New Worship Connection: May 21, 2017

April 30th, 2017

Sixth Sunday of Easter

COLOR: White
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Acts 17:22-31; Psalm 66:8-20; 1 Peter 3:13-22; John 14:15-21

Call to Worship #1

L: Gather us in, O Lord, and purify our hearts.
P: For we have come through many times of testing and trouble.
L: Gather us in, O Lord, and make us one people;
P: For we have strayed and been estranged from ones we love.
L: Gather us in, O Lord, and make us your disciples;
P: Teach us your will and your ways that we may be a living example of your love. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: Welcome! It’s good to see you today.
P: Thanks. We are glad to be here.
L: I’ve got some good news for you all!
P: We surely could use some good news! What is it?
L: Christ, our hope and salvation, is sending us a Companion, the Spirit of Truth.
P: Lord, help us receive this spirit and live in this spirit. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2031, Have the congregation sing this song, repeating it until the worship center/altar is decorated. Items may be brought forward by a troupe of youth, dressed in dark colors, who will “dance” down the aisle holding the altar cloth/candlesticks with candles, floral arrangements, altar Bible and the cross]

L: Let us rejoice, for God has called us here!
P: singing the song, recommended above, until the worship center/altar is decorated
L: We offer ourselves, tried and tested, as a living witness to God’s love.
P: We present ourselves as those who have been through the refiner’s fire.
L: Welcome this day to the house of the Lord. AMEN.

Gathering Prayer

What a joy it is to be here together, to feel the strength and love of friends. This house of God bears witness to the many years of faithful worship and service by those who have gone before. Now we are call to stand in that long line of those who proclaim God’s healing love with their own lives. Rejoice! AMEN.

Opening Prayer

Eternal God, we have come here today to learn of your forgiving and healing love. We come as a people tested by the various trials in life. We come as a people who are flawed, and yet you receive us and call us your own. Be with us today. Keep our hearts and minds open to your redeeming mercy and abiding love, for we ask this in Christ’s Name. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Merciful and loving God, our hearts are filled today with all the trials and tribulations of life. It hasn’t been an easy road and sometimes we have felt so alone, without companions, without support, without hope. Bring us closer to you this day. Forgive the times when we have turned away from you, choosing not to believe because we can’t see you with our own eyes. Forgive us when we have mocked the faith of others, and yet h oped to have that same strong fiaht in our lives. Break through the tarnish that has covered our souls. Help us to shine with your love; help us to feel your nercy, for it is in Christ’s Name gthat we offer this prayer. AMEN

Words of Assurance

Companions on the journey, those who ache, who are lonely, who feel as though no one cares. This is the good news! Jesus Christ loves you completely. His love and support are never ending. Rejoice! You are healed and forgiven! AMEN.

Morning Prayer

Lord of us all, we come to you today, just as we are. Some here are feeling fine. Things are going well in their lives and they are happy and content. We thank you for all those who are experiencing those feelings and circumstances. Others come to you with heads bowed in sorrow or despair. Life has gotten very difficult and they feel that they have no one who understands. They hurt, are sad, doubt, feel great loss, seethe with anger at a host of situations. To all of us, we implore you to come. Enter our lives. Dance with those who are healed and heal those who are afflicted. Remind us that for many years the people in this house of God have also experienced such roads in their lives. They have tried to be a faithful witness to you. Open our hearts and minds to receive your healing love and strength, for we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.


Prayer of Dedication

Lord, receive these gifts and the lives of all those gathered here today. Bless each one, that we may faithfully serve you. AMEN.

Benediction/Sending Forth

Go in peace, beloved friends. Remember that you are healed and loved. Bring that compassion to this broken world. AMEN.

