Revd Rex A E Hunt

eMail: rexae@optusnet.com.au
Web site:  www.rexaehuntprogressive.com


30 March 2014. Lent 4A. (Purple).
Commissioning of a Lay Leader

Acknowledgement of Country
(An act towards reconciliation)

For thousands of years Indigenous people have walked
in this land, on their own country.
Their relationship with the land is at the centre of their lives.

We acknowledge the (NN) People and their stewardship
of this land throughout the ages.

(NN) is a safe place for all people to worship regardless of
race, creed, age, cultural background or sexual orientation


Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

Blessed be the changing seasons of our living.
Blessed be the reliable balancing act of nature.
Blessed be the rededication of values and meaning of life.

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The candle is lit

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
God Who Carved... Landscape”  (Tune: ‘Dansey’).     31 FFS
God who carved this timeless landscape,
snow-clad ridge to valley plain,
power of surging race and river,
limestone crag and scarred terrain;
maker still of earth, fire, water,
artistry of sight and sound,
Southern lights and sunset splendour,
raise our eyes and you are found.

Calendar of nature's balance,
rhythms of the farming year,
shearing, milking, ploughing, pruning,
manger setting ever near!
lonely struggle in the byways,
nor'west dust or snow and flood,
fellowship of tears and laughter:
Lord, with you, we're understood.

Giving thanks for those before us,
village life and tussock track,
as we turn to face the future,
history's wind upon our back;
scattered are our congregations,
each now shares in ministry,
bonding strength of work together:
spirit of community.  DGrierson
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
We are people of faith.
We are called to listen for the wind;
to encounter the Spirit.
All  Who will tell us what God wants us to do?

Our pioneers in the faith dared to trust God;
they left all to follow a call and a promise.
All  Where is it that God wants to lead us?

We have received the promise of steadfast love.
All  God has blessed us, and our hearts are glad.

Act of Awareness


We pray:
Awesome and gracious God,
you who are the power that brings us to life
and the spirit that sustains us.

May we become what is in our power to become.
May it be so.

Hymn Here in the Busy City”  166 AOV2
Here in the busy city 
now let the church be seen
where lesser gods are worshipped
in money and machine;
where news is but sensation,
the Good News hardly heard
now let the church take action
in living out the word!

In policies and planning
the church be there to speak
to moderate the powerful,
to argue for the weak:
where law must sit in judgement
and love is little known,
there at the crisis centre
the Christ concern be shown.

Where litter chokes the gutter
and people go to waste,
where joblessness is bitter
and living lost its taste
to underlevened people
be proof of rising yeast,
in lives devoid of flavour
be saltiness released!

Here in the busy city
God walks on every street
in generous or greedy,
the honest or the cheat,
and daily we must offer
the good that goes unpriced
with vigour and with vision
the lifestyle of the Christ  SEMurray.
The people sit after the hymn

In your own words

A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are worshipping at (NN) for the first time
or who have returned after an absence.

Your presence both enriches us
and this time of celebration together.
Refer to printed liturgy.
Fellowship hour following worship.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.


Come apart from the busyness of family and work,
and dwell in the presentness of God
who is our source of being.

May the silence which we now share
quieten us,
touch our need,
refresh our courage,
enlarge our wonder.

Music of Reflection


Reading from our Biblical Tradition
A story from our biblical tradition shall be read by (NN).

Traditional Gospel:
John 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 33-34  (Inclusive Text)

Jesus went along and saw a man blind from birth.

Jesus spat on the ground, made mud with the spittle,
put this over the eyes of the blind man, and said,
“Go and wash in the pool of Siloam'.

So the blind man went off and washed,
and came away with sight restored.

The neighbours and people who earlier had seen him begging, said,
'Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?'
Some said, 'Yes, it is the same one.'
Others said, 'No, he only looks like him.'
The man said, 'I am the one…'

They brought the man who had been blind to the Pharisees.
It had been a sabbath day when Jesus made the paste 
and opened the man's eyes,
so when the Pharisees asked how he had come to see, he said,
'The one they call Jesus put paste on my eyes,
and I washed and I can see.'

