“CREATING CONNECTIONS” – May 26-19

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Service Lead by Worship Committee

Pentecost – Genesis 11 and Acts 2

Creating a Sense of Connection as all Communities of Faith in Shining Waters are invited to participate in this worship based on worship from the Inaugural Meeting of Shining Waters Regional Council

WE GATHER

ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE LIFE AND WORK OF THE COMMUNITY 

WORDS OF WELCOME (an explanation of the service)

As we gather we will be joining our voices, reflections and experience with people from all over our new region of Shining Waters. All Communities of Faith have been invited to include at least some of this service during a time of worship, if not today than sometime soon. The theme for the Regional Council Meeting is “Creating Connections.” In our new three council governance structure of The United Church of Canada a key that has potential for positive impact is through the development of networks and clusters amongst Communities of Faith or people who are passionate about a particular topic. Considering how we can cluster and network invites us into a renewed commitment to collaborate – to consider what we can do together with other United Church people beyond our Community of Faith that we can’t do alone. 

So let us worship together, joining our hearts with long-time and yet-to-become friends across our region. We begin with a call to worship. 

CALL TO WORSHIP

 One: Let us journey together as we seek to express our faith in the moments of our lives. May we bring along a sense of expectancy, a vision of high hopes, a glimpse of future possibility a vivid imagination.    

All: Let us journey together listening deeply to God’s desire for us to share our gifts and inner light, illuminating pathways of hope and love in this world.

 One: As we venture forward, let us leave behind a sense of certainty    creating opportunities for new possibilities to emerge new connections to develop.         

All: Let us travel light in the spirit of faith and anticipation toward our deep longing for wholeness that aligns us with Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom of God here on earth which emerges in our midst every time the power that reigns is love.      

One: Let us travel together as companions in faith, secure in the knowledge that we never travel alone.

HYMN: MV #1 All Are Welcome In This Place 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE LAND (divide people into two groups)

Group 1:  Long, long ago, God created the heavens and the earth, stars and planets and galaxies.  

Group 2:  God created all living creatures – those in the rivers, lakes and oceans; animals and birds; God created people and urged us to live in harmony.

Group 1:  This land where we gather today has been a gathering place for Indigenous people as they lived and travelled in this area for generations beyond our knowing.  

Group 2:  Before people arrived from across the seas, these groups lived, loved, raised children and made a living.  They lived in harmony with all that Creator had made.

Group 1: The lands north of Lake Ontario are the traditional territories of many Anishinaabe, Huron, and Haudenosaunee nations:

 Group 2: The Wendat, the Petun, the Seneca, the Chippewa, the Mohawk, the Mississaugas, the Pottawatomi.

 All:  We acknowledge that our history together has come at a great cost to Indigenous people and we commit ourselves to be partners in healing and reconciliation.  

LIGHTING OF THE CANDLES 

FOUR DIRECTION CANDLE (OR CANDLES): red, black, yellow and white

As we light this candle (these candles), we give thanks for the wisdom of the teachings of the four directions represented in the four colours woven into our United Church Crest. The colours of the four directions represent the cycle of life, the many teachings that Creator has given, and the whole scope of the human race. We recommit to living the blessings of the seven sacred teachings that create life-giving community of love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility and truth.  

RAINBOW CANDLE: 

We light the rainbow candle to honour our openness to Spirit and our intention towards engaging people across a wide spectrum of diversity, ability and identity and to mark our commitment to resist oppression and remove barriers to participation in the life and work of the Region and society.

CHRIST CANDLE:

We light the Christ candle in our midst to remind us of the light of love deep within every one of us that connects us to each other and all of life. The energy of this light calls us to be all we can be, to live life abundantly rooted in love as Jesus taught.   

A TIME OF PRAYER 

As we gather all over Shining Waters Regional Council,

we open our hearts to the potential stirring in our midst:

  of working together to impact the world around us in life-giving ways;

of collaborating through our resources of people, ideas and tools; 

of connecting to deepen our faith and broaden the expression 

of our commitment to a compassionate world 

rooted in social and eco justice.  

We ask for the blessings of the Spirit to awaken in our midst, 

blessings of creativity, 

of a passion for right relations, 

of a profound understanding that we are one, 

of energy to fill our lives and our world 

with the transformative power of love. 

