Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Come Be With Us At SWUUSI Conference, Bread, Not Stones, July 22-27



SWUUSI 2012, July 22-27, 2012

Southwest Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute, Western Hills Lodge in Sequoyah State Park, near Tulsa, between Wagoner and Hulbert on Highway 51.

Morning Theme Talk: "Bread, Not Stones"

By The Rev. Thomas R. Schade, minister of the First Unitarian Church of Worcester, MA

Tom writes: "To use a football analogy, liberal religion is turning from defense to offense. After nearly 40 years of being on the cultural defensive, we now turn to the work of calling people to another way of life, to challenging the status quo, to shaping character in new ways, to changing lives. The world wants to know what we are carrying. We need to open our hands and show them. Is it bread, not stones? Bread is faith development, vocation, and mission. Stones are inward looking communities, institutional maintenance, and ministry as "mass mood management."

The Rev. Thomas Schade was called as the Associate Minister of the First Unitarian Church of Worcester, MA, in the fall of 1999, to serve with Rev. Barbara Merritt, then the Senior Minister of the church. In the fall of 2006, he was designated as the 11th Minister of the First Unitarian Church of Worcester, founded in 1785. His ministry was affirmed in the Spring of 2010, when he was designated the sole minister of the church when Rev. Merritt retired. A life-long Unitarian, he received a BA from George Washington University in 1970, majoring in Political Science. After a career in Information Technology, he began preparing for the Ministry in 1995, studying at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He was the intern minister at Horizon UU Church. In 1999, he received his Masters of Divinity and was ordained by the First Unitarian Church. His essays have appeared in the book "Soul Work" and elsewhere. He is a past president of the UU Christian Fellowship. He is married to Sue Schade, a hospital executive. They have two grown daughters.



SWUUSI Sunset Talks

"Out of this Stillness": Spiritual Direction and Mission

By The Rev. Tony Lorenzen

Monday: Wrong Way Wainwrights (Or how UU's do church backwards)

Spiritual direction helps us find our way and find what saves us, both as individuals and as a group. We will look at our Soteriology leading to Missiology leading to Ecclesiology. Too often UU's start with/argue over what it means to be church, Ecclesiology, then maybe find a mission, and occasionally talk about what saves us or makes us whole.

Tuesday: Misnomers

Why Spiritual Direction, Mission, and Salvation need reclamation and reframing.

Wednesday: Resistance - It's not just for therapy.

How we avoid the sacred as individuals and congregations and how overcoming this resistance frees us for mission.

Thursday: Cities on a Hill - What might this Look Like

Models from Ginghamsburg Church, Wellspring and Rochester, Soma, A Third Place, Lucy Stone Cooperative, UU Social Justice Academies

Rev. Tony Lorenzen is a Universalist Christian living a missional life in north Texas. He serves on the Board of Directors of the UU Christian Fellowship as well as the Board of the Keller Farmers Market. Follow him on his blog at www.sunflowerchalice.com on TWITTER @revtonyuu.    





SWUUSI Workshops

Mornings

1. The Calling of Ministry: What the Heck do Ministers Do Anyway and/or So You Want To Be A Minister, The Rev. Mark Christian, lead minister, First Unitarian Church, Oklahoma City

2. Spiritual Practice and Spiritual Direction, Revs. Jonalu Johnstone and Debra Garfinkel, graduates of HeartPath; The Rev. Johnstone is program minister at First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City; The Rev. Garfinkel has served as pastoral care minister at All Souls Church in Tulsa, and is a spiritual director in Tulsa.

3. "The Great Online Third Place" by Joanna Fontaine Crawford

Missional church leaders encourage us to go to where the people are – to their “third place,” which is the place you spend your spare time when not at home or at work. Along with bars and coffeehouses, probably the most popular hangout in a virtual one – the Internet. How do we reach these folks, and keep their attention? Learn about making church videos, livestreaming, copyright issues, and how to make the most of your online presence through Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare, and more.

Joanna Fontaine Crawford is the Intern Minister for the Church of the Larger Fellowship, which provides weekly online worship services to members around the globe. She’s also that person who posts a bazillion times on Facebook.