Then some of the Pharisees said,
'This Jesus can not be from God: he does not keep the sabbath.'

Others said, 'How could a sinner produce signs like this?'
And there was disagreement among them.

So they spoke to the blind man again,
'What do you have to say about this Jesus yourself,
now that he has opened your eyes?'
'He is a prophet', replied the man.

'Are you trying to teach us,' they replied, ‘and you a sinner
through and through, since you were born!'
And they drove the man away.

Contemporary Exploration
• A Sermon suitable for this day can be found in my book, Against the Stream. Progressive Christianity Between Pulpit and Pew.

Silence for Personal Reflection


An Affirmation of Peace and Justice
In response to the Word reflected on, let us stand and share together
an affirmation written by some people in Indonesia.
The people stand as they are able

All I believe in God, who is love and who has given the earth to all people.

I believe in Jesus Christ, who came to heal us
and to free us from all forms of oppression.

I believe in the Spirit of God,
who works in and through all who are turned to towards the truth.

I believe in the community of faith,
which is called to be at the service of all people.

I believe in God’s promise
to finally destroy the power of sin in us all
and to establish the kingdom of justice and peace for all humanity.

v1 I do not believe in the right of the strongest,
nor the force of arms, nor the power of oppression.
v2 I believe in human rights, in the solidarity of all people,
in the power of non-violence.
v3 I do not believe in racism,
in the power that comes from wealth and privilege,
or in any established order that enslaves.

v4 I believe that all men and women are equally human,
that order based on violence and injustice is not order.
v5 I do not believe that war and hunger are inevitable and peace unattainable.
v6 I believe in beauty of simplicity,
in love with open hands, in peace on earth.
All I do not believe that suffering needs to be in vain,
that death is the end, that the disfigurement of the world
is what God intended.

But I dare to believe always and in spite of everything,
in God’s power to transform and transfigure,
fulfilling the promise of a new heaven and a new earth
where justice and peace will flourish. Adapted from an Indonesian creed/dd


Lay leader comes forward.

The Story
Once upon a time, in the beginning,
a labour of love and outreach was undertaken.

And a place was established where all persons might find
space and hospitality and inclusion.
And it was called (NN).

And the labour of love progressed.
And it grew.
And it was very good.
All We are an inclusive community of people
who seek together to discern the transforming presence of God
in the world and in our own lives,
and to respond to that discovery through
worship, mission, hospitality, conversation and care.

The Ministry
For several years now (NN) has served this congregation
as its Urban Community Worker.
As a result, (NN Congregation) has become very well known and respected
in the local communities we serve.

But time has come to reshape that work,
and Church Council has now given it a new focus
through the recently established (NN Wellbeing Centre.

The Centre is a holistic response to health and well-being for people of all ages.
And it seeks to make this response through the supply of
extra support for parents, families, older people, and carers,
by being both a safe place, as well as providing
useful information and practical living skills, to all.

The role of Manager will be to work with our Centre tenants
encouraging them to join with us
in promoting existing and new outreach activities,
thus enriching the lives of all who come to this place.

Today we commission (NN) to this new work
as Manager, NN Wellbeing Centre.
The people stand

Commissioning Prayer
v1 We pray remembering God prays within us:
We give thanks for all those who, over the years,
have offered care and hospitality and outreach,
as part of this inclusive community called (NN) Congregation.

May they all continue to be blessed with God's love and care.

This day we also give thanks for (NN):
for the community work she has done in the past,
and for the new tasks set before her today as
Manager, (NN) Wellbeing Centre.

May she be blessed with God’s love and care.
May we always be prepared to offer our support to her,
that she may never feel alone in her challenging work.

v2 And the labourers looked at all that had been accomplished,
and the people rejoiced, for it was very good.

Sharing 'The Peace'
This is a house of God.  A place of peace.
A place where we befriend one another.
Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace and of our shared friendship.

