Some Very Useful Websites

The Text This Week – a great starting point as you begin to work on service preparation

Faith and Worship – Prayers

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

Related imageStorypath – 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

World News This Week in Prayer – Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dear Lord,

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 BalukaliKutupalong 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 NigeriaSomaliaSouth 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.

Amen.

 

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Week of Prayer for World Peace

A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless us with a restless discomfort
about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
so that we may seek truth boldly and love deep within our heart.

May God bless us with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of God’s creations
So that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless us with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with just enough foolishness
To believe that we can make a difference in the world,
So that we can do what others claim cannot be done:
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and all our neighbours who are poor.

Source:
http://www.thegreatpeacemakers.com/st-francis-of-assisi.html

Free – From Philip Garside Publishing Ltd –

Creative WorshipCreative Worship Volume 1Songs, Prayers & PoemsPhilip Garside. PDF eBook, 32pp. ISBN 9781927260791. Philip Garside Publishing Ltd. (2017). Free. Click to Download now

Fresh songs, prayers and poems for worship and reflection.

Here are 11 songs, in a variety of styles, for your church or choir. You can copy and sing them for free!

“…Come and dance with us,
sing with us, walk along our way.
Help us bring alive God’s kingdom
on earth today.”

The arrangements are simple and include guitar chords. Some are best sung unaccompanied.

To help you learn them, links to midi and mp3 files of the melody, and to the Noteworthy Composer software music settings are included for each song. There are also notes about how and why the songs were written and tips for performing them.

The songs, poems and prayers in this book have all been successfully used in worship.

We hope you and your congregation or choir will enjoy them.

Winter resources

winterSome time ago, Joy Kingsbury-Aitken wrote a prayer of thanksgiving entitled Winter’s Lessons – it may well be an appropriate time to recall that winter does have its lessons and blessings.

A Winter Prayer has been “borrowed” from Rev Kate Wilkinson, and could be useful as a prayer for others, especially those affected by the cold – the elderly and the homeless – as well as a reminder that Spring is just around the corner.

And these Prayers for others – winter time, by Hannie de Beer of Christchurch continues the themes found in the other two resources for Winter.

 

Disability Sunday resources

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. 

disability

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.
A handbag
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
channels
carved deep
by a river
always in flood.

I carry it through me
like the weight
of a name
for a child never born.
A presence
and an absence.

I carry it  with me
        on me
        in me
and through me.

I am the carrier

and I am also
the carried.

A blue tear
filled with gold.

 

Public Prayers   (Approach)

Loving God,
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 …]

.

Prayers for Lent – III

Being Merciful – a Prayer of Confession

We are challenged to be merciful;
to forgive others,
acknowledging our own need of forgiveness.

[For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:14]

We are challenged to be merciful;
to refrain from judging;
recognising that the standards
we apply to others
also apply to ourselves.

[Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.  For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. – Matthew 7:1-2]

We are challenged to be merciful;
to respond with generosity
towards the mean of spirit,
knowing that we too have a tendency towards being selfish and self-serving.

[Love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.  Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. – Luke 6:35-36]

We are challenged to be merciful
and we confess that too often instead
we are self-righteously hard hearted.
Forgive us.

We are challenged to be gracious;
to act compassionately towards others,
acknowledging that we also

are dependent on grace.

[For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God. – Ephesians 2:8]

We are challenged to be gracious;
to be sensitive to the feeling of others;
recognising our own need to be
always treated kindly

[And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:32]

We are challenged to be gracious;
to uphold the dignity of others,
not allowing our dreams to destroy theirs,
knowing how deeply we too
desire to be successful and respected.

[Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.  Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:3-4]

We are challenged to be gracious
and we confess that too often instead
we are self-righteously hard hearted.
Forgive us.

We are challenged to be loving
to treasure each and every person
however contemptible they seem,
acknowledging our own sinfulness
and longing to be valued.

[But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8]

We are challenged to be loving;
to support and encourage others
recognising our own need to be
cherished and nurtured.

[May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another. – Romans 15:5]

We are challenged to be loving;
to give of ourselves for the benefit of others;
knowing our dependence
on the benevolence of God
and the generosity of his creation.

[For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. – Mark 10:45]

We are challenged to be loving
and we confess that too often instead
we are self-righteously hard hearted.
Forgive us.

In being challenged to be merciful.
gracious and loving,
we acknowledge our need
to be transformed.

We, who are being formed in your image,
Merciful, Gracious, and Loving God,
recognise that we need nothing less
than the miracle of
becoming increasingly like you.

We know that only by becoming
more and more merciful,
gracious and loving,
will we become less
self-righteously hard-hearted.

We who have been challenged,
seek to be the recipients
of your mercy, grace and love.
We ask that you hear our prayer.
Amen.

 – by Joy Kingsbury-Aitken

Prayers for Lent – II

Keep us Moving – a prayer for Transfiguration Sunday

Scriptural references: Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36

God who appeared as cloud and fire
to a slave people traversing desert lands in the shadow of Sinai;
God who appeared as a whispering voice
to a hunted prophet seeking safety in a cave high up on Sinai;
God who took on the limits of humanity
but who appeared in glorious divinity to disciples
experiencing anew your transforming presence as at Sinai;
it is you we address with our words of praise and our words of petition.

God guide us through our wilderness experiences.
Grant us the confidence to keep following you
when the way is gruelling, the journeying long and the destination uncertain.
Just like the Israelites we too often become fretful
and anxious and lose our faith in you.
Still our fears and keep us moving
on our journey through Lent and through life.

God comfort us when we are disheartened, afraid and alone. 
Not with big gestures that would frighten us
but in quiet moments grant us the assurance of your presence.
Just like the prophets we too often feel your demands
are too daunting and too difficult for us,
and we want to run away and hide.
Calm us, encourage us and keep us moving
on our journey through Lent and through life.

God reassure us when we face a pending crisis.
Grant us the ability to see beyond the present moment
to a future full of hope and promise.
Just like the disciples we too can be deceived into thinking that we can achieve
your goals by the easy pathways we much prefer to take.
Strengthen us, reorient us and keep us moving,
on our journey through Lent and through life.

We have come to a new Sinai, the mount of transfiguration.
We have come seeking to be transformed.
Forgive us, embolden us and change us continually
into being all that you intend us to be, all that we could possibly be.
Not bound by our weaknesses but freed by your grace.


God of cloud and fire, small voice and loud

God of majestic glory cloaked in the unremarkable commonplace
cross doveguide us and comfort us, reassure us and reorient us
so that we may continue daily our journeying with you. 
God keep us moving we pray
throughout Lent and throughout life.  Amen.

– by Joy Kingsbury-Aitken