4. Learning The Night Sky, Paul Derrick, tentatively set.

5. SWUUSI Choir, director to be named later.

6. missional liberation environmental gardens

Bonnie Ashing, project leader for the new kitchengardenpark and orchard with A Third Place Community Foundation and The Welcome Table Church in Turley, OK.

A chance to consider how your garden can be a spiritual discipline, your “first wilderness” and a contribution to the health of our environment. A chance to write your personal “green manifesto”. Who are you? What do you love? How will you fight for it? And how do others experience their environment? Suggested readings list available on request but not necessary. Bring seeds to swap if you like!

Afternoon

1. Examining Your Mission Field by the Rev. Susan M. Smith, District Executive of the Southwestern UU Conference

Every congregation needs a clear vision for its future and a plan for how it will be accomplished, but most make the mistake of grounding this vision in the wants of the current congregants rather than the needs of the community that they serve. This workshop will provide a variety of ways to consider who your congregation can serve now and into the future.

2. The Sermon on The Mount, by The Rev. Chuck Freeman

3. Marking Memories, Making Meaning - Spiritual Practices for Unitarian Universalist Families by Scottie Johnson, seminarian at Perkins School of Theology

4. Climate Change -- Updated

Tim Mock
Tim writes: Over years of facilitating conversations about climate change, I accumulated 32 pounds of paper resources and 4.4 gigabytes of multimedia files on my computer, always searching for what is new, important, interesting, and understandable by the lay person. As of this writing (August 2011), a recent book by the director of NASA's Institute for Space Studies, probably the world's best climate scientist, tops the list. The title -- "Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity." The science is fascinating, and the issue is "likely to be the predominant ... moral issue of the 21st century." UUs have a vital role to play.
5. Strings and Things, Nancy Cain

Strings and Things is a workshop for people who like to sing folk songs, play traditional music, or just enjoy listening to others play and sing. Acoustic instruments of any kind are welcome: strings, brass, woodwinds, harps, flutes, bodhrans, etc. We use Rise Up Singing as a reference for our songs. All are welcome.

6. A workshop still to be named.

Evening Worship Services

Monday: The Rev. Barbara Jarrell, All Souls UU Church, Shreveport, LA

Tuesday: The Rev. Patrick Price, Community UU Church, Plano, TX

Wednesday: Cathey Edwards, intern minister, First Unitarian Church, Oklahoma City

Thursday: To be named
 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Sunday of Advent Worship 2011: Peace


The Welcome Table
A Free Universalist Christian Missional Community


Following the radical Jesus in deeds not creeds. Join us in service to our community throughout the week. Our Welcome Table of Worship is open to all who welcome all, regardless of belief or denomination, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities, economic status, or political affiliations. We don’t think Jesus would have it any other way.

Free because we are non-creedal. We don’t give theological tests for admission, but encourage you to test us and try us to see if this way is for you. Universalist because we believe God is Love and All who abide in Love abide in God for all time (1 John 4:16). Christian because the generous compassionate way and story of Jesus, while not exclusively so, is our primary pathway opening up to God. Missional because we are sent to serve others more than ourselves. Community because we are made not to be autonomous individuals but to be a people of God.

Invocation
Today is the day which God has made: Let us rejoice and be glad therein.
What does the Eternal require of us?
To live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

Chalice Lighting Covenant
This is our covenant as we walk together in life as a people of God striving to make Jesus visible in the world
: In the light of truth, and the loving and liberating spirit of Jesus, we gather in freedom, to worship God, and serve all.

O Lord, let my soul rise up to meet you As the day rises to meet the sun.

First Sunday of Advent
Introduction: Welcome To A New Kind of Time Zone and The Peace That Brings Us and Keeps Us In Abandoned Places, from Shane Claiborne, Common Prayer

Scripture:
But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.33Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.34It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.35Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn,36or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly.37And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.” From Mark 13

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;49for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.50His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.51He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;53he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.54He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,55according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” From Luke 1

“To love someone is not first of all to do things for them, but to reveal to them their beauty and value, to say to them through our attitude: You are beautiful, you are important. I trust you. You can trust yourself. We all know well that we can do things for others and in the process crush them, making them feel that they are incapable of doing things by themselves. To love someone is to reveal to them their capacities for life, the light that is shining in them.” Jean Vanier

Lighting The Advent Candle For Peace

One:
The Christ of Peace is coming. Christ is always coming, always entering a troubled world, a wounded heart. And so we light the first candle, the candle of peace, and dare to express our longing for peace, for healing, and the well-being of all creation.

