Revd Rex A E Hunt
Web site:


4 September 2011. Pentecost 12A/17A/Creation 1A. (Green).
Forest Sunday
Celebrating community: Sacrament of Holy Communion

Acknowledgement of Land
(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

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life
in the presentness of God.

Lighting of the Candle
The community Candle is lit in silence

v2 Fountain of life...
Pulse of life...
Breath of life...
All Earth is filled with the presentness of God.

v1 A planet filled with the presentness of God
All quivering in the forests,
vibrating in the land,
pulsating in the wilderness,
shimmering in the rivers.
v2 Together this day, let us sense
the face of God in all creation.

Hymn The people stand as they are able, to sing
"O For A Thousand Trees"  (Tune: ‘Richmond’, 86 86. 425 TiS)     21 HH
O for a thousand trees to sing
And join with us this day,
With ferns and frogs and butterflies:
A forest hymn of praise.

Come celebrate with all the land,
Let species rare begin,
With geese and owls and cockatoos:
A choir of country kin.

How can we hear creation groan,
The outback cry in pain?
With desert dragons we rejoice
When Earth is born again.

Let ev’ry stream and river flow
In song toward the sea;
With whale and seal and albatross
We thank God we are free.

O for a thousand trees to sing,
And join with us this day,
With ferns and frogs and butterflies:
A forest hymn of praise.  NHabel
Remain standing after the hymn

Opening Sentences
We invite the forests to worship with us:
All Mountain ash and eucalypts,
quivering ferns and glistening moss!
We quiver with the trees as they shake before God:
when tempests and tornadoes hit,
and raging winds invade the forest.
We invite tall trees to celebrate life:
Huon pines and ironbark,
tall timber where lizards and lichen
find their home!

We invite the forest night-life to sing:
All Green tree frogs and timid moths,
ancient owls and swirling bats!
We join with the fauna of the forest in praising God:
All Lyrebirds and black cockatoos,
platypuses, pythons and butterflies!

We celebrate the song of the forest!
All Sing, forest, sing! (NHabel/soc)

Prayer of Awareness
We pray:
Creativity God, whose renewing breath fills our planet,
may we discern this vibrant presence among us,
especially in the mysteries of the forest.

May our spirits be lifted to rejoice with the forest
and all the creatures of the forest, this day.

Hymn "God of the Galaxies(Tune: Cheam)    54 AA
God of the galaxies spinning in space,
God of the smallest seed, our living source,
yours is the gift of this beautiful place.
Let us care for your garden
and honour the earth.

Careless and covetous, gross are our greeds,
taking the riches the garden provides,
wasting its goodness, forgetting its needs.
Let us care for your garden
and honour the earth.

Forests and rivers are ravaged and die,
raped is the land till it bleeds in its clay,
silenced the birdsong and plundered the sea.
Let us care for your garden
and honour the earth.  SEMurray


"God is Surroundly Inherent" (Tune: "Wunderbarer Konig", 668D 33. 66. 121 TiS)   14 SNS2
All the cosmos beaming;
All creation gleaming;
So we stand in awe and silence.
Galaxies are dancing;
Stars, the night enhancing;
Constellations claim our reverence.
God's own heart
Seen in part,
Shines in all the brilliance;
Shows forth God's transcendence.

Microscopic sources
Hold such mighty forces
In the atom's sacred magic.
Germs can be our masters;
Makers of disasters;
So minute, yet cause 'the tragic'.
Smaller still
Genes, with skill,
Breed God's inborn presence
In our human essence.

God is all, surrounding;
Source of life abounding;
Ground of being, spirit swelling.
Inmost at our centre,
There we all encounter
God as love and grace indwelling.
We adore
Worshipped down through history,
God the wondrous mystery GStuart
The people sit

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.


Take the eucalyptus leaf you received at the door,
rub it between your fingers, break it, smell it,
and share with the person next to you
rich childhood memories of the forest,
the bush or a special tree.

We remember the gardens and the forests of our childhood.
The places where we played in the past,
when we felt close to Earth and to trees.
All We remember and rejoice.

Now, away from the busyness of life
and in the silence of this place,
let us give thanks for trees,
for forests, filled with mysteries!

Sung reflection
All  As this day dawns in beauty,
we pledge ourselves
to repair the web.

Earth is a sanctuary, a sacred planet
filled with the presentness of God.
All A home for us to share with our kin. (NHabel/soc)


Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our broad religious tradition
shall now be read by (NN).

From the world around us:
"Let the trees be consulted..."
By John Wright. Earth Prayers/105.