Inspired by creativity, beauty, future possibilities

and the Spirit dancing in our midst, we pray. Amen

WE LISTEN

READING from Ephesians 4

In the letter to the Ephesians we are assured that when we speak the truth in love we will be the mature body of Christ in the world. We are reminded that when we work together we are able to make a positive impact in the world. As the author of the letter says “Joined and held together by every supporting ligament the body of Christ will grow and build itself up in love as each part does its work.” 

A NEW CREED

We are not alone,    

we live in God’s world.

We believe in God:   

who has created and is creating,    

who has come in Jesus,      

 the Word made flesh,       

to reconcile and make new,    

who works in us and others

by the Spirit.  

We trust in God. 

We are called to be the Church:   

to celebrate God’s presence,    

to live with respect in Creation,    

to love and serve others,    

to seek justice and resist evil,    

to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,       

our judge and our hope. 

In life, in death, in life beyond death,    

God is with us.

We are not alone.      

Thanks be to God.

STORYTIME FOR ALL AGES

Yarn connecting us together activity…

HYMN: VU #649 Walk with Me, chorus only 

READINGS

As we prepare to enter more deeply into relationship with each other throughout Shining Waters Regional Council and beyond, we are invited to allow some readings speak to our minds, hearts and the core of wisdom within us. As they are read simply notice what you notice … you don’t need to engage every word … let the images or ideas that speak to you linger within you to prayerfully open you to how we will be together in this new community we are creating and how we can imagine new possibilities together:

Jesus said, Love one another as I have loved you.

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” Jack Layton’s final thoughts to us

Winnie the Pooh nudges us with this thought “You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” 

From Thomas Merton … “To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.”

“The conclusion is always the same: love is the most powerful and still the most unknown energy in the world.” -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

God speaks to us through the prophet Isaiah: The time will come when broken relationships will be healed and the wolf and the lamb lie down together, when deserts will blossom, and when tools of violence will be turned into tools for nurture. 

The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time. Mary Oliver

In these times of change Albert Einstein reminds us: “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

Margaret Mead: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world – indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.  

In the letter of John, we are reminded: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  If we love one another, God lives in us, and God’s love is perfected in us.”

HYMN: MV 14 Where Two or Three are Gathered 

REFLELCTIONS: Creating Connections  

In these times of change in which we live, 

we remember Jesus’ promise to us 

that we are not alone.

The gospel stories attest to the ongoing support of Jesus’ vision for community:

Where two or three are gathered I’ll be there … 

Jesus with us … shaping us … inspiring us … challenging us …

We are not alone in the midst of these times of change

that are impacting us in our church and in our world …

a time that is filled with 

overwhelming painful realities and 

overflowing positive possibilities. 

This is a critical time…

a time to actively be open to future possibilities

of how we can continue to be part of creating a world 

that aligns with the central teaching from Jesus 

about the Kingdom of God on earth, 

where the power that reigns is love.

The intentions behind our new governance model in The United Church of Canada

is to ensure that our primary focus is on ministry and mission,

of actively being the presence of God’s love in the world 

rather than investing significant time and energy 

into sustaining the institution of the church.

The hope is that as we live into being a Regional Council community, 

there will be desire, energy, and commitment to journeying together

to deepen connections built on common areas of 

interest, outreach, longing for learning, justice seeking, 

and shared experience and challenges.

Already we have seen some exciting new groups forming. 

And we have seen old patterns giving way to new collaborations. 

Though there was a time when congregations sometimes 

lived like silos, disconnected from one another by living solo lives, 

… there now is a shift. 

The same shift is happening at the denominational level

with staff across the country collaborating in new and more intentional ways.

“Creating Connections” is the theme of

 the Inaugural meeting of Shining Waters Regional Council

so that we can begin to imagine and develop

new ways of being in relationship with each other.

And now Communities of Faith all over the Region are being invited

to join our hearts and our voices with others and be intentional 

about how we will develop healthy life-giving ways of collaborating.

After this time of Reflection, we will be invited to 

share in a liturgy that is being used at the Inaugural Meeting

that seeks to name our understanding of why we collaborate  

rooted in scripture and our commitment to right relations. 

We know we are in a time of change. 

In times of change we know we will be changed 

as we allow ourselves to be open to what we will become. 

