Council of Elders Weekly Call to Prayer

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MCC Council of Elders Advent Reflections

Advent Three


[Transcript of video]

My name is Rev Elder Maxwell Reay, and I am delighted to be sharing with you all in this time of advent.

I am in Edinburgh Scotland, and I bring you greetings from the Council of Elders.

I also bring you greetings from my local congregation in Edinburgh, Augustine United Church and The Our Tribe LGBTQI+ ministry.

 

Philippians 4 v 4-5
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.

Luke 3 v 11
In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’

Advent is
A time of waiting.
A time of reflection.
A time of anticipation for what is to come.
We know the story of Christ’s birth.
Born in a stable, nothing grand or glamorous.
But born with Hope
Hope that will help us transform our world.
Hope that will strengthen us to challenge the systems and structures that oppress.

Some of us will have waited and celebrated this gift of life many times.
But for others this will be the first time.
Let this season of Advent be a true reminder that we are all made in the diversity that is the image of God.
A God who was revealed to us a baby – vulnerable but strong enough to survive in the most challenging and difficult time.

We are all:
Beautiful, Diverse, Creative and Complex.
A myriad of Genders, Ages, Faiths, Colours, Sexualities, Races, Voices and Abilities.
Each of us born into a place and time that we did not choose but was given by God.
Like the baby Jesus born into a place and time that was given by God.
We make our way in the world with God, knowingly or unknowingly.
A God that knows, celebrates, and unconditionally loves each of one of us – no matter who or where we are.

Jesus come shake us and remake us so:
that we too can focus our attention on the value of all that is other
That we would learn to always share our coats and food with those who need them.
That the gentleness our actions will have impact.

Jesus is indeed near.
Preparations have begun
The excitement is building.

We ask God to:
Give us what we need to acknowledge the times when get it wrong.
When our coats seem too comfortable to share.
When the food we have is too delicious to give away.
When we are not as gentle as we should be on ourselves and others.

We ask God to:
Give us the strength and humility to work to make this right.

Let this advent be a time when we bring together our hopes and dreams of a truly intersectional community.
Where our diversity is the coat, we share.
Where our diversity is the food, we offer.

Where our gentleness is channelled to challenge individuals, systems and structures that continue to perpetuate racism, sexism, agism, transphobia, homophobia, bi phobia, discrimination based on abilities or class.

Where our gentleness creates a pathway for healing and reconciliation.

Let us pray:
Holy loving Creator God.
As we journey with you through Advent.
Continue to be our guide and source of all that we need.
Open our hearts to all that you offer us each day.
Make it possible for us all share our coats, our food and our gentleness as a symbol of our unconditional and affirming love.
Make it possible for all of us to knowing in our hearts that we can be one together.
Shake us and remake so that every day is a new day with you.

Amen

Rev. Maxwell ReayRev. Elder Maxwell Reay
MCC Council of Elders

Read Elders’ Bios here:

https://www.mccchurch.org/2021-council-of-elders-bios/


Advent Two


[Transcript of video]

Advent two – – Embrace Active Waiting: Be the Incarnation (Focus: Climate Change)

A Relevant Quote:

“My wish is that we would allow this planet to be the beautiful oasis that she is, and allow ourselves to live more in the peace she generates.”

Ronald E. McNair (1950-1986)
African American Astronaut and Physicist

Warm Advent Greetings, Beloved People of God! Here we are again, Saints, in another Season of Waiting. We tend to think of “waiting” as idol time or empty time. However, we are being challenged as a denomination to think of this Season of Waiting as a time for action — Bold Action, as we Embrace Active Waiting. Since we believe that Jesus is the “Incarnate Word,” — the Incarnation of the Living God, it is not so much of a stretch to believe that we are, individually and collectively, the living incarnations of Christ Jesus, our Savior. All of us, who have been Baptized, were Baptized into Christ. We possess the “Mind of Christ” and so we are growing in Christ-Consciousness as long as we are alive. So for us to “be the incarnation” is our new nature and our calling. We must live into this unfinished calling.