Let the trees be consulted
before you take any action
every time you breathe in
thank a tree

let treeroots crack parking lots
at the world bank headquarters
let loggers be druids
specially trained and rewarded
to sacrifice trees at auspicious times
let carpenters be master artisans
let lumber be treasured like gold
let chainsaws be played like saxophones
let soldiers on maneuvers plant trees
give police and criminals
a shovel and a thousand seedlings
let businessmen carry pocketfuls of acorns
let newlyweds honeymoon in the woods

walk don't drive
stop reading newspapers
stop writing poetry
squat under a tree
and tell stories


“Into the woods”
By Meg Lawton. SBNR.Org.

Crisp, quiet.  Just us.  Almost.
A path, winding somewhere to follow, over there.
We go.
Running, mostly walking.

Sticks become rivers to jump.
Trees are lookouts.
A magical carpet of fallen leaves covers the earth.
So we fly.

We break the stillness with loud sing silly songs.
Make up jokes.
Race each other to the top.
And the deer watch.

We stop. Puffing, panting.
And look up at the yellow ceiling above.
There is no sky,
not here.

“Wow,” she says, “Look at all that gold.”
“We’re rich,” he says breathing in the moment deeply.

Taking each of their hands as we walk home,
it’s simple.  I nod.  Yes. (C) 2009 Meg Lawton.

Inspired by the Hebrew scriptures:
“Creation accounts in Genesis”
By Miriam Therese Winter. Womanprayer. Womansong/25-27.

In the beginning
the very beginning,
God gave birth to,
God delivered,
God created
the heavens and the earth.

Yes, out of the womb
of fertile divinity
emerged our mother
the earth.
v3  Mother earth, sister sea, giving birth, energy,
reaching out, touching me lovingly.

The earth was formless
and empty.
There was darkness
over the deep.

God paused,
Her brooding spirit
over the face of the waters,
savoring the stillness,
embracing the mystical moment,
contemplating the indissoluble cord
binding Her to the earth.
v4  Mother earth, sister sea, giving birth, energy,
reaching out, touching me lovingly.

God loved
the fruit of Her womb
with all its potential for good.
She broke the silence,
Let there be light!

Her sunlight chased the shadows.
She danced with the moon and the stars.
She sang all life into being:
seeds, trees,
fruits and flowers,
birds that took to the heavens
and creatures that kept to the earth.

She taught earth all about motherhood,
about nurture,
about birth.
v5  Mother earth, sister sea, giving birth, energy,
reaching out, touching me lovingly.

God sang:
Let there be life
fashioned in My image.

She created humankind
in Her image,
rational beings
She created them,
female and male
She created them,
from out of the earth
She created them.
From humus of earth,
from mud, from muck,

She fashioned in Her image
and man,
breathed into them
Her spirit,
the very breath of life.

From the beginning,
is the love child of our God
in the womb of mother earth.
v6 Mother earth, sister sea, giving birth, energy,
reaching out, touching me lovingly.

Contemporary Word

Silence for Personal Reflection


A Celebration of Faith
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share a celebration of faith.
The people stand as they are able

In desert and bushland, mountain and water,
we see the signs that God is with us.
All In grass that grows through cities of concrete and brick,
we see the signs that God is with us.

In the faces of people whom God so loves,
All we see the signs that God is with us.
In our brokenness,
there is the hope of wholeness.
All In our emptiness,
there is the hope of fullness.
In our deaths,
All lies the hope of resurrection life.

This is the Word in Christ to us.
All The flame of the Holy Spirit
lives in this place
and travels with us.  Adapt. DMcRae-McMahon/eoj


Litany of Spring
The icy frosts of winter
Give way to springtime dew.
Frost-bitten fuschias
Struggle to burst forth in new bud.
All   Thanks be to God.

Early morning dew on cobwebs,
Hangs like crystal on the weeds
along the roadside,
Reminding us of creations's plan
for all creatures; great and small.
All   Thanks be to God.

The winter has been short and dry; 
Cold wind never quite giving way to rain
Driving its clouds on towards the coast;
But the seed lying in the thirsty ground
Has still burst forth.
All   Thanks be to God.

We cannot hold you in the spider's web, a God;
We cannot hold you in the winds that drive the windmill;
For you are also in the thirsty ground,
The budding fuschia,
and the struggling seed.
Great is your faithfulness
O Lord, our God.

Daffodil and jonquil 
Filling fields and lining driveways,
Cheer the heart;
Perfumed daphney awakens dulled senses;
And songbirds declare the joy of living.
All   Thanks be to God.