May it be so by the power of the Spirit moving in our midst

and through our intention for our actions to be rooted in the teachings of Jesus

and in our commitments and declarations as The United Church of Canada. Amen

*THEME SONG: Awake, Arise

*QUESTION OF INTENTION (please continue to rise as you are able)

One: A question to us as the people of Shining Waters: Are we willing to be open to how Spirit will call us, trusting that we are being led into a new way of collaborating together? Are we willing to be open to the creativity emerging in our midst so that new possibilities can be explored? 

 All: We are willing, and we will hold one another across Shining Waters Regional Council in our prayers and ask for blessings upon each other’s ministry. 

* OUR COMMITMENT TO COLLABORATE

One:  We are invited to join in declaring our commitment to collaborate as together we respond to God’s call to us. It is based on scripture and our commitment to live in right relations. We declare together:

 All:  Our commitment and intention to collaborate in healthy life-giving ways is rooted in our sense of call: 

To love one another as we are beloved; 

To band together to create a world where broken relationships are healed and the wolf and the lamb lie down together, where deserts blossom, and where tools of violence are turned into tools to nurture life; To seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly together in peace upon this earth; 

To be intentional about how we are in relationship so that the power that reigns is love.  

Based on John 12, Jesus’ Baptism, Isaiah Vision, Micah, One Earth Community, Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, Ephesians 4, Kingdom of God Parables

MINUTE FOR MISSION

WE RESPOND

OFFERING WITH LOOSE CHANGE FOR MISSION & SERVICE

Offertory Hymn: MV 27  

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE underscore with Deep in Our Hearts MV #154 all the way through so that when we sing each verse that weaves through the prayer the music is in people’s minds.

Let us pray:  Creator God, we open our hearts this day in thanks for all the blessings of life. We thank you for the vision you have given us of the oneness of creation, and the blessings that are possible when we truly feel at one with each other and with creation. Help us look at each other in the same way you look at us:  with understanding, compassion, forgiveness, hope, and as all part of one family. Help us live out a common vision, a common song, a common story of oneness.

(Sung MV 154)

Deep in our hearts,

there is a common vision;

deep in our hearts there is a common song;

deep in our hearts there is a common story,

telling Creation that we are one.

God of harmony,

guide us in our attitudes, words, and actions

as we seek to live out a common purpose,

a common goal of justice and peace for all.

Free us from draining judgements, limited thinking,

and illusions of separateness,

so that we come to view each person,

each part of creation, as sacred,

and so treat everyone and everything with fairness,

kindness, and compassion.

In this way, may we do our part

to help bring about the justice and peace we all seek.

Deep in our hearts

there is a common purpose;

deep in our hearts

there is a common goal;

deep in our hearts

there is a sacred message,

justice and peace in harmony.

God of all,

our hearts go out this day to all those whose story is one 

of suffering, loss, pain, or loneliness.

We pray for those who are recovering … 

for those seeking freedom where there is war, cruelty, and injustice; 

for refugees wandering in great numbers upon the earth;

for those struggling with abusive relationships,

addictions, and inner wounds that have not yet healed.

Where we can offer healing, where we can bring hope, 

where we can contribute something helpful, 

help us find the courage and strength to do so.

Help us work together so that freedom and love 

flow like an everlasting stream.

Deep in our hearts

there is a common longing

deep in our hearts

there is a common theme

deep in our hearts

there is a common current,

flowing to freedom like a stream.

And so, Creator God, we pray for a deeper awareness of our oneness.

We pray that each of us will give

of our time, talents, finances, prayers, being and service—

knowing that by so doing, we will become good stewards

of our precious earth and be in harmony

with our common vision, with the way Jesus lived,

with you, and with all creation.

By the power of the Spirit, may this be our common song!

Deep in our hearts,

there is a common vision;

deep in our hearts

there is a common song;

deep in our hearts

there is a common story,     

telling Creation that we are one.

We bring these and all other prayers of our hearts 

before you, loving God,

as we join our voices together in the prayer of Jesus … 

The Lord’s Prayer

HYMN: VU 697 “O For a World” (tune Amazing Grace VU 266) 

COMMISSIONING AND BLESSING  

All: Let us go forth into the world with a daring and tender love. The world is waiting. Let us go in peace. And as we journey may we see the face of God’s love in everyone we meet and may everyone we meet see the face of God’s love in us. 

POSTLUDE   

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