One does not need to be a Physicist or any kind of scientist in order to see that this world, the Earth, our cosmic home, is out of balance. We know from our own experiences and observations that something is wrong — the earth’s many life-systems no longer function properly. They are out of sync.

I truly believe that the Bible is right in helping us to understand, like the Psalmist did, that the Earth belongs to God, along with everyone and everything in it! In the very beginning, when God Created heaven and earth, human beings were created and commanded to love, protect and care for all the other parts of God’s Good Creation.

So who is to blame that things have become so chaotic? Quite frankly, I am, and so are you. We are all at fault by virtue of our complicit participation in actions that harm our Mother Earth. Therefore, we must all share the responsibility of helping to fix what is going wrong.

I want to be part of making Ronald McNair’s wish come true. I want to be part of a movement that thinks, speaks and acts more like Jesus every day and in every situation. Perhaps embracing Climate Change as part of our spiritual calling is a good place to begin some kind of direct action.

Pray with me:

Most Holy, Loving, Creator-God, Who reveals yourself to us as Father Time and Mother Earth,

Empower us, as we struggle to make right again, so many things that are wrong…

Help us to educate ourselves on the true nature and magnitude of Climate Change…

Show us how to live in harmony with the planet, as our Indigenous siblings embrace it…

Reveal to us the power of truth-telling, so that we may begin the healing process…

Strengthen our resolve to make this world a better, safer, cleaner place for all of life…

Teach us that you judge us as groups and communities, more than as individuals…

May we live together as incarnations of your compassionate, forgiving, and Ever-Creating, Divine Self…

now and in each new generation. Amen — Ashea — And So Let It Be.

Rev. Elder Carolyn Mobley-BowieRev. Elder Carolyn Mobley-Bowie

MCC Council of Elders

Read Elders’ Bios here:

Council of Elders Bios 


Advent One


[Transcript of video]

 

Waiting isn’t always easy… but that is what the season of Advent is about. It’s about waiting – not just any kind of waiting but active waiting. Active waiting, where we invite God’s love and presence IN to all of our conversations, hopes and dreams so that we can prepare a way. Prepare the way – that we ourselves and the world can be transformed in the incarnation. And receiving the Christ Child again into our lives, into our hearts in ways that call us into being in the world that transforms it.

 

This is also World AIDS Day. The United Nations theme for World AIDS Day this year is to “end inequity, end AIDS and end pandemics.” We know about inequity. We know when Jesus was born during the Roman occupation, the people had waited a long time and were tired of waiting. We know about it during our time as people who embraced HIV/AIDS families and persons in our communities; who went bedside and prayed; who went to hospitals and visited; who walked them through to the memorial services. into resurrection. We know the exhaustion and the anger. We know the frustration. But actively we were present, showing God’s love to all who needed it.

 

This day, in this time, with the COVID pandemic, again the disparities have been revealed. How will we be present with those who’ve had three vaccines, those who’ve had none, and those who’ve been unable to have a vaccine? We need to actively wait and ask God’s blessings in this time and in this season so that we again may be that love in the world that transforms; that we may be ready to receive the Christ Child anew in our hearts and our lives, in our church, in our community and our families; so that we may be the people of God’s love. God says the world is not the way I would have it be. You, my people, are my answer.

 

Let us pray:

Holy God, give us the love and care to be your people during this time and in this place. May we Embrace Active Waiting to receive you anew this Christmas Eve. May we be your people in the world that show your love. Amen.

Rev. TroyTreash

Rev. Elder Troy Treash

MCC Council of Elders

Read Elders’ Bios here:

Council of Elders Bios 


COE Banner Fall Spring

“God, I offer myself to thee,
To build with me & to do with me as thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
That I may better do thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
That victory over them may bear witness to those I would help.
Of thy Power, thy Love & they Way of Life;
May I do thy Will always. Amen.”
–    The Third Step Prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous

As we proceed with grief, anger, fear and cautious optimism with a bruised view of the world, and with broken hearts, it is often difficult to identify God or the things we call miracles. This leads us to the repetitive cycle of being in our heads, and our thoughts racing with anger, depression, and and self-righteousness.

