worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021
Please note: Bulletins for all three Synod Worship Services are available to everyone registered for General Synod 33. Content below was inspired by General Synod events held Sunday July 11 through July 13, 2021. See Resources below for details and links.
Our weekly format shifts to meet the changing needs of our congregation. Currently, we are alternating between in-person and online worship. We freely share our materials during the pandemic. If you’re sharing this content with a group, please see “Permission” and “Donation for Use of Content” comments at the end. Thank you and God Bless!
For the BCCC Community
This Sunday’s worship service will be live in-person at BCCC beginning at 11am. You may wish to bring a copy of this handout to the worship service. We’ll be back in person on 7/25, too!
“Build Beloved Community right where you are.” –Valarie Kaur, Synod Keynoter
Prelude (live music)
Call to Worship (inspired by Valarie Kaur’s actual words and larger message)
We, the people, are called into peaceful coalitions rejecting polarizing “us” against “them” war cries.
We, the people, are called to build a world rooted in love; a revolutionary love that leaves no one behind. No one.
We, the people, lift up our gaze envisioning a society where every child is as safe as the safest child.
We, the people, give our bodies over to labors of rebirth, a sweet labor – emotional, fierce, bold, and imperfect.
We, the people, choose – again, and again, and again – to honor the original, ancient call to love deeply.
We, the people, claim our cosmic birthright to love without limit. Amen. (kms/vk)
Lighting the Christ Candle
Opening Music (live)
We Rest in God’s Grace
Let us shift into silence in God’s presence. This simple prayer, based on Psalm 46:10, has been slightly adapted by Harriet Ward of the Scared Ally Quilt Ministry.
Please repeat after me:
Breathe, be still and know that I am God. (pause)
Breathe, be still and know that I am. (pause)
Breathe, be still and know. (pause)
Breathe, be still. (pause)
Breathe, be. (pause)
(breathe in silence)
Words of Assurance
After the tragic death of George Floyd members of UCC churches in New Hampshire were filled with the Holy Spirit – inspired to make quilts based on his last words. The quilts became a testament to their rage, pain, grief, and desire to form deeper solidarity. Ten quilts were made and blessed. These words come from those blessings:
Each stitch carries the intentions of our hearts.
Breathe life into their purpose, O Lord.
Fill each quilt with life,
for if it breathes, it will speak,
that we all might be rescued by love,
and, together, heal. Amen. (saqm)
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3: 16-17 (NRSV, adapted)
Please note: As Rev Traci Blackmon noted, the word “you” in this passage is plural. For this reading we have substituted words to more accurately capture St Paul’s original message to the Living Church of Jesus Christ.
“Do we not know that we are God’s temple
and that God’s spirit dwells in us?
If anyone destroys God’s temple,
God will destroy them.
For God’s temple is holy,
and we are that temple.”
May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.
“Synod Stories: We”
Pastor Kathryn will share stories, live, at Sunday morning worship service from uplifting moments during General Synod 33. Sermon video will post on our Facebook page.
Special Music: “Let’s Do the Work” Written by Kevon Carter, arr. By Bryan Johnson, sung by members of Trinity UCC, Chicago, for the Opening Worship Special Edition General Synod. https://youtu.be/JNFEt6kKq3A (cue up: 1:18:06 to 1:22:23)
Pastoral Prayer (inspired by Youth Reflection on July 11, 2021)
O Holy God, through our trials and challenges, through our doubts and fears, You guide us. You speak through prophets and saints. You speak through the Holy Spirit. May we be open.
St Paul, inspired by the prophet Joel, was able to proclaim, “I am resilient.” Joshua, was uplifted and empowered others, saying “Be strong, be strong and courageous, because God is with you.”
Bless us this day, O God, may we hear You saying to us: “You are resilient. You are strong. You are courageous because I am with you. I am on your side.” Amen. (yr)
Prayers of the People, The Lord’s Prayer
Please consider a special gift to the national United Church of Christ. Online, please visit https://www.ucc.org/ and click on the “Donate Now” button. You are most welcome to support your local UCC church, too! Thank you!
We Continue in Hope
Affirmation of Faith: All about the “We”
(edited quotes from the Re-nomination Speech of AGM Candidate: Rev. Traci Blackmon)
Anything the United Church of Christ has ever been able to accomplish is because of the “We.” Anything we accomplish in the future can only be possible because of the “We.” And yet, the most challenging part of church work, the most challenging part of the Gospel, and the most challenging part of following Jesus, is the “We.”
What a difference it makes in our understanding of the ministry of Jesus and the mission of the church when we discover our sacred text is not all about me, not all about you, but rather it’s all about “We.”
“Do you all know that you all are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in all of us? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy them. For God’s temple is holy, and y’all — all of you — are that temple.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
Do we not understand when we crush the spirit, the creativity, the heart of any of God’s people, we damage ourselves? We desecrate the holy, we damage the temple, because the temple, my friends, is us. All of us.”
Our public witness and voice is sought after in every area where injustice breeds. This is good work and this is holy work, but please understand we are not done, we are not well, we have not arrived. There is much work to do. And yet healing is possible in the “We.” Love is possible in the “We.” Justice is possible in the “We.” (tb)
“Great is Thy Faithfulness” Words: Thomas O Chisholm. Music: William M Runyan. 1923. Performed by the NCNC UCC Conference Choir 2020 directed by Mike Ellard. Sung in English, Japanese, Cantonese, and Tagalog. Recorded on Oct 24, 2020.
Benediction (Holy Spirit led)
(the service is concluded)
(NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text formatted, adapted by Kathryn M. Schreiber, 2021.
(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.
(kms/vk) Rev Kathryn Schreiber’s poem based on quotes from Valarie Kaur’s UCC keynote on July 12, 2021. Recordings of similar speeches can be found on her website: https://valariekaur.com/
(saqm) Sacred Ally Quilts Ministry. “Stitch, Breathe, Speak” a documentary film about the project, will release later this year.
(tb) Rev. Traci Blackmon’s speech/sermon (video) appears at the bottom of this article: https://www.ucc.org/traci-blackmon-embrace-the-power-of-the-we-in-the-ucc/?fbclid=IwAR1_G_49KoXr5DmorKN0JSNjooEcfIrLQxUcRN0U-TnitOLQvAPE6rt-eWg
COPYRIGHT NOTE: Copyright laws changed in early 2021. Please check with your denominational legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content publicly. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Thank you.
Online Image: EHS Daily Advisor, 2010
Online Publishing Date: July 14, 2021
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