Children’s Time

Worship Leader: Good morning! Today is a special Sunday. We call it “Heritage Sunday” because we celebrate all those people who have worshipped and been part of this congregation. That means we think back as far as we can, and we even look in our church books, to find the names of those who have gone before. Our church has been here in this community for ______(years). That’s a pretty long time. During that time we have had _____(ministers). And that’s a lot of ministers. Hundreds of men, women, boys and girls have come through these doors. They have learned about Jesus and about our faith; they have been part of mission projects which help others, they have sung in choirs or as soloists, they have offered their talents to the church to serve God. It hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes this church faced difficult times and the people struggled just to keep going. Other times there were arguments and differences of opinions about various things. But through it all, they all have loved God and been loved by God. This is important information because we don’t always feel that God cares. I can tell you that God does care and walks and works with us. We aren’t alone; we don’t have to fear. You are part of this large group of people from this church. Later, in history, your witness will be remembered. I am so glad that you are here.

Altar Art for this Sunday

[If you are celebrating Heritage Sunday, this is one way to create a special altar/worship table display.]

Equipment and supplies: Cream colored altar cover; medium green fabric (45-54: wide, 8 yards in length); Photographs of previous and present pastors; some pictures of church in action including current pictures of youth and Sunday school and various other groups, 12 hymnals,, a bible, brass cross, pillar candles, large Boston fern plants [this can often be borrowed from a florist] or other green vine/leafy plants, some medium sized rocks

Place cream colored cloth on the altar making sure that the fabric is “puddling” on the floor.

Place five stacks of hymnals, one containing 4 hymnals, 2 containing three hymnals; 2 containing two hymnals, 3 single hymnals. The tallest stack should be placed in the center back of the worship table (this one will be the base for the cross); the others may be placed on the table in somewhat staggered positioning. Coverf all the hymnal stacks with the medium green cloth. Make sure to leave some room for the ferns/plants. Photographs of previous pastors and the current pastor will go on two of the stacks; photos of the church in action, both past and present on the remaining hymnals. In various spaces between the pictures place the bible and remaining hymnals. Rocks may be placed on the table and on the fabric at the base of the altar. Note: if you borrow plants from the florist or various church members, be sure to include an acknowledgment of these loans.

Scripture as Script

Reader 1: Come all of you, come close and listen, all of you who honor God. I will tell you what God has done for me.
Reader 2: My mouth cried out to God with praise on my tongue. If I had cherished evil, my God would not have listened to me.
Reader 1: But God definitely listened. God heard the sound of my prayers.
Reader 2: Bless God! God did not reject my prayers or withhold God’s love from me.
Both: Thanks be to God. AMEN.

Message Movers


Gather round, all you folks. I have come to you as one who has experienced troubles. Oh, yes. I sure have. Life has not been a piece of cake for me. There were times when I didn’t believe in God. I thought, if there is a God then where is God? Not here with me, that’s for sure. And I believed that and it was not a happy place to be.

Then I came to this place, this church. I was invited by someone and to be polite I thought I should come at least that one time. On that Sunday the minister stood up and talked about the love of God, that is was there for us all. He said that we don’t always feel that love because we let doubts and anger flow in. But the love of God cannot be pushed out! He said that it was for me — especially me — (even though he didn’t use my name), that God sent God’s own Son, Jesus. Jesus had a lot to teach me about living, forgiving and learning to love others and to love myself.

Now I don’t mean to think that I was better than anyone else, just to remember that this love is given to all without hesitation by God through Jesus. Wow! Really? I wondered about this. I felt something stirring in me. I wasn’t comfortable because I didn’t feel worthy of that love, but, let me tell you, all week that message ate at me. Somehow, someway God loves me, even me, just as I am. Have you any idea how powerful that is? There was a place for me, here in this little church where I would learn and grow (even though I was grown up at the time). The people invited me, encouraged me, helped me to celebrate the wondrous gifts God has given to each one of us, and I finally committed my life to God. Now I know that some say, it’s hard to believe in something you can’t see … but you can see it, it’s right here in the smiles, welcome, teaching, preaching, singing, sharing love that abounds. So I invite you, this day, to give your lives to God, to be willing to take the risk, to step out of the fire of doubt and into the light of God’s love. Are you ready? Good! AMEN.

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