A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 26) 10:30 am
We will never be able to build what we have not first cherished in our hearts.
~Joanna Macy and Sam Mowe, “The Work That Reconnects”
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.
Prelude Andante Maurice Greene Union Church Orchestra & Drums
Welcome and Invitation Welcome to this service of worship!
¨ Sung Response Gathered Here In the Mystery of This Hour
¨ Prayer in 360° and Lighting the Christ Candle
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.
¨ Sung Response “Spirit, Draw Near”
¨ Prayer from the Center
Compassionate God: You who know our hearts and love us without condition, create in us desire to see your essence within us so that we might see that in others, and honor your holy presence in all things. We praise you for this place, this day, this people, this planet. And all God’s people say, Amen.
¨ Hymn #55 Black Rejoice, You Pure in Heart Marion
1 Rejoice, you pure in heart; Lift Praises to the sky; Your festal banner wave with joy, The cross of Christ raise high!. Chorus: Rejoice, (Rejoice, ) rejoice, (rejoice) Rejoice, give thanks and sing!
2 Bright youth and seasoned age, Strong souls and spirits meek, Raise high your free, exulting song, God’s wondrous praises speak. Chorus
3 With voice as full and strong As ocean’s surging praise, Send forth the hymns the saints have loved, The psalms of ancient days. Chorus
4 Yes, on through life’s long path, Still chanting as you go; From youth to age, by night and day, In gladness and in woe: Chorus Verse 5 Praise God who rules all worlds, The risen Christ adore, Praise God the Spirit, Holy Fire, One God forevermore! Chorus
¨ Passing the Peace
The Second Path: Befriending the Dark Places
This second path invites us to acknowledge 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 our fear that can make things worse at times.
Silence and sound mingle to bring us to mindfulness. We ring the Peace Bell to call us to holy work.
“The opposite of poverty isn’t property. The opposite of both poverty and property is community. For in community we become rich: rich in friends, in neighbors, in colleagues, in comrades, in siblings. Together, as a community, we can help ourselves in most of our difficulties. For after all, there are enough people and enough ideas, capabilities and energies to be had. They are only lying fallow, or are stunted and suppressed. So let us discover our wealth; let us discover our solidarity; let us build up communities; let us take our lives into our own hands, and at long last out of the hands of the people who want to dominate and exploit us.” ~ Jurgen Moltmann, The Source of Life: The Holy Spirit and the Theology of Life
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 one’s 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 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 a version from writer Parker Palmer.
Heavenly Father, heavenly Mother,
Holy and blessed is your true name.
We pray for your reign of peace to come,
We pray that your good will be done,
Let heaven and earth become one.
Give us this day the bread we need,
Give it to those who have none.
Let forgiveness flow like a river between us,
From each one to each one.
Lead us to holy innocence
Beyond the evil of our days —
Come swiftly Mother, Father, come.
For yours is the power and the glory
and the mercy:
Forever your name is All in One. Amen.
Special Music I Believe Mark Miller Union Church Choir
I believe in the sun, I believe in the sun even when it is not shining
I believe in love, I believe in love even when I don’t feel it
I believe i God, I believe in God even when God is silent.
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 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12
To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring.
To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfill by his power every good resolve and work of faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
~ NRSV updated
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.
Please note that Union Church services are livestreamed, including the Children’s Moment. A “no camera zone” is at the back of the balcony, behind the AV booth.
Reading Mark 12:28-34
One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself’—this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
~ NRSV updated
Sermon Compassion Confirmed Rev. Kent Gilbert
Reflecting Together Hearts: Making Something New
On one side of your paper heart, write what you do to fill your heart.
On the other side of the heart, write what you do to give your love away.
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.easytithe.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 Communion Meditation Christopher Teichler
Union Church Orchestra
Celebration and Confirmation
Today we celebrate the confirmation journey of these young community members.
Youth: We honor our community, you who have gone before us and travel with us now, for all you have done and left undone to make the world a place of justice, freedom, peace and love.
People: We thank you. Our hearts know all we have failed to do, and we confess to your generation all that we have left undone to care for creation. It is with joy that we welcome you to take a new place in our community and to work with us in the continuing service to God and our neighbors.
May you come to know the joys of full and abundant life in Christ.
May you be known and honored for the truth of who you are;
May our blessings carry you on your continuing journey;
May your every step be surrounded by the guidance and grace of God;
And may you know that we are your loving community, now and always, wherever you may go.
Moderator: I now ask the parents, mentors, and congregation: Do you commit yourself to let these young adults grow with greater freedom and to pray for the perfect attitudes and strengths by which to parent and mentor them now and in the future?
People: We do!
Moderator: I now ask the youth: Do you embrace your growing freedom responsibly with a renewed commitment to your own exploration of sacred work. Will you, whether members of this church or no church, love demands?
