Thanksgiving Sunday: “In Our Midst” – Holy Communion – Joel 2:21-27

Photo: native oak acorns on Karkin-Ohlone unceded territory. Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2019

Worship format and original contentRev. Kathryn M. Schreiber (c) 2021

BCCC Worship Schedule

In-person worship services: 11am 1st and 2nd Sundays; ZOOM worship services: 2pm 3rd, 4th, 5th (if there is one) Sundays; 3pm check-in

We Gather

“Give thanks for what you have been given. Give a gift, in reciprocity for what you have taken. Sustain the ones who sustain you and the earth will last forever.” ~ Robin Wall Kimmerer, mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor)

Welcome! No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey you are welcome. Today we acknowledge the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving held by our religious ancestors, The Pilgrims, upon Wampanoag territory. We also acknowledge our presence upon the unceded lands of the Lisjan-Ohlone people committed to right relations.


Let us gather in gratitude and praise:

This morning, did you hear birds singing or joyful sounds in your household?

Let us join all creation in praising The Creator who is in our midst.

Today, have you consumed good food or drink, taken healing medicine?

Let us affirm what our bodies already know — The Provider is in our midst.

This past week, were you blessed by a kind word or caring gesture?

Let us savor the flow of compassion – The Big Love is in our midst.

This past year with its huge challenges, huge advances were also made.

Let us honor needful transitions. The Holy Spirit is in our midst. Amen.

Lighting the Christ Candle & Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor)

Passing the Peace (all) Offer joyful gestures and words of peace to one another: “Peace be with You.”

We Rest in God’s Grace

Song: “For the Beauty of the Earth” written by Folliot S Pierpoint, 1864.

Prayer and Silence (pastor)

Let us shift into silence in God’s presence with this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10.

Be still and know that I am God. (Breathe slowly)

Be still and know that I am. (Breathe slowly)

Be still and know. (Breathe slowly)

Be still. (Breathe slowly)

Be. (Breathe slowly)

(Breathe in silence) Amen.

Assurance of Grace (pastor)

In good times and bad times, when our desires are fulfilled and when our agendas are challenged, God is always with us and for us. On this auspicious Thanksgiving Sunday may we yield to God’s wisdom and step out of hurtful ways. The endless grace of God always approaches forever refreshing and healing all beings. Amen.

We Listen

Scripture: Joel 2:21-27 (CEB) (pastor)

Don’t fear, fertile land; rejoice and be glad, for the Lord is about to do great things! Don’t be afraid, animals of the field, for the meadows of the wilderness will turn green; the tree will bear its fruit; the fig tree and grapevine will give their full yield. Children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in the Lord your God, because God will give you the early rain as a sign of righteousness; God will pour down abundant rain for you, the early and the late rain, as before.

The threshing floors will be full of grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and fresh oil. I will repay you for the years that the cutting locust, the swarming locust, the hopping locust, and the devouring locust have eaten— my great army, which I sent against you. You will eat abundantly and be satisfied, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has done wonders for you; and my people will never again be put to shame. You will know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God—no other exists; never again will my people be put to shame.

May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.

Sermon “God in Our Midst” (pastor) Reflecting upon God’s activity this past year; gratitude for divine calls to be repaired and uplifted.

Special Music “In the Wake” by Rev. Will Burhans. CD: Weight of Grace ℗ 2006 Rev. Will Burhans. Used by permission.

We Pray

Prayer Requests (all)

Pastoral Prayer (pastor)

No matter what names we have given You, Holy One, You are One and You are God. Your eternal presence pulses in all that is and will be. It is to You, Almighty God, with whom we attune our souls. On this Thanksgiving Sunday, we praise You for the still-giving gift of Jesus Christ who calls us forward in peace, hope, and gratitude redeeming the sins of the past. Amen.

Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer (pastor)

We Celebrate Holy Communion


Who is seated at God’s Table? American Christians love to tell a story about the First Thanksgiving where determined new settlers and generous native peoples joyfully shared a feast together praising God for the bounty of the earth. This story is an aspirational myth.