All: Loving God, as we enter this season, We open all the dark places in our lives and memories to your healing light. Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you, That we may walk in your light.

One:
We light this candle knowing full well that peace is elusive, and in some parts of the world, it is almost completely absent. Yet in this season of Advent, we trust that God is never absent from us. God is always preparing something new.

All: And even where there is war and discord, whether between countries, within families, or within our own hearts. God is present, gently leading us to new possibilities.
---Jeanyne Slettom, alt.


Morning Songs: Dona Nobis Pacem, I’ve Got Peace Like A River, Gonna Lay Down My Sword and Shield
Hymn For Advent: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here, Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel, Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring come, and cheer Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel, Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O Come, you Splendor very bright, as joy that never yields to might
O Come, and turn all hearts to peace, that greed and war at last shall cease.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel, Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Sharing Prayers

O God help us to be instruments of Thy peace. Where hate rules let us bring love;
where injury, pardon; where discord, union; where doubt, faith; where despair, hope; where darkness, light; where sorrow, joy. Let us strive more to comfort others than to be comforted; to understand others--than to be understood; to love others--than to be loved. For it is in giving, that we receive, and in pardoning, that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are raised to eternal life
.

Prayer of Confession:
Gracious and Loving God, we acknowledge to you, to one another, and to ourselves that we are not what you have called us to be. We have stifled our gifts and wasted our time. We have avoided opportunities to offer kindness, but have been quick to take offense. We have pretended that we could make no contribution to peace and justice in our world and have excused ourselves from risk-taking in our own community
. Have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and help us to live our lives differently. We long for peace within and without, for harmony in our families, for the well-being of our neighbors, and to love our enemies. Yet we have too often not made the hard choices that love requires. Show us how to walk in your path of faithfulness, hope, and love. Amen.
Words of Assurance:
One fact remains that does not change: God loves all, for all time. This is the good news that brings new life.
Thanks be to God. Amen.

Now we join in saying the prayer Jesus taught for all those who would follow in his way of radical compassion, courage, conscience, and commitment.
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Communion
Prayer:
O God, in the loving and liberating spirit of Jesus, we gather at this welcoming table open to all, remembering how Jesus gathered people from all the walks of life, stranger and friend and enemies, gave thanks to you, offered all the bread of life and the cup of blessing and proclaimed a covenant of love for all in your name. We remember too the wonder of his life, as we remember the wonder of all of Creation given unto us and how all are One. We remember the agony of his death, and all the terrors and the tyrannies that oppress people today. And we remember the power of resurrection, the mystery of faith in the everlasting Spirit, the triumph over fear. Help us to remember to practice resurrection everyday, as we remember all those who have given Love the ultimate trust and the last word and who have worked to create the beloved community of renewed and abundant life. Help us to remember with this meal especially all those who are hungry, and may we treat all our meals as sacred and to be shared. Take us, bless us, so that even in and with our brokenness we may serve others. Amen.
Jesus said I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me. And they said, Lord, when did we do this? And he said, You did this for me when you did it for the least of these.
Here is the bread of life, food for the spirit. Let all who hunger come and eat. Here is the fruit of the vine pressed and poured out for us. Let all who thirst now come and drink
. We come to make peace. We come to be restored in the love of God. We come to be made new as an instrument of that love.

Let us Break Bread Together on our knees, let us break bread together on our knees when I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun o Lord have mercy on me Let us drink wine together on our knees let us drink wine together on our knees when I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun o Lord have mercy on me let us praise God together on our knees let us praise God together on our knees when I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun O Lord have mercy on me.
Passing the Plate and Cup of Communion

“We’re Going to Sit At the Welcome Table”
1.We’re gonna sit at the welcome table, we’re gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days halleluia We’re gonna sit at the welcome table, gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days 2.All kinds of people round that table, all kinds of people round that table one of these days halleluia, all kinds of people around that table, gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days 3.No fancy style at the welcome table, no fancy style at the welcome table one of these days halleluia, no fancy style at the welcome table, gonna sit at the welcome table one of these days.