The peace of God is here... to stay. (Iona)
All Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours, and with (NN)


Reflections and Prayers
Care Candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and concerns shared.

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
In caring for one another
All May we be untiring.
In sheltering one another
All May we be strong.
In holding one another
All May we be tender (GVosper/ab).

In all our joys and in all our concerns, may we be ever mindful
of the presentness of the sacred among us,
and to see the new possibilities of the now.
The Care candle is lit

The Abba Prayer:
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Lord's Prayer in your original language, as that is appropriate

All  Eternal Spirit
Source of all that is and ever shall be,
Loving Parent in whom we discern heaven,
May knowledge of your holiness inspire all peoples.

And may your commonwealth of peace and freedom
flourish on earth, until all of humankind
heed your call to justice and compassion.

May we find the bread that we need for today.
And for the hurts we cause one another
may we be forgiven in the same measure
that we forgive.

In times of trial and temptation, help us to be strong;
When life seems overwhelming, help us to endure;
And thus from the yoke of sin deliver us.

May you reign in the power of human love,
Now and forever. (THall)


With the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat


"Somewhere someone":
The kingdom of love is coming because:
All  somewhere someone is kind when others are unkind,
somewhere someone shares with another in need,
somewhere someone refuses to hate, while others hate,
somewhere someone is patient - and waits in love,
somewhere someone returns good for evil,
somewhere someone serves another, in love,
somewhere someone is calm in a storm,
somewhere someone is loving everybody.
Is that someone you?  (jke)

Our offerings for the work of ministry in this place and beyond,
and our gifts of bread and wine, shall now be received.

As the many threads are made one in the cloth,
as the many grains are made one in the bread,
as the many grapes are made one in the wine,
so we who are many are made one
when we gather at this table.  NSlee/bb

The invitation
Here today, through bread and wine,
we renew our unity with one another,
and with all those who have gone before us in this place.

Here today, through bread and wine,
we renew our communion with the earth
and our interwovenness with the broken ones of the world.

The Story
We are reminded again of the tradition that surrounds this story.

Long ago, on the night of his arrest,
Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and broke it:
v2  'This bread is broken, as my body will be'.

And he handed it to his friends, inviting them to eat:
v2  'Remember all that I have been to you'.

Long ago, on that same night,
Jesus poured a cup of wine, offered thanks for it,
and gave it to his friends:
v2  'This wine is poured out, as my life will be.
Remember me and give thanks for all I have given'.

Creating God, Source of Life, we offer our thanks.
The smell of gums after rain,
The surprise of ducks in flight,
The taste of peach and plum and nectarine,

For all gifts simple and profound,
in country and city,
in paddock, or back yard and on lake:
We give thanks.
All We give thanks.

We who hold all such good things in trust
join in the praise of all people:
All Holy! Holy! Holy!
Heaven and earth are holy and good.
Holy is peace.
Holy is truth.  Holy is love.

In this season of transition
as the leaves begin their subtle change of colour
and our hearts cling to the warmth as the days shorten,
once again we are reminded, 
that new possibilities can rise from our failures
or disappointments
or what has come to an end.

We give thanks for all the influences in our lives
that have helped us to see beyond the present:
that teach us to combine labour and rest,
that bring us the cycles of time and season,
that sustain us when we are in need.
All  God loves in us;
God cares through us;
God laughs in us;
God cries in us, as nowhere else.

Especially we give thanks for Jesus of Nazareth,
gatherer of folk,
teller of stories,
breaker of bread,
pourer of wine,
weaver of lives.

In his life, wisdom, stories and social vision
we recall the words he spoke to call forth in us
love, care and respect for one another:
All And we believe the same Spirit of God
that came to visibility in Jesus
yearns for visible expression in us

Bread and Wine
So we take this bread and this wine...
The bread is broken... the wine poured, in silence.

Bread broken…
Wine poured out… for the life of the world.