We cannot hold you in the daffodil or daphne;
For you are also in the air we breathe 
And in the magpie's song
Reminding us again of creation's plan.
Great is your faithfulness 
O Lord, our God. Pam Wyley/grpe

The Peace
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.
The peace of God is here… to stay. (Iona)
All Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours

Hymn of the Month  People stand as they are able, to sing
Silent Spring Song(Tune: ‘Huia’) 36 TEL
Now is the time for a reckoning,
now all is flowering and flourishing,
God, help your children
mindfully listen:
soon there may just be a silent spring.

Silent the voices in bush and tree,
silent the creatures of air and sea,
God, help your children
mindfully listen:
ours are the hands that took earth for free.

We are the root of the earth’s unease,
we are the pirates who dredge the seas,
God, help your children
mindfully listen:
ours is the creed doing as we please.

We are bounty of all you give,
we are the sorrow that makes you grieve,
God, help your children
mindfully listen:
mindfully choose how the world will live!  (SEMurray)
People sit


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)

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

Listening response:
In the light and beauty of day
All We give thanks in awe and wonder.
In the dark and stillness of night
All We dream of healing and hope  (GVosper/wwg)

And so we take this flame and light our special care candle.
The Care candle is lit

v2   When we are grieving or sad,
When we are challenged,
When we need help,
The flame of this candle guides us out of the darkness.

v3   When we are cheerful,
When we celebrate,
When we accomplish a great task,
When we return to a place that makes us happy,
The flame of this candle reminds us
to share our happiness with others (Adapt/APalmer)

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

All   God - heart of the world:
revealed through every aspect of creation:
understood through our awareness.

May we honour the holiness of creation and act accordingly
so that your love is reflected
in the way we live.
May we always be thankful for the food we eat
and the friends we have.
May we forgive those who transgress against us
and be forgiven for our own.

In the freedom of love may we live as your heartbeat
and not be compromised by hesitation.
Through our freedom, may your justice
be seen and heard and experienced
forever and ever.  Amen.  SJWeinberg


Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place and beyond,

and our gifts of bread and wine, shall now be received.

Presentation  People stand as the gifts are presented
Valuing God,
help us to find a meaning in life,
a purpose,
a belonging.

May we find pleasure in receiving from life
and satisfaction in enriching life  (FMacnab/fwb).
People sit

Centering Words
The earth has gone the round of seasons:
from the vibrant green of spring's new life
to the lush richness of warm summer,
to the brilliant fulfillment of riotous autumn,
to the generosity and self-giving of winter.

Now we stand again, touched by the promise
of new life in the spring.  DBumbaugh/cb

As we celebrate the renewal of life and hope,
we also celebrate the presentness
of the Spirit of Life and Hope and Creativity,
everywhere around and within us.

No matter who you are, or where you are
on life's journey, you are welcome
at this table with it's symbols of God's Creative Presence.
All In company with all who seek nourishment at this table,
we come to celebrate community, and to share
these life-giving symbols.  (JStinson/adapt.)

v3  In the early spring, pale green blades of wheat
broke through the earth's surface.

v4  This hand of mine began to take shape millions of years ago
as the first leaves stretched out for nourishment and light.

v5  Eons ago the earth itself was glowing with heat
as it separated itself from the sun.
All (singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth. (Smith & Taussig/mt)

v3  By mid-summer the wheat stems sway heavily
in the breeze for acres and acres
of green and golden earth.

v4  The early species of kangaroo,
able to move quickly and nimbly in a way
we can only imitate, learned which plants
were best for them to eat and sought them out.

v5  The ground we stand on carries in it
the remnants of volcanos and oceans
which once dominated the landscape.
All (singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.

v3  This morning we gather around the bread,
which comes from the wheat in the paddocks.

v4  This morning we celebrate our oneness
with the plants and the animals,
which precede and surround us.

v5  This morning we remember we are earth people,
united with each other and to all on this globe
by the ground under us.

3,4,5  One body, one history, one home for us all.
All (singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.

3,4,5  One body, one history, one home for us all.
All (singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.


3,4,5  One body, one history, one home for us all.
All (singing) You send your breath.
And they come to life.
You give the earth
the bloom of youth.

The Tradition
On the night of his arrest, so the story is told,
Jesus shared again a meal with his friends.

He took the bread, offered thanks, broke it,
and gave it to them, inviting them to eat.
Bread broken

Afterwards, he poured a cup of wine,
offered thanks, and gave it to them,
inviting them to drink.
Wine poured out

And we remember…
v3  Life grows from the earth.
The kernel of wheat lives in the soil before it breaks ground.
As it stretches itself skyward, it also reaches deeper into the earth.

v4  Water and nourishment blend with sunlight as the stalk
begins to produce kernels of its own.

v5  This bread holds those kernels, that sunshine, that soil and water.
As we take it into ourselves, we affirm our own roots in the earth.