How can we see clearly amidst a storm that seems to shift and change, but continually obstructs our view? How, then, do we connect with our faith in God, as the ocean of grief and fear sweep over us again and again? How are we to be present when that grief of the past, and intense fear of the unknown future are constantly barging in?

When we connect to God, we can see our part and move into the service that will remove our spirit from the shackles that bind us! We open our mind to move toward stopping the madness. We achieve peace and can live more happily and normally when we are of service to others; Now that comes in many forms:
–    checking in beyond social media. Make that call to see how someone is doing.
–    Make or buy a meal for someone lonely or food insufficient.
–    Smile with your eyes as you pass a stranger on the street; it could change their whole day.
–    Remember to Breathe! We often forget to breathe, so when we remember, it becomes a form of prayer. This allows the oxygen that we have blocked to come in so that we can see clearly, and hear God’s still, quiet voice.
–    Stay where your feet are. It is the only place we have the power to do God’s work, and that is Powerful!

Reach out in whatever ways you can to meet the needs of others. This is how we get relief from our own pain, and how we honor God. Pray with me now.

God of the Highest Love,

As we move into service to others, open our hearts to feel your presence and know that you lead us with your protection.
Allow us to achieve justice, no matter how small the victories, and to recognize them and to give You the praise and gratitude owed in them.
Please move our feet in the direction of Your Will, that we may be free of self-will, and so achieve freedom in its purest form. Help us to love others as you love us. Give us the Strength of your eyes, hands and heart as we work to make the world as it should be.
Help us to identify You in all things, great & small, and to call them all Miracles.
In your many names, we pray. Amen.

Lola ShahdadiPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
LOLA SHAHDADI (She/her/hers)
Lola Shahdadi and familyIn addition to being the ASL interpreter for FMCC, Lola Shahdadi has a beautiful family – her wife, Lynne & 6-year-old daughter, Ella. She is also a writer and the author of the blogs “Raising A Baby Activist” (social justice focused) and the former “The Razzle Dazzle Mommy” (parent/adoption focused). You can read and subscribe at www.raisingababyactivist.com
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi


Oh, Divine Gracious Mother of all that is, we thank you for the beautiful and precious love that you have imbued each of us with. We pray, reflect, and are conscious of this great gift that you, Oh Divine Feminine Grace, have imparted to us, through us, and around all that is. For it is in this divine, perfect, and gracious Love that healing truly takes place.
So let each of us be still and meditate on this wondrous Love that flows from You, Oh Queen of the Universe.

As the sacred scripture says:
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46: 10
And this:
“God will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
And so it is; may God let it be so.

Corena Sills MontoyaPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
REV. CORENA SILLS MONTOYA
Transgender Female (She/Her/Hers)
Corena is a Progressive Spiritualist and Advocate to the LGBTQ+ Community.
She has attended MCC for 19 years and is currently a Lay Delegate at Founders MCC Los Angeles. She has recently been ordained by the Amazing Love Sanctuary based in Colorado.


Precious God, in the many ways we know you:

Thank you for blessing us another year – year 53 for UFMCC. Thank you for our heritage, for the calling of Troy Perry that continued to spiral into thousands of other callings all over this world. Thank you for the many days of rejoicing we’ve shared, and for the challenges that arose – opportunities for us to improve.

God, during this worldwide pandemic, we’ve found new ways to BE church, not just ways to DO church. We have ventured into unfamiliar territory, and we’re still finding our way. Continue to send your Spirit, our Guide, the One we can trust to lead us all the way through.

Sweet Spirit, come on the wings of angels and archangels. Help us to continue being the hands, feet, heart, and voice of Christ on earth. Anoint us with the refreshing winds of Pentecost to do the work that started 53 years ago. We look forward – believing, trusting, listening.