The First Thanksgiving, 400-years-ago this year, took place as indigenous persons and European immigrants were exploring the possibility of mutual trust. In the centuries since, throughout this land we call “our nation,” cycles of racialized violence toward the first nations have been white-washed. This year, we come to God’s Table naming our national sins of greed and pride, parents to an ugly offspring: racism.

One-hundred and sixty decades before Plymouth Colony’s thanksgiving on Wampanoag Territory, another group of spiritual pilgrims assembled for a sacred festival. They were in Jerusalem during an era of political, religious, social, and environmental conflict. Through Jesus Christ, God was in their midst. Friends were called together, fed, forgiven, and charged to embody God’s noblest hopes and dreams on this earth. Today, we invite all our ancestors who wish to join us to do so. (pause)

Gathering Souls (pastor)

And, we speak the names of those persons, living or dead, we wish to join us spiritually to do so. (speak their names)

Prayer of Consecration

Holy Spirit, we pray for You to attune us to Divine Presence – in the beverages and food before us, in this spiritual gathering and beyond, throughout the cosmic web of life. Thank You. Amen.

Sharing the Elements (elements will be consumed, together, at the end)

We join Jesus and all who gather in the Name of Love at God’s Table.

God is in our midst as Jesus Christ.

Jesus lifts up the bread for blessing… breaks it… and gives it to us, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

God is in our midst as Jesus Christ.

Jesus lifts up the cup for blessing… and gives it to us, saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Dear Ones, may this cup and bread be for us, and for all peoples, a great healing balm. Amen.

(all eat and drink)

Prayer of Thanksgiving (pastor)

Eternal Healer, Re-builder of Broken Relationships, on this Thanksgiving Sunday, we thank You for all You do to mend our wounds and repair our mistakes. With profound gratitude, may the Holy Gifts we have received today have a good, everlasting effect. May we be transformed. Amen.

We Give

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (all; acapella) Please mail your donations to the church or directly to Treasurer Diane Huie.

Announcements (pastor)

*Next Sunday: First Sunday of Advent – household Advent Wreaths (ZOOM)

*BCCC Holiday Giving Email next weekend (Paper copies in-person on 12/5)

*Christmas Eve in-person worship with Holy Communion. Friday 12/24 2pm. BCCC.

Special Music: “Draw Us in the Spirit’s Tether” Lyrics: Percy Dearmer, Music: Harold Friedell.

Benediction (pastor)

Thank God for being God! We are so blessed to be eternally cherished by a good and wise God. May we heartily praise God this Thanksgiving holiday. And, may God’s peace flow, from person to person, from table to table, around the world. Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.

(wb) Rev. Will Burhans. Sent Out” is written and performed by Rev. Will Burhans, from his album “Weight of Grace” ℗ 2006.  His music can be found on Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming platforms or CD’s purchased from Music used with permission. (Thank you, Will!)

Revisiting Thanksgiving – some resources:

*The Washington Post: “This tribe helped the Pilgrims survive for their first Thanksgiving. They still regret it 400 years later.” 11/04/2021.

*Shuumi Land Tax.

*“The First Thanksgiving”:

*NCNC UCC folks, look for my article in NCNC News which will post Weds 11/24/2021 this week.

Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceeded territory of the Lisjan-Chochenyo Ohlone People, where I dwell and serve as a local church pastor. Please support indigenous rematriation efforts, the #LandBack movement, and give to Sogorea Te’ Land Trust Sog and other non-profits that reform, balance, and heal relationships with our indigenous hosts. Thank you!

Copyright Note: Copyright laws changed in December 2020 when Congress passed the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (CASE Act). Please check with your legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content online. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Protect the rights of content creators. Thank you!

Online Publishing Date: November 16, 2021.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please attribute source and observe ethical use of all resources. Follow your platforms’ publishing requirements for all created content especially if publishing online or broadcasting. Thank you!

Donation: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. If you’d like to support the congregation I serve as pastor – Berkeley Chinese Community Church – we’d be most grateful for your support. Please send checks to: BCCC UCC, 2117 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, Attn: Diane Huie, Treasurer. Thank you!

For Online Content: Please see Facebook pages: “Berkeley Chinese Community Church” and “Living Liturgies”; as well as my website: and YouTube channel: “Kathryn Schreiber”

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