Benediction
Let us go out into the highways and byways. Let us give the people something of our new vision. We may possess a small light, but may we uncover it, and let it shine. May we use it to bring more light and understanding to the hearts and minds of men and women. May we give them not hell but hope and courage. May we preach and practice the kindness and everlasting love of God. Amen


“Shalom Havyreem, Shalom Havyreem, Shalom, Shalom, Shalom Havyreem, Shalom Havyreem, Shalom, Shalom”
“Go Now in Peace, Go Now in Peace, May the Love of God surround you, everywhere, everywhere, you may go.



For more on our community and way, www.progressivechurchplanting.blogspot.com www.missionalprogressives.blogspot.com, www.turleyok.blogspot.com, www.uuchristian.org, www.tcpc.org, www.uua.org, www.ccda.org, www.christianuniversalist.org
 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Occupying Thanksgiving

This past Sunday at the Welcome Table Community we had our Thanksgiving worship service co-led by Christy Moore, founding pastor of StoneSoup community in Tulsa, using a missional worship common meal, singing and sharing prayers and readings and sharing meal preparation and cooking and sharing communion and conversation about food and justice and the environment around us. You can read all about it at http://progressivechurchplanting.blogspot.com/2011/11/this-sundays-thanksgiving-meal-worship.html

We ended our worship with our reverse offering where we gave away money, even to people who showed up to be with us for the first time, and commissioned them to find ways to change the world with the money. We then blessed our compost and our recycling, and we prayed a prayer of confession for the trash we were sending to the landfill, which is very much a part of our home here in the Trash Mountain that has risen up over Turley as a rival to the God given Turley Hill. We followed all this with the movie about the missional monastic community in "Of Gods and Men" and the blessings they found, even unto death, serving God by serving people of a different faith in a spirit of cooperation and trust. (I will put an appendix here that includes the final letter written by one of the monks that embodies what the movie's message of common service and forgiveness is all about; powerful words to be thankful for).

All in all from 9 am to 4 pm we were enacting and embodying what an alternative community is like, an "anti Black Friday" community where success is measured in what you give away, not what you get, and by the love in the giving.

Tomorrow we will create "fictive family" by throwing open our doors at noon at our community center at 5920 N. Owasso Ave. to see if anyone, or you, is in need of a Thanksgiving meal community, or simply community. We don't plan these out; we don't make the newspaper listings of free dinners; we spread the word person to person through our contacts, through our biweekly food pantry days. We trust in the theology of potluck, that who and what arrives will be enough to provide. Movies will be watched; we have games; and conversation. This past week we have fed many with giveaways of turkey dinners, as a way we will help them be at welcome table community wherever they are and with whomever they are; we have been giving fresh vegetables away through our pantry that have been grown in our kitchengardenpark and orchard so many of you have helped us with.

The Thanksgiving Communion words were about vulnerability. As we break open the bread, as we break the vine and pour out its juice, as Jesus' life was broken open and the status quo of the world then and now is broken open, so our lives and communities must be grown through being opened to one another, risking being hurt, disappointed, and in fact being hurt and disappointed, and yet in the sharing comes the strength and sustenance of community. We talked about how being vulnerable was back then, and still is today, a counter-cultural God kind of way to live, when all about us in the media and in institutions seeks to make a virtue out of self-containment, strength, showy status, appearances, competition.

When we ate our meal this past Sunday we fixed a plate and gave it to another, and we received the plate and bowl made up for us by another. Receiving opens us up, makes us vulnerable, grows the spirit of trust and permission giving that is the heart of any community that exists for something beyond itself. We sat down with people we had not met before and ate with those we did not know, and otherwise might not ever meet, and we made a virtue of vulnerability, the same way Jesus lifted up vulnerability in his ministry, and how God lifted up Jesus and turned the cross from what it was meant to be, a symbol of shame, and made it a symbol of hope that nothing can separate us from the love of God, not even that, not even what we face today.

