A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
10:30 am The Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost All Saints Sunday
“Can’t you feel it ever closer
We breathe it in and then we exhale
We touch both sides and now eternal
Standing closer to the veil”
From There to Here: We Gather
¨ The Call Sue Peterson Blyth, Reader
One: We gather by the sustaining hand of God, our maker. We gather in the presence of those who have gone before us, who have labored in God’s holy work for their lives, and who opened paths to peace and strength for each of us.
Mothers and fathers of our faith, Abraham, Sara, Israel, Leah and Rachel and those you guided by your lives; Prophets of challenge and hope, Miriam and Moses, Deborah, Samuel, Amos and Isaiah;
Proclaimers of God’s Good News, Mary and Joseph, Saul and Peter and Dorcas and Lydia and all who told the story so we might know:
All: You are present among us!
One: Confessors of Africa, Augustine of Hippo, city-planner for God’s people, Perpetua, mother; Felicity, slave; and all your companions;
Bridegrooms of poverty, Francis and Clare, followers of Jesus and friends of creation;
Students of the earth and heavens, Galileo, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, George Washington Carver, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Margaret Mead, voyagers in the past and in the future:
All: Your lives are a-light in us now.
One: Liberators of humanity, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, and all fighters for freedom
Apostles of nonviolence, Gandhi the Mahatma, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Oscar Romero, and all who called churches to account the cost of love,
Peacemakers in the world, Dag Hammarskjold and Desmond Tutu, Mary Lou Hamer, and John Lewis and all who caused “good trouble” in their lives of power;
Friends of the poorest, Mother Teresa, John XXIII, Dorothy Day, and all who longed for the well-being of all people and flowed with compassion,
All: God is still speaking of your hopes. You are present with us now.
One: Students of the earth, Charles Darwin, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Margaret Mead, voyagers in the past and in the future:
Explorers of beauty and meaning, Johann Bach, Sadao Watanabe, Georgia O’Keefe, Hilma af Klint, and all who gave vision and voice to the Glory of God.
Sinead O’Connor and John Prine and all the musicians who said with music what words alone could never express;
All: Your work shows your life. You are present with us now.
One: Children of the Synagogue, and Children of Mosques; Children of temples, and Children of Shrines, and of the great wide sky: all divers in the sea of God’s divinity; All made, known, and beloved by God:
All: You are siblings and strength. You are present with us now.
One: Innocents of Wounded Knee and My Lai, Nuns and priests of Guatemala and El Salvador, God’s wheat ground in the mill of war;
Confessors in chains, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the Berrigans, Camilo Torres, and all resisting the dealing of death;
Victims of violence, Mahsa Amini and Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and all those lost to our indifference and inaction in home, schools, and neighborhoods of the world:
All: We say your names and you are present with us now.
One: Leader and Lord, Jesus the Son of God, bright cornerstone of our unity in a new Spirit: Stand here beside us with all the saints whom you shepherd and shield. Hear us as we abide with you in this hour:
All: Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses: Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of these your servants, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at last, with all your saints attain to your eternal joy: Through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
~ Adapted by Rev. Kent from The Covenant of Peace – A Liberation Prayer Book
¨ Hymn How Lovely, Lord, How Lovely Hal Hopson
Reprinted with permission using OneLicense #A-723786
¨ Passing the Peace of Christ
All who come to this sanctuary are welcome companions on the journey of faith. Please turn to those nearest you and greet them with words of peace.
Word and Worship
Special Music Let Us Break Bread Together Thomas Chesterton Union Church Choir
Let us break bread together on our knees. When I fall on my knees, with my face to the rising sun, O Lord, have mercy on me. Let us drink wine together on our knees. Let us praise God together on our knees.
~ Union Church pays royalties to benefit the Berea College Black Music Ensemble when the congregation uses African-American spirituals and other traditional uncredited music.
Scripture Lesson Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, those he redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to an inhabited town; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress; he led them by a straight way, until they reached an inhabited town. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.
For he satisfies the thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things. He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground, a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the wickedness of its inhabitants. He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry live, and they establish a town to live in; they sow fields, and plant vineyards, and get a fruitful yield.
~ New Revised Standard Version: Updated Edition (Friendship Press, 2021)
Children’s Moment as the children return to their seats we sing:
May God’s blessings 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 Lesson Matthew 5:1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. “
~ New Revised Standard Version: Updated Edition (Friendship Press, 2021)
Sermon Grace In Place: Blessings for the Kingdom Come Rev. Kent Gilbert
Responding to God’s Love in Communion
¨ Invitation to Communion
One: God be with you.