In the name of Jesus our Christ and all that is Holy.

Amen.

Rev. Keith Mozingo HeadshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
REV. KEITH MOZINGO (He/Him/His)
Senior Pastor, Founders MCC
Los Angeles, California, USA
Rev. Keith has served as Sr. Pastor at Founders MCC since 2018. He also served as Sr. Pastor in Chattanooga, TN and Baton Rouge, LA, as well as Network Leader of the South Gulf Coast Network. He shares his musical talents weekly through Evening Vespers on Facebook each Tuesday. He enjoys the beach and spending time with his four-legged friend, Fairfax.


Great Spirit of Creation and Love,

We are so thankful for the Life Force that flows through us from your Divine Presence. And we ask that the healings winds blow through our lives. Heal our Mother Earth, so wounded and broken from human mistreatment. Heal our relationships, broken by harsh words, acts of malice, and disrespect. Heal our nations from war and economic hardships. Give us wisdom, grace, and courage to act on behalf of those siblings in need.
Help us to connect with you through living with and loving all your children. Help us to be your anointed vessels in service to others.
We ask it; we believe it; and it is so!

Minister Hattie Alexander-KeyPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
MINISTER HATTIE ALEXANDER-KEY 
(pronouns, she, her, hers)
Part of the Leadership Team at MCC Detroit,
Detroit, MI USA
Married to TJ Alexander-Key


Spirit of the Living God,

Thank you for your peace and presence during this time of the changing of seasons. There are many changing forces in our lives, and we ask for you to journey with us as we prepare for what comes next. Many of us live with anticipation that you are going to do a new thing for us – both individually and collectively. We feel it. We know it. We desire it. We desire you. So come into our hearts and guide our feet as we move forward in courage and embrace our change. Help us to be the people that helps others to bring their spirituality out of the closet and give honor to the Divine Presence that surrounds us.

May It Be So!

Rev. Dr. Roland StringfellowPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:

REV. DR. ROLAND STRINGFELLOW
Senior Pastor and Teacher
MCC Detroit


In the United States and maybe in a few other countries, October 11 is celebrated as National Coming Out Day. I have always loved this idea of having a special day to celebrate who we are as sexual beings — lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc. I happen to believe that “coming out” is a lifelong process. I have also heard some very good sermons and speeches at rallies about the significance of Coming-Out!

For an example or two, Jesus told Lazarus to “Come Out” from the tomb where he had been buried. We could say that Jesus, himself, came out on more than one occasion. He came (up) out of the water after his Baptism; He came out as a Miracle-Worker, when he changed the water into wine at the Wedding Feast in Canna; He came out as a Healer, the first time He healed a person; and of course, He came out of the tomb on that First Easter Sunday morning.

Coming Out is the process of revealing something about oneself to another or to the world. Revealing our sexual orientation is only one part of who we are. There are some times and places when/where we need to come-out as a believer/Christian? Christ-Follower. Sometimes, we may need to come out as a person who believes in and values our cultural heritage. Some of us might need to come out as an artist, as a writer, as a singer or other kind of musician. At such a time, we would be revealing our talents or gifts or abilities. All these things are an important part of who we are. Since we are ever evolving and changing, we may need to keep coming out in various ways throughout our lifetime. This is my Coming Out Prayer:

Most Holy and Gifted Creator,
I thank you for making me in your own image and likeness. Truly, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Help me to properly and joyfully reveal and reflect the beauty and majesty with which you have endowed me, I rejoice in every facet of my being, and I desire to use all that I am and all that I have in loving service to you and your creation. Bless me now, my Divine Redeemer, that I may be a blessing right where I am today.
In all your Holy Names, I pray. Amen

Rev. Elder Carolyn J. Mobley-Bowie HeadshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
REV. ELDER CAROLYN J. MOBLEY-BOWIE
(she,her, hers)
Member, MCC Council of Elders
Minister of Music for Breath of Life Spiritual Center MCC
Saginaw, Michigan, USA


How do we pray in a world ravaged by COVID-19 (and all its variants still unseen)?
How do we pray in a world showing signs of global warming while so many are denying it?
How do we pray in a world where natural disasters devastate animal, plant and human life?
How do we pray when we see and feel the impact of all these things on our own lives?
How do we pray when justice, peace and respect cannot be found in the human community?

