.”
Chapter headings include:
1 — Help! The Preacher hasn’t arrived
2 — Introduction to the Gospels
3 — Essential Background Knowledge
4 — Making Reflections Memorable
5 — Making Services Meaningful
6 — How to organise a church service
7 — Lectionary and Liturgy
8 — How to prepare a reflection (sermon)
9 — Service sheets and PowerPoints
10 — The Preacher’s Satchel
11 — Children’s Time / Family Time
12 — Circle and Cafe style services
13 — Services for rest homes
14 — Devotions: Ideas to build on
15 — Complete Service Samples
16 — Sample ‘Family Time’ slots
17 — Sample Cafe Services
18 — Ideas for Devotions, Family Time and Less Formal Services
19 — Sample Prayers
20 — Theology Guides for the 21st Century
21 — Additional Worship Resources
The book is available in paperback format from the publisher, Philip Garside Publishing Ltd, and a Kindle edition is available at amazon.com.au. It is also available directly from the author, using the form below, which can also be downloaded here.
The Text This Week – a great starting point as you begin to work on service preparation
Weekly Worship – this is from the Church of Scotland and provides useful material related to lectionary readings, prayers, and ideas for a children’s talk
Storypath – connecting Children’s Literature with our Faith Story – using the lectionary reading and providing good suggestions for linking the children’s story into the service
Lectionary and Worship – from the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia – has range of resources including suggestions of hymns from the New Zealand Hymn Book Trust that could be suitable for each Sunday, as well as Te Reo Maori worship resources
Week in Prayer – each Thursday posts a current prayer of intercession for the following Sunday. You can sign up to have it emailed to you. The sample below shows just how current it is. It reflects the US environment from which it comes but it is truly international and, with a little tweaking, can be very valuable
Your people in Puerto Rico and across the Caribbean have looked up into rain flooded skies and out onto destroyed homelands, waiting for water, food, shelter and the provision of medical care. Open the hearts of decision makers to release funds to continue the rescue, to bring relief and stability. Smooth the communications to move people to care as the USNS Comfort (US naval ship) waits for the needy. Help us to grow in compassion as a people as we listen to news from hurricane-devastated places and during the long recovery, not forgetting the gulf coast.
We pray for the Rohingya peoples who await smugglers to take them across the Naf River between Myanmar and Bangladesh. Others make the treacherous journey to safety through jungles and mountains and into refugee camps such as Balukali, Kutupalong and Nayapara, where the depth of need is continually expanding. Dear God, our Comforter and Protector, be with the nation of Bangladesh and the NGO’s as they summon all their capacity to meet the needs of these deeply suffering refugees. Surround exhausted families with nourishing sleep. Tend to the children who make up 60% of the refugees – lost and torn from their families. Open our eyes to the horror of genocide, as a people are being erased from Myanmar’s history and annihilated. Come Holy Spirit. Guide the world as it seeks to address this calamity.
Some look up into smoke and ash filled skies in the western United States barely escaping burning homes and a tortured landscape and yet 10,000 firefighters – including 100 women prisoners working as firefighters – move toward the flames. Renew their energy to endure and guard their steps. We are so grateful for their unique skills in this treacherous work. Dear God, provide shelter to families bereft of everything they owned. Sustain the communities in their great work of serving these families, providing food, a listening ear, counseling and guidance in next steps and getting in touch with family. Be with the 42 families who have lost loved ones and the 68 families with unaccounted for loved ones. Hold them in their distress.
Some hide in the shelter of darkness yet afraid. “Has the fighting stopped?” Oh Lord, how seemingly endless is the noise and dust and calamity of war and the horrific suffering, the interminable loss and degradation. We pray for the peoples caught in the wars within wars, in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region of Kirkuk, for the police killed in Taliban raids and bombings in the Paktia and Ghazni provinces in Afghanistan. We pray for the dead and wounded civilians as they were waiting to get their identity cards. We pray for an end to 6 years of suffering in the Syrian civil war displacing 6.3 million people internally, causing the deaths of 400,000 with more than 5 million Syrians fleeing the country.
Open the hearts of combatants to give safe humanitarian access. Our hearts are torn again as we hear about the global food crisis, severe food insecurity, and the increasing risk of full on famine in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Some are too week to sit or even cry, hungry to the point of death. Oh God, you are listening. You surround them. You love them. Open our hearts. Help us to prayerfully consider our time, talent and treasure. Help us to share the wealth from our tables. Bring peace in those places where war creates famine, where conflict creates war, where war seems to be endless.
We watched with deep concern as Ireland and the UK received the effects of Hurricane Ophelia downgraded to a tropical storm. We are saddened at the loss of life as severe winds toppled trees on to cars. We are grateful for advanced warning such that the Irish Defense Forces were ready where needed and schools were closed keeping children safe. Be with families in their sudden grief and with those experiencing the deep deep losses in Portugal and Spain as wildfires fanned by the winds of the very same hurricane have brought further catastrophe. Again we pray for the 6,000 firefighters and nations called to come together in these wildfires. Be with the injured and their caregivers as severe burns are treated. Comfort those who are in mourning of the over thirty-two victims including a one-month old infant taken so quickly. Many weep for their cherished lands and fields, and livestock so vulnerable. Comfort them in their mourning. Give them your strength.
