Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Service in Remembrance and Celebration of General Conference

This week at CWM we will remember and celebrate General Conference through a service of testimony given by those in our community who travelled to Fort Worth as missionaries for our congregation. The liturgy moves from testimony to proclamation to song as it narrates the events of General Conference and proclaims the hope that comes with the birth of the Church on this day of Pentecost.

While the liturgy below shows the testimonies, scripture and proclamation read as a whole, in the actual service they were divided into seven parts alternating testimony, proclamation, song and scripture. The service below may be copied for congregational use. Please note the following sources:
  • The Call to Worship was written by T.L. Steinwert (2008).
  • The Proclamation was written by the Witness Team of Reconciling Ministries Network, Rev. David W. Meredith, Convener (2008).

Moment of Meditation
A video testimony from General Conference

Call to Worship

Were you there?

We were there. We who are the Church were there. Some of us in person, others of us in prayer. We were there.

Were you there when they crucified our God?

We were there when they silenced the voices of those who sought justice and inclusion through parliamentary pranks and the denial of debate.

Were you there when they nailed Christ to the tree?

We were there when they voted to dis-member the Body of Christ, refusing by a mere 12 votes to make membership open to all persons.

Were you there when the sun refused to shine?

We were there when the Church refused to tell the truth, voting 51% to 49% that we were of one mind.

Were you there?

We were there!

Opening Hymn
TFWS 2217 By The Babylonian Rivers

Sacred Lessons
Jeremiah 29: 1-11
I Sought and I Found by Carlo Carretto
Acts 2: 2-4a

Testimonies

Proclamation

We have heard Jesus say – to all persons without exception – “follow me.”
We are part of God’s living body in today’s world, but our United Methodist Church
refuses to accept what God has done,
refuses to keep covenant with its own words in the baptismal promise,
refuses to honor God’s call to professional ministry,
refuses to do no harm,
refuses to open its hearts, minds, and doors.

The unchurched notice. They notice the church
cruelly scapegoating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
on the altar of so-called unity

The young notice. They notice the church
denying, refusing, threatening, removing, closeting
the lgbt people who faithfully serve the church.

The world notices.
We notice.
God notices.

The United Methodist baptismal liturgy calls all of us to
accept the freedom and power God gives us
to resist evil, injustice, and oppression
in whatever forms they present themselves.

It is our duty – our baptismal covenant – to stand against the sin of the church,
to stand for God’s freedom and power,
to affirm God’s entire body of Christ that is the church.

We are God's children,
here … now.

Today we boldly declare by standing here
that our church’s doors and our ministries will radically obey the Gospel
that we defy bigotry and ignorance,
that the anti-gay policies and practices of The United Methodist Church are wrong.

By human means we cannot stand but by the grace of God we can.

By standing
we reject the idea that homosexuality is a sin
By standing
we affirm that sexuality is a good gift of God

By standing
we affirm our intent to spread God’s love and grace
By standing
we bless and celebrate families, all families.

We do not stand alone.
We stand in solidarity with all those
who are not here,
who are not in our congregations.
We stand with those who’ve been forced out and who’ve never come in,
who already affirm one another as beloved children of God,
regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

We stand with holy boldness
to welcome LGBT laity and clergy into our churches and pulpits, NOW;
to keep baptismal promises for all, NOW;
to affirm calls to ministries for all people, NOW;
to bless covenant relationships in our churches by our clergy, NOW;
to assure membership for all, NOW;
to provide hospitality for all, NOW.

Join us. Stand now. Build our future with hope and trust in God.

Hymn of Hope
UMH 533 We Shall Overcome

Prayers of the People

Offering Ourselves and Our Gifts

Holy Communion

Closing Hymn

Benediction and Grace



2 comments:

Jules said...

Tiffany,
What a beautiful service! I wish I could have been with all of you at CWM for it.
Julie

Anonymous said...

That is appalling. The call to worship comparing Jesus' crucifixion and suffering to Churches' attitude to homosexuality (which you dislike) is dreadful. Sorry, but this is blasphemous and just awful.

God Bless.