These are the kinds of questions that have caused so many people all over this world to lose faith and to give up completely on the idea or the thought of prayer. So they don’t ever acknowledge God or even a Higher Power and they refuse to give thanks or to ask for anything they want or need. This attitude and outlook only lead us to despair, loneliness, and isolation

I believe that one way to break this vicious cycle of downward-spiritual-mobility is to stop our thinking, and just do something up-lifting or inspiring. When we feel too negative to pray, we can break the chain of our thoughts with a song. I mean just sing — any song. If you cannot sing then whistle a happy tune. It is true: when we sing, we pray twice. This is why I sing .Try it! Once you sing yourself into a better state of mind, then simply give thanks for one thing; then another; and still another, until your heart is filled with gratitude for the things you enjoy. Then ask simply for the opportunity to share something you have with one other person or group you care about. Pray with me now.

Most Gracious Hearer of Prayers,
Before I am swept away by the challenges I face on a daily basis, please give me a song!
Give me a song of gratitude for the way you fill me up, even if my glass is only half full, now.
Give me a song of courage, to lend a helping hand to some whose need is greater than mine.
Give me a song of faith, to remember all that you have done, so I can trust you again today.
Give me a song of love to help me work for justice by the reverence I show for all of life.
Teach me, oh God, to always keep a song in my heart. In all your holy names, Amen.

Rev. Elder Carolyn J. Mobley-Bowie HeadshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
REV. ELDER CAROLYN J. MOBLEY-BOWIE
(she,her, hers)
Member, MCC Council of Elders
Minister of Music for
Breath of Life Spiritual Center MCC
Saginaw, Michigan, USA


Amos 5:24
“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” In these times, let us remember these words from Amos. Even with setbacks, let us keep justice rolling like a river over all in its path.

As we read article after article, hear report after report, scroll social media post after post, of Black Lives and Black Trans Lives being unjustly taken away; rampant violence against Asian Americans; atrocities on the poor and siblings with mental health disabilities through social and economic policies; perpetuated unfounded doubt on science; racial inequities in all aspects of our lives, let our lips constantly stream calls for righteousness.

As we sit and ponder how hopeless it all feels and what can we do, let us take stock and push ourselves out of our comfort zones, be willing to get on that raft, with the river–sometimes dangerous, sometimes rapid– but forever rolling in the right direction.

Let us be listening, waiting, ready, and willing when we hear our siblings ask for help.
Listen with attentiveness to what our siblings need.
Wait patiently if our siblings ask us to.
Ready ourselves by educating ourselves before helping.
Be willing at any given moment to interchangeably walk side by side, behind, or in front.

It is not hopeless; life is full of small victories that keep the river rolling.

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther Jr. “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Be not weary fellow social justice warriors, our work is bountiful but is not in vain.

Let all the people say,
Amen.

Montel CherryPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
MONTEL CHERRY (she/her/hers)
is a member of MCC New York.


We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other, until it becomes a habit – Audre Lorde

I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept – Angela Davis

We see things as they are: wildfires raging, heatwaves burning, injustices proliferating. Before the Crime Bill, there was, “The War on Drugs.” Before Katrina, there was the Exxon Valdez. Before George Floyd, there was Trayvon Martin. Before Me Too, there was Anita Hill. Before Breonna Taylor, there was Muhlaysia Booker, and Ashanti Carmon, and Claire Lagato, and Yahira Nesby, and Sasha Wall, and Gigi Pierce, and…
These things are not new to us.
We should not get used to them.
Instead, compassion is calling us to realize what ought to be.
It is with loving defiance that we demand climate justice, gender equity, queer and trans liberation, racial and economic justice, an end to “law and order,” and the carceral state. Because, “No one is free, until we all are free.”
We lift our voices now, singing songs of redemption, with a chorus of blessings on our tongues for each other, if for no other reason than for the sake of kindness.
Because, what if no one’s watching? What if there’s “no hell below us and above us only sky”?
It is here, in this place, at this moment, that we create the conditions for future moments.

