A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 29) 10:30 am
I took my horse, and rode five hundred miles, searching for a place where I could fulfill my mission. I did not know where I should go; but one thing was certain–I must preach the true Gospel, this Gospel of love.
~ Rev. John Gregg Fee
The First Path: Recognizing the Inherent Goodness of Creation
The first path invites us to celebrate! The pulse of creation is singing the goodness of God and God’s gift of goodness in all things. We become more aware of the beauty of all that is and tap into gratitude as our first task in creating more goodness in the world.
You are invited to join the drumming for the Prelude. Meet at the front left corner. Some drums provided.
Welcome and Invitation
Welcome and Introduction of Guests
Greetings from Berea College President Lyle Roelofs
¨ Sung Response Gathered Here In the Mystery of This Hour
¨ Prayer in 360°
Please stand and join as we look at the goodness of God all around us. As we turn and pray, you are invited to sing the last line of our song when indicated.
You are invited to sing our refrain as a round. You can follow the choir, Rev. Kent or other song leaders as we make a communion of harmony.
¨ Lighting the Christ Candle (unison)
Connecting God, You who has woven us together with all of creation, open our eyes to see that we cannot survive in isolation so that we might be motivated to turn toward the other, and work for the wholeness of all life. We praise you as the healer of all hurt, the repairer of all brokenness. And all God’s people say, Amen.
¨ Hymn #576 Black For the Healing of the Nations Westminster Abbey
1.For the healing of the nations,God, we pray with one accord; for a just and equal sharing of the things that earth affords; to a life of love in action help us rise and pledge our word.
2.Lead us forward into into freedom; from despair your world release, that, redeemed from war and hatred, all may come and go in peace. Show us how, through care and goodness, fear will die and hope increase.
3.All that kills abundant living, let it from the earth be banned: pride of status, race or schooling, dogmas that obscure your plan.In our common quest for justice may we hallow life’s brief span.
4.You, Creator-God, have written your great name on humankind; for our growing in your likeness, bring the life of Christ to mind; that by our response and service earth its destiny may find.
¨ Passing the Peace
The Second Path: Befriending the Dark Places
On this second path, we recognize with open hearts the pain that coexists with goodness and gratitude. We listen to the groans of the world and the Spirit helps us to grieve and to intercede on behalf of all those who suffer, letting go of fear and bearing light.
Silence and Sound mingle to bring us to mindfulness. We ring the Peace Bell to call us to holy work.
The Union Church Peace Bell was created by Jeff Enge in honor of Union Church member Carl Eschbach (1904-1998). A twin bell hangs in Berea’s sister province in Japan and is also rung in the hope of peace for all nations.
Letting Go and Holding on with Love
We hold communities in need and loved ones known and unknown in our hearts during our prayers. We bring the light of God’s to our own needs as well, as we pray. Please join in singing the refrain twice when indicated. You are invited to hum, add harmony or participate with movement as we unite through word and song.
Please join in singing “Breathe” Michael Stillwater
Each week we will explore a version of the prayer Jesus taught. This week we encounter the prayer as translated by Dominican nuns in Kansas. We will pray, alternating sides, beginning with those of you seated on the Peace Bell side of the sanctuary, and alternating with those of you seated on the Prayer Station side.
Peace Bell side: Our Father
Prayer Station side: Our Mother
Peace Bell: Who art in heaven
Prayer Station: Who are in all the earth
Peace Bell: Hallowed be thy name
Prayer Station: Holy is your truth
Peace Bell: Thy kingdom come
Prayer Station: May your wisdom come
Peace Bell: Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
Prayer Station: Your circle be one uniting heaven and earth
Peace Bell Give us this day our daily bread
Prayer Station: Give us today a nurturing spirit
Peace Bell: And forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us
Prayer Station: Heal through us as we ourselves are healed
Peace Bell: Lead us not into temptation
Prayer Station: Lead us into Fullness of life
Peace Bell : But deliver us from evil
Prayer Station: And liberate all that is good
Peace Bell: For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory
Prayer Station: For the Wisdom, Presence and the Goodness are Yours
All: Now and forever Amen.
Special Music What Love Demands Mark Hayes Berea College Alumni Choir & Union Church Choir
Dedicated to the public health workers, medical personnel, chaplains, and front-line essential workers who answered love’s demands in a time of national pandemic.
Dedicated to them by the people of Union Church, Berea, KY, in memory of Mr. Tom Warth, Dr. Richard and Ms. Judy Drake, and Ms. Mary Lou and Dr. Lester Pross.
Please join in singing!
2nd time through the Chorus—please sing “we” for “I,” and “our” for “my.”
1. What does it mean to love my neighbor? How can I live in harmony? Are you my brother or are you just another? When I look in your eyes, who do I see? I see you’re made in the image of God, uniquely gifted with the right to be loved. Neighbor or stranger, how may I serve you? What does love demand?
Chorus: Love is listening with heartfelt compassion, holding the lonely, wiping a tear. Love demands that I live in the moment to live in the question when the answer’s unclear. Love demands I seek what unites us releasing fear and whatever divides us. With God as my strength I will be the change I want to see. For that’s what love, that’s what love demands.