And your people in Mogadishu, where the Somali nation again suffers a bombing so despicable and barbaric with over 276 lives destroyed in an instant. Oh Lord, we take-in this news of the over 300 injured and suffering, and families still searching for the missing. We hear of the need for donor blood, the exhausted hospital staff, and how they keep going, as its populace is weeping, weeping, weeping. Help them as they assemble and arise as a people to discern steps for increased stability and safety in their nation. Comfort your people of Somalia in their great sorrow. Bring them peace.
Guide us in our faith. Help us to seek your will.
May we rush to understand one another, to love urgently, and to grow steadily in becoming more tolerant.
From you comes all blessings and life itself.
Rosalie Sugrue is a prolific producer of resources for small groups, children, worship services, women’s fellowships, and the like, and just recently sent us a list of some of the results of her labours, together with an invitation to contact her if you have a need for resources such as devotions, prayers, games, skits or Bible puzzles. In the meantime, here is her list of Resource Leaflets and Scripts already available from various sources, at very reasonable cost.
Rosalie Sugrue has provided some more resources for Disability Sunday, comprised of poems, prayers, and a children’s story written by her self and another Kiwi writer, Trish Harris, and included in a new book issued last year entitled A Child Laughs: Prayers for Peace and Justice.
Unfortunately we cannot include all the material here, but we can provide you with a pdf here.
A personal prayer/poem
THE CARRIER AND THE CARRIED
I don’t notice your disability anymore. …. It’s
just something you carry with you, she said.
I carry it with me
like a handbag
swinging loosely by my side
pick it up
put it down.
I never lose
and never replace.
I carry it on me
like a cotton shirt
on a summers day.
Wind easing its finger
between skin and fabric
billowing it out
pulling it too
playing at separation
but the buttons hold tight.
I carry it in me
by a river
always in flood.
I carry it through me
like the weight
of a name
for a child never born.
and an absence.
I carry it with me
and through me.
I am the carrier
and I am also
A blue tear
filled with gold.
Public Prayers (Approach)
We acknowledge that regardless of health,
attitude, appearance or status,
we are people marred by imperfections.
Grant us the strength to manage our infirmities
with wise caring, good humour, and gratitude.
Help us use whatever we have to become
more insightful to the conditions of humans,
and more attentive to matters spiritual.
Save us from falling victim to self-centredness
– a malaise that preys on the fit and the unfit
that left unchecked is more soul destroying
and more binding than any physical aberration.
In the loving of others may we find perfection. Amen.
A story for children of all ages
The Tiny Town of Tontevoc
The tiny town of Tontevoc nestled in a sunny valley beside a sparkling river. It was surrounded by green fields backed by snow capped mountains. Everyone lived in a warm house and no one went short of anything they needed. Instead of enjoying the good things they had the children of Tontevoc School were discontent. Each child thought some other child was more fortunate.
One child owned a pony and another had a magnificent tree house. There was a girl who could run like the wind. Her brother could sing like angel. Their cousins were exceptional at tennis. There were twins who looked alike and often argued. A boy who painted beautiful pictures lived with his grandmother. The family of four played boisterous games and got to sleep in bunks. The cleverest girl in the school wore thick glasses. Her sister was very pretty. One child lived in a grand house and had many toys. And, there was a boy who limped and had to use a crutch.
One day the Wise-woman of Tontevoc visited the school holding a bunch of floating balloons. … [See page 4 of the pdf file for more …]
by Joy Kingsbury-Aitken
A Children’s Story for Palm Sunday
In a small village like Bethphage the purchase of a donkey was a big event. Each harvest season old Caleb had gathered in the nuts from the almond tree that grew beside the doorway of his one room dwelling. For almost a decade he had put a few of the coins earned from the sale of these almonds into a clay money jar, which he had kept hidden out of sight of nosey tax collectors and inquisitive neighbours, until he had enough money saved to buy a donkey. His purchase was a young animal, a colt only just independent of its mother. The donkey appeared to have a placid temperament, seemingly unconcerned by all the attention it was generating. The village children in particular were excited by the donkey’s arrival in their midst. They chattered noisily as they gathered around the creature, patting its back, scratching behind its ears, and poking handfuls of grass towards it, which the donkey obligingly munched upon. Their excitement was mirrored by old Caleb’s, although he didn’t show it so audibly. At long last he would not need to struggle up the hillside, bent double by the weight of the bundle of willow sticks gathered from the valley floor, which he needed to carry up to Bethphage to fuel his cooking fire. In fact the donkey would be able to carry many more sticks than he could manage, so he would not need to go down into the valley and climb back up to his home so often. Then when the olives were harvested, he would not have to shoulder the baskets of ripe fruit to take to the oil press at Gethsemane, nor personally carry the jars of oil to the market place from there. The donkey was going to make a huge difference in his life. Living was going to become so much easier.