May every breath we take awaken us to our connectedness to all things.
May we lean into the groans of our own hearts, and to the suffering of others, offering presence, gentleness, patience, and consolation.
May our hearts be a place of refuge.
May we have the audacity to tell the truth to ourselves and each other, challenging the assumptions and norms that foster systems of oppression and marginalization.
May we persevere, doing the work we have before us, with diligence.
May our anger and grief become fuel to sustain us throughout this work.
May we remember to share our joys and our successes, to break bread together, and to laugh.
May we normalize humanity, heeding the call of compassion for all beings everywhere.

delaine mccordPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
DELAINE MCCORD (she/her) 
is originally from Mississippi. and now lives in Maryland with her partner, Wil, and their 3 cats. Being the only black student in first grade, she was segregated from her white counterparts, with the other children who couldn’t be seen. That’s when she befriended children who had various physical and learning disabilities. Through this experience, she became aware of disparities in education, and it sparked her passion for social justice. During working hours, she’s a nurse specializing in addictions. While at home, she enjoys listening to music, cooking, and thinking about her next tattoo.


Bad news, bad news!
The world is bad news
You say
But it just so happens
I am not of this world
So….buzz off

I hear (of) calamities
Real and unreal
Bold and emboldened
But I am not of this world
So…yeah

Your news arrives like a bad smell
Today I might step right over it
Yesterday I cleaned
Tomorrow I might disinfect
But I am not of this world

However.
Ugh.
Here I am, of-ing this world.
However-ing.
Here I am.

How?
Ever?
And,
How (to) ever?

Merci for the red, yellow, gold, brown
Yes to the crisp air of September
Yes to the promise of an end
Yes to going to bed and
Yes (to) waking again.

I am not of this world,
How-ever.

John Fischer headshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
JOHN FISCHER (he/him)
is the former Director of Music for MCCNY. He lives in Manhattan with his partner and son, and continues to compose music, mostly now in secret.


Spirit of life,
Hold me now with strength as I pray;
Help me to be in my own body.
Hold us now with strength as we pray;
Help us to be in our communal body.
Spirit of life, breath into us and through us
Give us the courage to breath into the pain, the grief, the collective wounds of which we are a part.
Give us the courage to hold the truth that so many cannot breath right now.
Give us the courage to let your breath move in us and through us.
Hold us in our grief
Unsettle us when we need to be shaken.
Shelter us when we need to rest.
Give us the courage to keep breathing as we move back out into the world.
Spirit of life,
Hold us now with strength as we pray;
Hold me now with strength as I pray.

Rev. Dr. Kerr Mesner HeadshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
REV. DR. KERR MESNER (he/him) (https://kerrmesner.com/)
is a queer, transgender spiritual director, consultant, writer, and activist, living in Cayuga territory, (Ithaca, New York, USA). He finds great joy in spiritually companioning groups and individuals, working with Geez Magazine, and consulting with organizations about gender and sexual diversity, arts-based learning, and contemplative practices. In his spare time, he writes songs and plays in his garden.


Tamer of chaos, evoker of chaos,

We are confounded by cycles of order and dis-order
delivered by your hand.
The waters are separated
into masses for continents,
into passages for escaping.
The waters converge
to purge and destroy,
to heal and deliver.
One we experience as violence,
the other as survival.
Which is which,
we do not always know.
You are in both,
as we have experienced you in our image
and all we know of survival is violence.
Or so we have been told.

Call us to dream anew,
to tear down our structures that seek to overcome the chaos,
that weigh heavy on those that challenge our constructions of order.
Let us tear down the scaffolding
that we might not just recreate the old order.
Confuse our language
so that the only building we may achieve
will come with hand-over-hand learning-
in the clay for brick,
in the dirt for gardens,
in the mud for pies.