All: And also with you.
One: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift our hearts in prayer.
One: Let us give thanks to God.
All: It is good to give God thanks and praise.
Ringing of the Peace Bell
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.
Silent Prayers and Prayers of the Community
One: Remembering All Saints Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate and remember those in our lives who have gone before us. Their presence in our community has contributed to and shaped our work, our life, character and story.
One: We remember those whose faithful witness proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ in words loud and soft, in actions great and small.
All: We gather before God, and remember the saints who have told the stories of God’s people, and witnessed to their faith in times gone by.
[The Peace Bell will be rung as the names of members of the church who have died in the past year are read. In addition, we hold in our prayers the memory of each and every loss suffered by members as we commend them to God.]
Maurice Hibbard Doug Hindman Loyal Jones
Joyce Mosher Tom Parker Polly Embree
One: We remember those known in our lives who have died in this last year. Please stand and remain standing if you have lost a grandmother or grandfather in this last year. Your mother or father. A spouse or partner. A child. A treasured sibling. An aunt or uncle. A close relative. A classmate, teacher or mentor. A dear friend. A member of your work or school community.
One: We hold space for our sorrow, but let us not grieve as those without hope. The Spirit intercedes for us, and Christ is Lord of the Living and of the dead. For all the saints who went before us, who have spoken to our hearts and touched us with your fire, we praise you, O Lord.
All: They will hunger no more and thirst no more, and every tear shall be wiped from their eye.
[All may be seated.]
One: Like others who have gone before us, we hear Jesus calling us to change and be changed, to reform and be reformed, to challenge the church, and to allow ourselves to be challenged, that we might better serve you as the Body of Christ. For all the saints who live beside us, whose weaknesses and strengths are woven with our own, we praise you, O Lord.
One: You sent Jesus to share our life and journey with us, to show us how to live as you want. With his words and actions, Jesus taught us that the ways of God are different from the ways of the world. We are called to be your peacemakers, to hunger and thirst for what is right, and to show mercy to others. For all the saints who live beyond us who challenge us to change the world with them, we give you thanks, O Lord, and acknowledge your call:
All: Here we are; send us.
One: Jesus invited saints and sinners to dine with him and be his friends. And Jesus invites us – saints and sinners – to this meal, in which we can taste and see, experience and remember the goodness of our God. We give you thanks and praise as we sing:
Communion Sanctus please join in singing:
Words of Institution
One: We remember that on the night in which he died, Jesus sat at table with his friends, took bread, blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying:
All: “Take and eat,
One: this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”
One: After supper he took the cup of wine and, after giving thanks, gave it to them and said,
All: “Drink this, all of you:
One: this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for you and many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
One: God of heaven and earth, bless what we do here. Send your Holy Spirit upon us and our world that we may live to see your law and your way become our reality.
Serving One Another
All who seek the love of God are welcome at this table and are invited to freely receive from it. By tradition, unfermented grape juice is used in the cup on Sunday mornings. If it is not convenient to come forward, the elements can be brought to your seat by signaling to the usher.
If it is not your tradition to receive, you are invited to join in prayers for the unity of the Spirit within your tradition. You may remain in your seat, or you may come forward for a blessing, as you wish.
You are invited to join this living prayer of connection in many ways: first by sharing this meal. Also, you are invited to write the names of those you are connected to and remembering on the pieces of red tissue you’ve been given. During communion, you may tie these to any of the twine strands. You are also invited to place photos or mementos of loved ones on the ofrenda.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
One: For these gifts, for these blessings, for these people, for all the saints, we are so very grateful. By our communion with you and our memories of them may we ever and always give witness to the wider life and the deeper love to which you call us. May we rise from this table to sit with others in need. When we turn from this place, may we turn toward your world of blessing, carrying in us the blessing of Christ’s love and sacrifice that there may always be a place of grace wherever your people are found. By your word and power, heal and hold us all that we may ever hunger and thirst for the joy of your company. This we pray in the name of your Christ, our brother Jesus, who taught us …
Our Lord’s Prayer
All: Our Maker, Our Mother, and Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
Offertory Let Us Break Bread Together Union Church Orchestra
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From Here to There: We Depart
¨ Hymn #299 Black For All the Saints Sine Nomine
1 For all the saints who from their labors rest; Who to the world their steadfast love confessed, Your name, O Jesus, be forever blessed. Alleluia! Alleluia!