We talked about the vulnerability of those souls who came to rest at Plymouth in 1620, our religious ancestors, and the pewter cup and plate we used for communion came in fact from the Plimouth Plantation, and how the covenant and committing of walking together they shared in the spirit of the One who is on a mission to be with those most vulnerable is a covenant and commitment for us today. That vulnerability is always at risk of being lost and turned into a fortress,as it was so often for those who came to power in this country, but at its heart what the legend of the Plymouth Thanksgiving gives us is a lesson of the welcome table's vulnerable radical hospitality, a lesson that goes back to the act of Jesus sitting down with tax collectors and sinners, a re-enactment itself of the prophetic call to live as strangers in a strange land, welcoming any who need shade and a meal, because in doing so we welcome God. And we hope as we leave and return to our lives that we take some of the vulnerability, some of the practice of the welcome table, out with us.

The root of the word vulnerable comes from a latin word for wound. It reminds me of the root of the word blessed going back to a meaning of being marked with blood as a sign of sacredness; in french blesse still carries the meaning of being hurt. Part of our mission then as a people of God is to live lives of vulnerability, first because that is how we open up to God, how we honor the spirit of the vulnerable Jesus, but also because true trust can only come from a place of being vulnerable, and without trust community that is authentic can not be created, and without a community we cannot take on the great tasks and work of transforming that we are called to bring about in our neighborhoods and lives.

It is a hard path for many of us raised precisely to be not vulnerable, or whom have been wounded by others or ourselves and sought protection and our very definition of self in how we avoid vulnerability. It is hard when all the messages and rewards around us are for those who find victory in strength and self, in convenience and contentment. From our political systems to our financial systems to our cultural systems of stardom, even to our religious systems and how we view our churches and their mission, there is an underlying focus on "the elect", the striving to be the one percenters, or like the one percenters, those who will never know vulnerability. This focus, as understandable as it might be in a time of great change in history, is still not the way of life truly abundant and everlasting Jesus pointed to.

This Thanksgiving may we find ways to land on shores we never thought we would call home, to be strangers, never fully at ease, helping to make a space in our world with others for the surprises that bless us. Call that space occupying the world with God's vision. Or call it doing what some followers of Jesus have always done, going to be with people in and for the places others turn away from.

On Sunday, Nov. 27 beginning at 9:30 am we will hold the first of our Advent worship services as we begin our walk toward Bethlehem. We will be watching the video Justice for the Poor featuring Sojourners editor Jim Wallis, a call to always put the real needs of the growing poor first in our spiritual lives and spiritual communities. We will watch a different part of this video series each Sunday in December, for the way to prepare the way for the birth of Jesus is to seek ways to focus on that which he focused on.

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, we will help at the community meeting at 7 pm at OBrien park as we learn more about the lives around us and we focus on business development in our area at the Vann Green Park project, and we finish working with the community on dreams and ideas and plans for reclaiming the abandoned Cherokee School building and property.

On Thursday, Dec. 1 we will begin the first of our 6:30 pm Advent Vespers Services. At both our Sunday and Thursday worship services we will be discussing sections of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Advent and Christmas sermons, and selections from the new book "Christmas Is Not Your Birthday" by Mike Slaughter, both calls to re-orient our lives during these sacred days of the year.

We are also raising funds for McLain High School parent program and Greeley Elementary School programs, and for our food pantry and needs for the computer center, and getting ready for keeping the building heated as a place for people to come in from the cold again. Thanks for all holiday donations through www.turleyok.blogspot.com.

Finally, Here, as an added Thanksgiving bonus to this meal of words from our community to yours, we include the letter of deep thanksgiving and forgiveness and hope for a better world that was the last will and testament of one of the murdered monks who stayed and served in an abandoned place during the midst of a civil war in Algeria: His words are my benediction, or my prayer for you on this day:

“If the day comes, and it could be today, that I am a victim of the terrorism that seems to be engulfing all foreigners living in Algeria, I would like my community, my Church, and my family to remember that I have dedicated my life to God and Algeria.