Youth: We do and we will!
Presentation of Gifts
Hymn #351 Black I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry Borning Cry
I was there to hear your borning cry,
I’ll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold.
I was there when you were but a child,
with a faith to suit you well;
In a blaze of light you wandered off
to find where demons dwell.
When you found the wonder of the Word
I was there to cheer you on;
You were raised to praise the living God,
to whom you now belong.
Should you find someone to share your time
and you join your hearts as one,
I’ll be there to make your verses rhyme
from dusk ’till rising sun.
In the middle ages of your life,
not too old, no longer young,
I’ll be there to guide you through the night,
complete what I’ve begun.
When the evening gently closes in,
and you shut your weary eyes,
I’ll be there as I have always been
with just one more surprise.
I was there to hear your borning cry,
I’ll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold.
The 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?
One: Starting and stopping and starting again, we are always in your hand great God of all that is. Thank you for this gift of life for the living of it.
Two: Ever different, changing each day, growing and deepening, you reveal yourself in every act of compassion, in every dance of joy. Thank you for the gift of others and for the loving of them.
Three: In the Spirit of Compassion, we hope your mercy will find us when we need it. We hope our mercy will rise to meet the needs of those around us who are suffering. Heal swiftly those who are broken in body or spirit, and make whole everything in your creation.
Four: Being and Becoming, we come before you reformed and ever reforming. Help us see and seek you in ever new ways. Help us never be stuck on anything but what Love Demands, and may light of your love dance in our eyes and guide our steps.
All: This we pray in the name of our brother, Jesus, healer of the world. 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 for Union Church member Harriet “Jenny” Bromley. Jenny has been active in the struggle for peace and justice in El Salvador for decades, long before most of us were even aware of the civil war and its aftermath.
In the fall of 1990, Jenny met Tim Crouse, co-founder of Building With the Voiceless of El Salvador (BVES) and a woman who was the leader of a Salvadoran war refugee group, and Jenny provided a video camera so that they could document their project. Later Tim Crouse invited Jenny to participate in a delegation to El Salvador in December 1990. They delivered building materials and met with numerous citizen groups, all of whom related the reality of their struggles for a dignified life in El Salvador. As Jenny relates: “They made a point of asking us to return and tell the American people the truth about what was going on as compared to what we learned from the media and our government in the USA”.
The highlight of that first visit was a meeting with the Counsel at the US Embassy, where two local women told about a five-hundred pound bomb that had been dropped close to their house, contrary to Salvadoran government promises. This meeting was the first real contact of Embassy staff with the affected Salvadoran people and their experiences, and resulted in further Embassy meetings with guerilla leaders, eventually culminating in a change in the U.S. position in the peace negotiations.
In a second trip in early 1992, they celebrated the just-signed Peace Accords, and at the end of the more than twelve-year civil war, BVES’ mission changed and it evolved into Companion Communities Development Alternatives (CoCoDA). CoCoDA began focusing on rebuilding schools, communities, water systems and facilitating establishing health facilities in the areas of our partners there. Working mostly behind the scenes, Jenny has been for many years an active CoCoDA Board member, and has been instrumental in much of the work that organization has accomplished.
From the 1990s and ever since, when most of us were preoccupied with our own affairs, Jenny Bromley has been working tirelessly for peace and justice in El Salvador and the world. As she says: “My love for my own country has driven my involvement with El Salvador and Central America. A democracy depends on citizens knowing the truth of how our policies and actions affect lives in other countries. We need to listen, to be a witness. Awareness requires action. Inaction results in complicity with the problem.”
Hymn You Shall Go Out with Joy
You are welcome to be seated to appreciate the music following service, and to show appreciation at the end with applause.
Please come down to the Community Room after worship for a Confirmation Reception Potluck and Halloween fun!
Cover art and needlepoint altar decoration by Reda Hutton
Flowers today are a gift of the Berea Urban Farm
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 Canada and the US; and our brothers & sisters at Berea Friends Meeting 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 17,200 Kentucky residents, and 300 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.
¨ Prayers for all our amazing young members and friends, and especially those completing their confirmation studies this morning!
¨ Doris Mosely, sister of Deb Beishline, with Covid and heart issues.
¨ Cecelia McKinney, whose Florida home was flooded in the Hurricane.
¨ Doug Hindman in St. Joseph hospital in Lexington.
¨ Maurice Hibbard, recovering at home from a heart attack.
¨ Lois Morgan, at the death of her sister.
¨ 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.
¨ Jess Burton & Jake Graber and their little girl, Lila, who has serious gastric issues.
¨ Important dates—if we haven’t got yours, let us know. We’ll help you get connected in FellowshipOne Go!
Birthdays: Oct. 31 – Noah Cain; Nov. 1 – Diane Bailey; Nov. 2 – Cheyenne Olson