Do this until we realize
that the only things that are real
are the things we have built,
and the only reason they are real
is because we have built them.
Help us know that we can build better
(that some others have and do build better).
But first we must un-realize.
In this you have begun a good work in us
in regard to constructions of gender and sexuality.
Continue this good work-in us and through us.
Let us un-realize constructions of money,
worth,
authority,
individuality,
goodness,
security,
family, and, especially,
in our constructions of You.

Alex Compton HeadshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
ALEX COMPTON (he/him, they/them) 
is the former lay minister of MCC Binghamton. He lives in Endicott, NY, and is in discernment regarding his future while attending seminary at Lancaster Theological Seminary.


Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with the Creator’s label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.
(Colossians 1:9-11, The Message translation)

God, there is something in the air: it’s itchy, scratchy and it’s kind of like trying to fit into new clothes. God, whatever it is, help us to lean into the new, help us to fit into whatever this new thing is, whatever these new garments are that You have prepared for us. We’ve acquired all of these old clothes and now it’s cleaning time. So, Lord, help us to give over the old things and help us make room for Your new clothes. Whatever You are calling us to, we will not tiptoe around it, we will continue to seek You and trust You. Amen.

Brian Jones HeadshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
BRIAN JONES
Music & Worship Director at MCC Lehigh Valley (Bethlehem, PA, USA).
Jones received his initial training at New Beginnings Baptist Church in Allentown (PA, USA) where he started directing choirs at the age of ten.


Dear God who created Heaven and all that is our beautiful world,

Thank you for being in our lives and for the incredible gift of being able to know you personally and to come to you in prayer.

Thank you for continuing to forgive our sins as we continue to commit them.

Thank you that each new day allows us a new opportunity to embrace and appreciate the beauty of your world – and to touch the lives of others.

In the midst of our wavering physical, mental and spiritual health, thank you for healing us.

In the midst of our despair, thank you for giving us hope.

In the midst of our weakness, thank you for always giving us the strength we need.

In the midst of anxiety, uncertainty and confusion, thank you for sending us peace, comfort and discernment.

Help us to tune out the ‘noise’ of this world and sit in silence so we can hear your voice.

Hear our prayers gracious God. In Jesus’ name we pray…Amen

Shirley Swett HeadshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
SHIRLEY SWETT
Member of MCC Lehigh Valley (Bethlehem, PA, USA) and richly blessed to share her life with Babs Dutton for 48+ years


For These I Pray
God, how can my prayer start without giving praise, For your mercy, and blessings, through all of my days?
I praise you, my Lord, as my soul strives to say: For these I pray:

For neighbors, for strangers, the sick, and my spouse, For children, and grievers, and those who have no house. For churches? More faith, Less fear, less hate!
These prayers to You, God, I elevate.

Please raise up my siblings Christ, whom thru You we find,
We’re joined in God’s Spirit, through the blest “tie that binds”. May all receive Your love God, that is my prayer,
For any who resist You, every place, anywhere!

Created in Your image, each of us has a role.
May we strive Lord, to reach out, and touch another’s soul. May we try to serve others, put their needs and hopes first. May all dry souls come seek You, find a quench for their thirst.

Give to all God, Your comfort, bless each one at the start.
As we pray for our siblings? Bring them peace, touch each heart. How we need You, Lord Jesus! Shape our minds and attitude, Fill our hearts with Your acceptance, may we feel true gratitude!

Round the world there are believers whose lives differ much from mine. May these siblings feel Your strength God, may they know you are Divine! God, I pray for all whose minds are tight, who need to see your love IS light.

For these I pray:
For liars, and mockers, those who issue cruel slurs,
That cause pain, shock and sadness, and dignity to blur. Help us change their darkness into Your light,
Banish evil, change for good, strive to do what is right.

Show us how, dear God, how to make hate diminish Raise the poor and the lonely, as your mission we finish. Thy will be done Lord, may we each do our part
To restore, and embrace, with a strong Christian heart.