2 You were their Rock, their refuge and their might: you, Christ, the hope that put their fears to flight; ‘mid gloom and doubt you were their one true Light. Alleluia! Alleluia!
3 Still may your people, faithful, true, and bold, Live as the saints who nobly fought of old, And share with them a glorious crown of gold. Alleluia! Alleluia!
4 Ringed by this cloud of witnesses divine, We feebly struggle; they in glory shine; Yet in your love our faithful lives entwine. Alleluia! Alleluia!
5 And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long, Steals on the ear the distant triumph song, And hearts are brave again, and faith grows strong. Alleluia! Alleluia!
We share opportunities for Beloved Community and ways to serve. Please see the listing of church & community evens, prayers, and notices in the pages following the service
Lighting the Justice Candle to Lead us Forth
November is Native American Heritage Month, during which we celebrate the multifaceted history and cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, a celebration long overdue. From first contact in 1492, the population of millions of indigenous peoples was decimated by European diseases, settler conflicts and government-forced migrations. The late 1800s Indian Wars saw the extermination of the Plains Indians’ buffalo herds from tens of millions to fewer than 500 in the span of a few decades. Forced assimilation through the century-long boarding school system threatened to exterminate almost all Native language and culture.
Fortunately, recent decades have seen a reawakening of Native culture and customs, a reckoning with and reassessment of misguided US policy, and at least a partial restoration of indigenous lands and land-use rights. Native-managed natural areas are at least as biodiverse as nearby areas managed by more “modern” methods. Traditional Native fire management practices promise to lessen our self-created wildfire epidemic. Embracing our diversity, which is our real strength, may bring us closer to finally realizing our American ideals.
¨ Procession to the Memorial Garden
The conclusion of our service will be held in the Memorial Garden (weather permitting). When invited, please proceed directly to the garden through the door near the Peace Bell and gently tie your names as directed. Please bring your bulletin with you. For those who wish to remain in the sanctuary, the sound system will remain on so you can hear and participate. Please assist any in need in your row as we minister to each other.
¨ Commending Our Love to Creation
One: For those who walked with us,
All: this is a prayer.
One: For those who have gone ahead,
All: this is our love.
One: For those who touched and tendered us, who lingered with us while they lived,
All: this is a thanksgiving.
One: For those who journey with us still, for those we’ll never know, for those who gather here today, for those saints yet to come,
All: this is a blessing.
One: Go in peace, all you saints.
~adapted by Rev. Ben Groth from an anonymous source
Special Music A Gathering of Spirits Carrie Newcomer Deborah Thompson, vocalist
~used with permission
Our Prayers for Others
¨ 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 (World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer cycle: union-church.org/ministries/prayer) Let us hold the people of Oceania: American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia (Maohi Nui), Kanaky, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu & Vanuatu; and our brothers & sisters at St. Clare Catholic Church in our hearts, and pray for them today and throughout the week.
¨ 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 affected by the devastating losses in the current conflict in the Middle East.
¨ Those suffering due to recent earthquakes in Afghanistan; and in natural disasters everywhere.
¨ Our church family members in nursing homes or who are homebound: Jan Hamilton, Betsy Hoefer, Dorie Hubbard, Lois Morgan, Sara Parker, Cheryl Payne, Alva Peloquin, Laura Robie, Betty Wray, Sally Zimmerman
¨ Loyal Jones’ family and many friends, at his passing. A memorial service will be held Dec. 9, 2:00 pm.
¨ Rita Barlow, receiving care at home.
¨ All those suffering from mental strain, trauma, and disease: may God soothe and heal all who are troubled.
¨ James Stephens, Charlie Hoffman’s brother-in-law, responding well to cancer treatment.
¨ Members and Friends who need safer housing and income security.
¨ JoAnn Russell, Reda Hutton’s aunt, facing several medical challenges.
¨ Russ Neil, family of Peggy Patrick, critically ill and soon moving to hospice
¨ Teresa Dickson, recovering from surgery on her jaw.
¨ Laura Robie, having surgery on Nov. 7
¨ Those affected by recent Covid infections: John and Ramona Culp, Meg Suters, and several members of the bridge club.