"That they accept that the Lord of all life was not a stranger to this savage kind of departure; that they pray for me, wondering how I found myself worthy of such a sacrifice; that they link in their memory this death of mine with all the other deaths equally violent but forgotten in their anonymity. My life is not worth more than any other—not less, not more. Nor am I an innocent child. I have lived long enough to know that I, too, am an accomplice of the evil that seems to prevail in the world around, even that which might lash out blindly at me. If the moment comes, I would hope to have the presence of mind, and the time, to ask for God’s pardon and for that of my fellowman, and, at the same time, to pardon in all sincerity he who would attack me.

"I would not welcome such a death. It is important for me to say this. I do not see how I could rejoice when this people whom I love will be accused, indiscriminately, of my death. The price is too high, this so-called grace of the martyr, if I owe it to an Algerian who kills me in the name of what he thinks is Islam.

"I know the contempt that some people have for Algerians as a whole. I also know the caricatures of Islam that a certain (Islamist) ideology promotes. It is too easy for such people to dismiss, in good conscience, this religion as something hateful by associating it with violent extremists. For me, Algeria and Islam are quite different from the commonly held opinion. They are body and soul. I have said enough, I believe, about all the good things I have received here, finding so often the meaning of the Gospels, running like some gold thread through my life, and which began first at my mother’s knee, my very first church, here in Algeria, where I learned respect for the Muslims.

"Obviously, my death will justify the opinion of all those who dismissed me as na├»ve or idealistic: “Let him tell us what he thinks now.” But such people should know my death will satisfy my most burning curiosity. At last, I will be able—if God pleases—to see the children of Islam as He sees them, illuminated in the glory of Christ, sharing in the gift of God’s Passion and of the Spirit, whose secret joy will always be to bring forth our common humanity amidst our differences.

"I give thanks to God for this life, completely mine yet completely theirs, too, to God, who wanted it for joy against, and in spite of, all odds. In this Thank You—which says everything about my life—I include you, my friends past and present, and those friends who will be here at the side of my mother and father, of my sisters and brothers—thank you a thousandfold.

"And to you, too, my friend of the last moment, who will not know what you are doing. Yes, for you, too, I wish this thank-you, this “A-Dieu,” whose image is in you also, that we may meet in heaven, like happy thieves, if it pleases God, our common Father. Amen! Insha Allah!"

(Written in Algiers by Dom Christian of Abbaye Notre-Dame de l'Atlas, December 1, 1993; two years prior to his murder)

blessings for a deep Thanksgiving spirit in your life,

Ron

Friday, November 18, 2011

This Sunday's Thanksgiving Meal Worship order of service: a menu/liturgy; followed by missional movie "Of Gods and Men"

 This Sunday Nov. 20 beginning at 9:30 am (but of course come when you can for as long as you can, worship is more party than program, but you definitely get more out the more you can contribute with your presence) come be with us at our community center, 5920 N. Owasso Ave., as we will have a very special worship experience for Thanksgiving (see the liturgy below).

We are creating liturgy around our common meal preparation and serving and eating in a sacred mindful conversational way, full of singing, prayers, interesting questions to discuss, sharing of stories from our lives, bringing items from home from our kitchens or lives to put on the altar, bringing items for salad and for soup, making our bread for communion and to share for the Thanksgiving dinner, potlucking any other items we want to contribute, and will close our meal worship gathering in time to also host a 1 pm (ish) showing of the movie "Of Gods and Men" based on a true story of French monks serving their Muslim neighbors, not trying to convert them, and being caught between corrupt government forces, terrorists, and their own crises of faith in what it means to follow Jesus even in dangerous times and places.

Here is our order of service to help shape and deepen our customary and beloved holy chaos; this worship meal experience will, it is hoped, help individuals and families to make all their meals more sacred, by affording models to use, and even after this special Thanksgiving Service we will adapt a modified version of the liturgy for use at all our common meals.

Thanks to missional progressive colleague Christy Moore for inspiration, participation and co-leading this first of our worshipful meals or meals of worship.