This is the ground we stand upon,
the earth yearning to be inside us.
It is the life we have taken in order to live ourselves.
v3  Life flows toward us from the Source beyond us.
It is a stream that creates us anew each day.

v4  It is a stream that wants to make its way through us.
A stream that flows through the city and country.

v5  A stream that readies a harvest in every season.

This is the life we have received from the earth
and from our forbearers.
This is the pulsing energy that has made a home in us
and that we give on  (Smith & Taussig/mt).

To eat and drink together reminds us
of the deeper aspects of human fellowship,
for from time immemorial
the sharing of bread and wine has been
the most universal of all symbols of community.
Bread and wine served

After Communion
We give thanks that we have
gathered together in this sacred place,
and been refreshed at this table.

We rejoice in the giftedness of each person here.
We are grateful for who we are for each other.
May we go forth into the world in courage and peace.


Hymn  "The Sound of History Humming(Tune: 457 TiS, Aurelia, 76 76D)
The sound of history humming,
the origins of time,
as galaxies are clustered,
as light and matter rhyme:
philosophers imagine
while science gathers facts,
we reach for understanding,
yet what we know contracts.

We delve beyond the present
through interstellar gas;
we fathom, seek to measure,
a sub-atomic mass.
The God that we conceive of,
a thief within the night:
we cannot gauge this treasure,
beyond the scale of light.
Remain standing

Words of Mission
Let us take on this week’s life with renewed hope and imagination...
The candle is extinguished

Hold again the eucalyptus leaf in your hands
as you go forth into this week.
v2 Will you care for creation?
All We will care for creation!
We will nurture the forests!
We will celebrate life!

v2 This we know, the earth does not belong to us,
All We belong to the earth.

Blessing Words
Go in peace to claim the life of Christ within your midst:
and may the earth be warm under your feet,
the rain bring the gentle flowers
of the bush bright around you,
and the wind blows as the breath of the Spirit before you.
All Amen.

Hymn (Cont)  "The Sound of History Humming(Tune: 457 TiS, Aurelia, 76 76D)
As yet the mystery blinds us,
confined by birth and death,
but human exploration
will not discard the quest;
as yet we live in tension:
the only earth we know
is where all skill and science
must help our love to grow.  © APratt
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:
(AA) Alleluia Aotearoa. Hymns and songs for all churches. 1993. NZ: Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust.
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.
Christ, C. P. 2003. She Who Changes. Re-imagining the divine in the world. NY: New York. Palgrave Macmillan. 
(HH) Habel, Norman. 2004. Habel Hymns 1. Songs to celebrate with creation. SA: Adelaide. Flinders Press.
Iona Community. 2001. Iona Abbey Worship Book. GtB: Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications.
Liebelt, P; N. Nicholls. (ed). 1996.
Gentle Rain on Parched Earth. Worship resources for rural situations. VIC: Melbourne. JBCE.
McRae-McMahon, D. 1993. Echoes of Our Journey. Liturgies of the people. VIC: Melbourne. JBCE.
Macnab, F. 2006. A fine wind is blowing: Psalms of the bible in words that blow you away. VIC: Richmond. Spectrum Publications.
(TEL) Murray, S. E. 2008.
Touch the Earth Lightly. New hymns written between 2003 & 2008. IL: Carol Stream. Hope Publishing.
Roberts, E; E. Amidon. 1991. Earth Prayers From Around the World. 365 prayers, poems, and invocations for honoring the earth. NY: New York. HarperCollins.
Seaburg, C. (ed). 1993. The Communion Book. MA: Boston. UUMA.
(MT) Smith, D. E.; Hal E. Taussig. 1990. Many Tables. The eucharist in the New Testament and liturgy today. GtB: London. SCM Press.
Stinson, J. 2006. “The encounter of progressive christian theology with the language of prayer and ritual on Sunday morning”. Westar Institute/Liturgy & Literacy Seminar. March 2006.
(SNS2) Stuart, G.2009.
Singing a New Song. Traditional hymn tunes with new century lyrics. Volume 2. NSW: Toronto. George Stuart.
Vosper, G. 2008. With or Without God. Why the way we live is more important that what we believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins.
Winter, Miriam T. 1987. Women Prayer. Women Song. Resources for ritual. CT: Hartford. Meyer Stone Books.

Web sites:
Palmer. UUA Worship Web. MA: Boston. <>
Sherri Weinberg. 2007. St Paul's Presbyterian Church. NZ: Devonport.
Meg Lawton. "Into the Woods". Blog site, 2009.
Norman Habel Creation Liturgies.
Andrew Pratt ."The Sound of History Humming". Hymns and Books blog site. UK. <>