2. What can we do to stand for justice? What can we do so all are free? What can we do to end oppression, so all have the same opportunity? We will be God’s hands and welcoming arms. We’ll keep you safe from danger and harm. Homeless or helpless, how may we serve you? What does love demand? Love demands we do what we can. Take a stand. Lend a hand. Chorus
The Third Path: Exclaiming the Divine Creative
This third path creates space to explore how God is working in and through us and all of the universe to renew each day every direction. Each moment offers opportunity to express our God-gifted creativity. We hear messages–ancient and new–that express and affirm the Divine at work and encourage us in our creative collaboration with the Divine.
Reading 1 John 4: 7-21 Dr. Dwayne Compton, Reader
Please join Dr. Compton on the bolded words.
Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent God’s only Son into the world so that we can live through him…
Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and God’s love is made perfect in us. This is how we know we remain in God, and God remains in us, because God has given us a measure of the Spirit. We have seen and testify that God has sent the Son to be the savior of the world. If any of us confess that Jesus is God’s Son, God remains in us, and we remain in God. We have known and have believed the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God, and God remains in them. This is how love has been perfected in us, so that we can have confidence… because we are exactly the same as God is in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love. We love because God first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates a sibling, they are a liar, because the person who doesn’t love a sibling who can be seen can’t love God, who can’t be seen. This commandment we have from him: Those who claim to love God ought to love their siblings also.
This is a Word of God.
Thanks be to God.
All creation is a word of God.
All creation speaks volumes of God.
Children’s Moment Please join in singing as we bless children everywhere:
May God’s blessing guard, protect and guide you. God bless you, God bless you. Our savior’s loving arms be ever ’round you. God bless you, God bless you.
Scripture Reading Acts 15:36-41
After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Come, let us return and visit the brothers and sisters in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul decided not to take with them one who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not accompanied them in the work.The disagreement became so sharp that they parted company; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and set out, the brothers and sisters commending him to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
~ New Revised Standard Version Updated
Sermon Reunited Rev. LeSette Wright
The Berea College Alumni Council is pleased to induct the Rev. Kent H. Gilbert as Honorary Alumnus of Berea College, class of 2022, recognizing his 25 years of ministry and partnership with Berea students, faculty and staff. Rev. Gilbert was called as pastor March 1, 1997, at the time the youngest minister to serve Union Church (aged 32), and the length of his service is only exceeded by Berea College founder, John G. Fee (41 years). Kent enjoys a 40 year association with Berea College, beginning in 1982 when as a teenager he first attended “Christmas Country Dance School,” a program started by the college in 1938 to preserve music and dance traditions of the region. To learn more about Rev. Kent’s ministry in Berea his staff biography is available here: https://union-church.org/about/staff/#kentgilbert
Call to Prayer and Offering
Ringing of the Peace Bell
A Chance for Generosity: www.easytithe.com/union
Our gifts help sustain this particular community of caring by sustaining the building, pastor and staff, and all the materials that make our ministry of healing, justice, and teaching available to all in need. In addition, a portion of our contributions flows out to aid those in need via many external ministries.
Many friends give online, and you can use your smart phone or computer and go to www.easytithe.com/union. You don’t have to register to make a contribution, but if you do, it can make future generosity that much easier. Baskets are placed at the head and foot of each aisle for those who wish to make an in-person donation. Electronic donations can be made very simply and easily at: https//: www.easy tithe.com/union
You can even give by text! Text to 859-448-3403 (Example: Text “$50.00 Offering”)
You can also use US mail! Mail to: 200 Prospect St., Berea, KY 40403
Your contribution is love made visible. Thank you!
Offering Music Ngothando Mbuso Ndlovu
Berea College Homecoming Choir; Union Church Choir, Dr. Madeline Rogers, piano; Dr. XT Hong, conductor
Fourth Path: Embodying Compassion and Power
The fourth path will lead us out. We pray for movement within our own hearts to embody peace and passion–compassion and power–on behalf of spreading goodness throughout the week. We not at the mercy of “the way it is,” but can claim our agency to be fully present and fully active in the world into which we now go.
We are strengthened and renewed by so much of what we hear, see, experience. With that blessing we prepare for the service about to begin in our daily lives after worship. What will you take with you for your sacred work? Let us pray together to heal relationships with all creation as agents of God’s love, Christ’s teaching, and the Holy Spirit’s ever-flowing power.
Community Prayer Dr. Dwayne Compton, Reader
God of past glories and present grace, we praise you for your presence and your power in our lives. You live and move through your creation planting love like seeds, and rooting hope deep into all the earth. On the many paths that will take us from this place, go before us and prepare the road. In the many relationships we will engage this week, show us how we can be swift to show love, and hasten the mercy in our power to grant.
Heal our hearts of sorrow and our bodies of pain: not for our sake, but so we might become better healers in your service. By what you teach and what we have learned; by all that you have given, and helped us to create for the living of these days, may your holy vision and sacred work flow through us for the blessing of all creation.