Come, taste of this same bread and wine...
Gifts of the earth.
Work of human hands.
Distribution of bread and wine, in continuous line

After Communion
May the bread and the wine,
the fellowship and the remembering,
be a blessing on us all.


Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
We Laugh, We Cry”  (Tune: ‘Credo’, Irreg.)     354 (v1-2) SLT
We laugh, we cry, we live, we die;
we dance, we sing our song.
We need to feel there’s something here
to which we can belong.
We need to feel the freedom
just to have some time alone.
But most of all we need close friends
we can call our very own.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a need to be together.
We have our hearts to give,
we have our thoughts to receive;
and we believe that sharing is an answer.

A child is born among us and
we feel a special glow.
We see time’s endless journey
as we watch the baby grow.
We thrill to hear
imagination freely running wild.
We dedicate our minds and hearts
To the spirit of this child.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a time to be together.
And with the grace of age,
we share the wonder of youth;
and we believe that growing is an answer.
Remain standing

Parting Words
The God we worship is never confined to this holy place.
So go and travel with the God
who is found in ordinary and surprising places.
The community candle is extinguished

Take off your shoes:
All Hear a word that leads to danger.
The ground on which you stand is holy ground.

Go speak a word:
All Challenge lies that mean oppression.
The world in which you live is God’s domain.

Come travel on:
All Leave a past which wants to bind you.
The place towards which you go is promised land.  GAinger/dd

Words of Blessing
The blessing of God:
star maker, friend maker, wisdom maker,
make and remake you
in the image of God. RBurgess/bb
All Amen! May it be so!

Hymn (Cont)We Laugh, We Cry” (Tune: ‘Credo’, Irreg.)    354 (v3-4) SLT
Our lives are full of wonder and
our time is very brief.
The death of one among us
fills us all with pain and grief.
But as we live, so
shall we die and when our lives are done
the memories we shared with friends,
they will linger on and on.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a place to be together.
We have the right to grow,
we have the gift to believe;
that peace within our living is an answer.

We seek elusive answers to
the questions of this life.
We seek to put an end to
all the waste of human strife.
We search for truth,
equality, and blessed peace of mind.
And then, we come together here,
to make sense of what we find.

And we believe in life,
and in the strength of love;
and we have found a joy being together.
And in our search for peace,
maybe we’ll finally see;
even to question, truly, is an answer.  (SJDenham)
The people sit after the hymn

'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
Significant events
Journey candles


Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in the moment of fellowship.

You are invited to keep this copy of the liturgy and take it home with you
to share with another member of your family, or with a friend

I recommend the use of
LicenSing - Copyright cleared music for churches

Some of the resources used in shaping this liturgy:
(AOV2) As One Voice2. Uniting God's people in song. NSW: Manly Vale. Willow Connection.
Binkley, C. G. & J. M. McKeel. 2001. Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An international curriculum on the life and teaching of Jesus. CA: Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press.
Burgess, R. 2001. A Book of Blessings. Brit: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Duncan, G. (ed). 1995. Dare to Dream. A prayer and worship anthology from around the world. Brit: London. Fount/HarperCollins.
(FFS) Faith forever singing. Songs for a new day. 2000. NZ: Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust. 
(HoS) Hope is our Song. New hymns and songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. NZ: Palmerston North. The New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
Inclusive Readings. Year A.
. QLD: Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation.
Iona Community. 2001. Iona Abbey Worship Book. Brit: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Morely, J. 1992. All Desires Known. Expanded edition. Brit: London. SPCK.
Morwood, M. 2003.  Praying a new story. VIC: Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
Seaburg, C. (ed). 1993.  The communion book. MA: Boston. UUMA.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. 1993.  MA: Boston. UUA.
Vosper, G. 2009/2010.
Another Breath. Prayers for celebration and reflection. QLD: Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane.
Withrow, L. 1995.  Seasons of prayer. Resources for worship. GtB: London. SPCK.

Web sites,/Other etc:
(General) UUA Worship Web. Boston. 
Tom Hall. The Lord's Prayer. Direct form the author. (Also published in The Fourth 4).