We hope to see you there, as we seek to make our worship more missional as well as our service in and with community, even if it is your first time to gather with us. Come and see. This is Reverse Offering Sunday, our annual giving out of money to persons and families to take and be a blessing in the community, to be creative and start something lasting, or contribute to something new, to say thanks to someone, to surprise someone and yourself; we will hear stories back from our reverse offering when we gather in January on Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday. Even if this is your first time, please come and take a reverse offering back into the world with you.


The Welcome Table Gathering

free.universalist.christian.missional.community

Thanksgiving Worship Meal

Liturgy/Menu

Experiencing God in Radical Hospitality and Service To Others

“While at Levi’s House, Jesus ate with tax-collectors and sinners (today we would say he was eating with terrorists and child sex offenders); when the religious authorities saw him doing so, they asked his followers why he was shaming himself and them and their whole community by doing so; on overhearing this, Jesus stepped in (reminding them by his action that if anyone had a problem with another they should go directly to that other with it and not to someone else) and he said, “Anyone can eat with those who are like them, and who they like and are liked by them, but those of us especially who follow our God of Israel, a God who commands us to treat the strangers as one of us because we were once strangers in another land, we must do more than that in order to do God’s will. After all, even though the world of the Empire may think and do otherwise, should doctors treat only the well and not the sick? Our meals are like doctors for the soul.  If you are full and happy and think you are perfect  and have brought nothing to give, you won’t understand God is at this table, that God is for the ungodly. But if you are not well, take off your heavy burdens and lay them down, and come rest and be nourished at this table and yes, even by these people of God.” ---a rendering of the gospel based on Mark 2

“We’ll stay hungry if we eat alone. We’ll starve if we believe that a community is a supernatural kind of miracle, or a product we can buy—not something we create by offering ourselves recklessly to others. We’ll never feel truly fed if we’re constantly competing to get our share, if we believe that love is scarce, and are afraid to give it away.”---Sara Miles

Invocation and Gathering

Today is the day which God has made. Let us rejoice and be glad therein. For what does the Eternal require of us? To live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. We covenant to walk together with one another not in creed, but in deed, to walk together in the ways of God known and to be made known. In the light of truth, and the loving and liberating spirit of Jesus, we gather in freedom, to worship God, and serve others.

Responsive Reading 425: from Psalm 65

First Movement: Washing and Blessing The Hands and Preparing the Meal

Blessed are you, Holy One. You hold us in your hands. Be with us in THIS day. Bless our hands, that we might hold others as dearly as you hold them. Blessed be the hands that grow food and those that prepare meals. Blessed be the hands that wash dishes and clean floors. Blessed be the hands that anoint the sick and offer blessings. Blessed be the hands that guide the young. Blessed be the hands that grow stiff with age. Blessed be the hands that comfort the dying and have held the dead. Blessed be the hands that greet strangers. Blessed be the hands for all the work, all the play, all the love, that we give. Blessed be the hands into which we receive life; bless be the hands into which we pass the future. Blessed be the hands that pass peace.

Greetings

Preparing the Meal and Conversation: Where did our components of the meal come from? Do we just eat with an assumption of food that just appears? Sharing Stories of where our food ingredients came from, whether shopping or gardens. How have we prepared the space for our meal? How does food grow community? Where is God in the garden, in the slaughterhouses, in the factories, in the transport, in the stores, in the kitchen?

Responsive Reading: We Give Thanks This Day, #512

Songs of Thanksgiving: For The Beauty of The Earth, #21, Tis A Gift to Be Simple #16, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, #126

Second Movement: Deepening Our Lives At The Tables and The Altar

Setting the Altar and Moments of Silence and Sharing Stories with items that have meaning from our homes and our lives. What kind of tables did Jesus gather? Where have our tables come from? What makes the communion table different and the same? What is a blessing? What do we bring to the table, of blessings?

Songs of Meditation and Mindfulness:

Find A Stillness, #352

Prayers of Community

Dona Nobis Pacem, #388

The Prayer Jesus Taught Those Who Would Follow in his Radical Compassionate Way:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Responsive Reading: We Lift Up Our Hearts in Thanks, #515

Third Movement: Breaking Bread/Pouring Cup/Eucharist/Meal

Songs of Communion: We’re Gonna Sit At The Welcome Table, #407

Responsive Reading: Food For the Spirit, #726

Conversation: Vulnerability as Virture. How do we break open our lives to share with others?