Let us go forth rejoicing in all you are doing, and help us make you proud to call us your own. In the name of Christ, our brother and teacher, we pray: Amen.
We share opportunities for Beloved Community and ways to serve.
Lighting the Justice Candle to Lead us Forth
We light the Justice Candle today in honor of Joy Gritton and Berea Creates Together. In February 2021, Joy Gritton brought together a group to discuss a community project –a crocheted Christmas tree. Crazy as it sounds, sixty-five people from all walks of life worked together to crochet over 900 granny squares. These squares were joined and attached to a metal tree frame designed and created by Jess Estridge and others at Berea Makerspace. In December, the “tree lighting”, complete with hot chocolate and a bonfire, was attended by a huge group of happy people.
If you missed the tree in 2021 don’t despair! The tree was carefully dismantled for storage AND is being reassembled for a Crochetmas Tree Lighting ’22 Dec. 2.
The Crochetmas Tree project created community in a time it was hard to come by. With the leadership of Joy, the group, now called Berea Creates Together, continues to work to accomplish community projects. This year, Joy challenged Berea Creates Together to make smaller crochetmas trees to benefit Eastern Kentucky flood relief. Crochetmas for the Coalfields ’22 aims to raise $3600.00 by completing five trees for this holiday season and to add an additional seven trees by Christmas 2023. If you would like to help support the project go to Go Fund Me- HERE!
Hymn You Shall Go Out with Joy
Partnership and Purpose
Today presents an opportunity to covenant together! All who would like to are welcome to join the church family – you will be received in joy.
Questions of the Congregation and New Members
¨ Covenant of Welcome
And we, the members and faithful friends of this church, renewing our own covenant to God and to each other, do now heartily welcome you to our fellowship, promising to watch over you in love, and praying that you, and we, may be true witnesses for Christ, a light in the world, and continue to increase in usefulness and joy in his service.
Postlude Praise His Holy Name! Keith Hampton
Berea College Homecoming Choir; Union Church Choir,
Dr. Madeline Rogers, piano; Dr. XT Hong, conductor
Please come down to the Community Room after worship for Coffee Hour and conversation
Cover art and needlepoint altar decoration by Reda Hutton
The altar pumpkins are a gift from Margorie Baldwin of Baldwin Farms
Especially in Our Prayers
¨ Each week we join millions of Christians who pray for one another through the ecumenical prayer cycle and, locally, the Berea Ministerial Association’s prayer cycle (Link to World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer cycle. (union-church.org/ministries/prayer/). Let us hold the people of East Timor (Timor Leste), Indonesia and the Philippines and our brothers & sisters at Wayside Christian Church in our hearts, and pray for them. Please hold these concerns in your prayers, today and throughout the week.
¨ Those affected by the Covid-19 virus, their families and friends living with fear, anxiety, and feelings of isolation, may God bring peace to all who love them; and our wider community as we cope with the new realities of living, including the now over 17,400 Kentucky residents, and 303 Madison County residents, who have died to date from Covid-19.
¨ The families and friends and for all the emergency responders to the floods in our Eastern counties: that safety return, that homes be rebuilt, that all needed help will come.
¨ Prayers for all the people of Ukraine for their safety and sovereignty. Prayers also that the government of Russia will turn to reason & respect for their own peoples’ lives as well as for Ukrainian families.
¨ All those seeking a new and just society and those fearful that they will be supplanted, may God open their hearts and include them in grace.
¨ Our church family members in nursing homes or who are homebound: Jan Hamilton, Betsy Hoefer, Dorie Hubbard, Loyal Jones, Lois Morgan, Cheryl Payne, Alva Peloquin, Laura Robie, Betty Wray, Sally Zimmerman
¨ Families and Friends in Crises…may God be present to every need and heal every rift and wound and those who care for them.
¨ Doug Hindman now at The Terrace in Berea.
¨ Patsy Boyce, sister-in-law of Bob and Jean Boyce, undergoing chemotherapy.
¨ JoAnn Russell, Reda Hutton’s aunt, facing several medical challenges.
¨ Michelle, beloved nurse at Morning Pointe, undergoing treatment for cancer.
¨ Matt Saderholm, who just had an extensive surgery to remove a pituitary tumor.
¨ Judith Singleton’s daughter, Stephanie, at the death of her partner, Barb.
¨ Maurice Hibbard, in the VA hospital for heart issues.
¨ Jess Burton, her partner, Jake, and their little girl, Lila, who has serious gastric issues; and Jake, recovering from respiratory and other health issues.
¨ Welcome to Berea College Alumni, Families and Friends! It is a joy to be in worship together! We are especially grateful for those participating in leading the service and for the voices making up the homecoming choir!
¨ Important dates—if we haven’t got yours, let us know. We’ll help you get connected in FellowshipOne Go!
Birthdays: Nov. 21 – George Mountjoy, Tina Hemphill; 22 – Chip Bailey, Ben Groth; 25 – Ally Nurre, Rina Tanaka, Cadence Perman; 26 – Diana Hultgren, Amy Schill
Anniversaries: Nov. 25 – Chip & Diane Bailey