Communion Prayer: O God, we gather at this welcoming table open to all no matter what, remembering how Jesus gathered people from all the walks of life, stranger and friend and enemies, gave thanks to you, offered all the bread of life and the cup of blessing and proclaimed a covenant of love for all in your name.  We remember too the wonder of his life, as we remember the wonder of all of Creation given unto us and how all are One, and all lives sacred.  We remember his death and how on the night before he died he still gathered in love to share a meal and the hope for a better world, and we remember all the terrors and the tyrannies that oppress people today. In the mystery of faith in the everlasting Spirit, the triumph over fear, help us to remember to practice resurrection everyday, as we remember all those who have given Love the ultimate trust and the last word and who have worked to create the beloved community of renewed and abundant life. Help us to remember with this meal especially all those who are hungry, and may we treat all our meals as sacred and to be shared. Take us, bless us, so that even in and with our brokenness we may serve others and receive Your Spirit. Amen.

Breaking and Passing the Bread of Life, Pouring and Passing the Cup of Hope

Song of Communion: Let Us Break Bread Together, #406

Passing Our Plates and Serving One Another

Dinner and Food Justice Conversation on Questions

Fourth Movement: Taking Home

Unison Prayer for Our Composting and Recycling: Creator God, we thank you for the abundance of resources with which we are blessed. We repent the abuse and overuse of these gifts. And we now ask for your guidance in restoring the face of the earth. Amen.

Song of Thanksgiving: We Sing Now Together, #67

Reverse Offering Blessings: #702, distributing envelopes, #704

Song of Benediction: Go Now in Peace, #413

You are invited to stay for the movie and discussion of the film “Of Gods and Men” based on a true story of a monastery of French monks caring for Muslim neighbors and caught between corrupt government forces and terrorists.

About The Welcome Table Missional Community

We seek to freely follow the radical Jesus in deeds not creeds. Join us in service to our community throughout the week. That is the primary way we become church. Our Welcome Table of Worship is open to all who welcome all, regardless of belief or denomination, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities, economic status, or political affiliations.  We don’t think Jesus would have it any other way.

Free. Universalist.Christian.Missional. Community.

Free because we are non-creedal. We don’t give theological tests for admission, but encourage you to test us and try us to see if this way is for you.  Universalist because we believe God is Love and All who abide in Love abide in God, and God’s love is for all for all time and nothing can separate us from the Love of God.  Christian because the generous compassionate way and story of Jesus, is our primary, but not exclusive, pathway opening up to God. Missional because we are sent to serve others more than ourselves, building up God’s beloved community more than our own, putting our time talent and treasure more into the world than into our own organization. Community because we are made not to be autonomous individuals but to be a people of God.

Our Mission, Vision, Values

We are created by and for the Mission of God. We seek to make the spirit of Jesus visible in the world, especially through small acts of justice done with great love. To heal the sick, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, invite the stranger, visit the prisoner, free the captive and the oppressed, give sight to the blind, clothe the naked, and proclaim the year of God’s Jubilee Forgiveness of Debts.

We are a simple church, but it can be a deep struggle to live toward true freedom, to practice  God’s love for all, to follow the liberating Jesus who was crucified for his radical ways of hospitality and justice, to live for and serve others more than self, and to put community first.  We invite those who wish to struggle with us, to fail with us, and to continue struggling with us.  Worship gatherings and common meal are our times to refresh our spirits for the service of God. We will at some time break one another’s hearts and not be what and who we want ourselves to be; we begin again in love.

We encourage one another in common practices: daily acts of random acts of beauty and kindness; daily prayer and meditation; weekly worship; monthly spiritual accountability; annual retreat; lifetime pilgrimage. Striving to find ways to Relinquish wealth and privilege and Living Simply so that others may simply live. Working for the Relocation of our lives and resources to the abandoned places of the American Dream Empire. Redistribution of Goods and the Common Good. Reconciliation through Relationships with those who are different from us.

5920 N. Owasso Ave. Turley/NorthTulsa, OK 74126 918-691-3223 918-794-4637

Learning More About Us and Our Associations and Links