I pray for PEACE, Lord And for SAFETY,
I ask for guidance every day, For all around the world, Those known, and unknown, I PRAISE you God,
For these I pray.

Babs DuttonPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
BABS DUTTON
Member of MCC Lehigh Valley (Bethlehem, PA, USA), Retired Elementary School Teacher, Spouse to Shirley, Birdwatcher, Christian


Dear Lord,

These days we are living now, as you know, are troublesome to say the least.
Every day we wake up to an abundance of negative news that can make us feel overwhelmed.
So much is surrounding us that we can easily feel lost. At times we may even feel completely alone.
Lord, remind us that we are never alone. You are always there.
Right beside us.
At times you are carrying us when we cannot stand. We are never without you.
Lord, remind us that when we feel lost, that you are seeking us. No matter what we have done or failed to do, you are there.
You will never abandon us. We are never forgotten.
Instead, you celebrate when we recognize that you had been looking for us the entire time.
Lord, remind us of your grace.

The gift of grace you give to us.
Even when we feel like we are undeserving of it. Your grace is infinite.
Lord, remind us that we are all your people. We are your creations.
Formed by your hand.
Dear Lord, remind us every day, every minute of every hour that we are loved.
There is no other love stronger than the love you have for us, your people. Amen

Lisa "Bam" NoriegaPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
LISA “BAM” NORIEGA (They/Them)
Bam is a Member of MCC Lehigh Valley (Bethlehem, PA, USA) and currently is serving as Ministry Coordinator for Outreach and Justice. Bam is also a student at Moravian Seminary studying in the Crossroads program. All year long, not just baseball season, Bam is rooting for the Los Angeles Dodgers, their hometown team, all the way from New Jersey.


It’s a scary thing, God, to put a prayer down on paper…to offer up a permanent petition, proof of my tiny faith.

I prayed for the children, starving in Africa and in my backyard. But now I remember that I forgot to pray for their parents, hungry also, and suffering the double agony of feeling helpless to take care of their children.

Then the drought. I prayed for rain, and before I could celebrate the downpour that came when I pronounced “amen,” my phone shrieked out warnings, creeks swelled, and farmers stared as seeds washed away.

I prayed for black lives today, God, as earnestly as I could. But my friends in brown skin I relegated to more of a P.S. And persistence, God!

How do I know if I’m the widow, pressing on, or whether I’m the stiff-necked people Moses apologized for?
I always seem to be praying for yesterday, for what has already happened rather than for tomorrow and my part in creating it.

Then there’s today, God, which I often have only one foot and half a mind in. I need help, God. Something clear, please.

“When you pray, say, ‘Our Creator….’”

Oh. Yes. That will do.

Amen.

Rev. Karen ThompsonPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
REV. KAREN THOMPSON 
has served as Sr. Pastor of upRising – a church without walls in Austin, Texas, USA, since 2008.


Gracious God, you are the creator of the world and everything. Your love for us has not wavered through changes in time, political powers, prosperity and decline in the economy, and struggles and recovery through a pandemic.

Heavenly Creator, help us remember your omnipresence; we are assured of the comfort and hope from You. Jesus said, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Emmanuel, You are all around us at all times – ready to lift us up in our weakest moments, calling us forward when we are uncertain of the way.

Loving Shepherd, we praise You and thank You for the wisdom and courage from You. Hebrews 13:5 echoes Jesus’ promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” This promise means we do not have to fear as we strive for healing and recovery, or as we support the efforts for justice at home and abroad. May we never stray from the moral consciousness You planted in our hearts on behalf of those who need support and to always remember to nourish the roots we need to sustain that consciousness.

Thank you, loving God.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Huey Lee HeadshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
HUEY LEE
is the MCC Texas and New Mexico Network Leader and a member of the Governance Committee. Huey has been involved with MCC Lubbock in Texas, USA since 1994 and currently serves as their Lay Delegate and Strategic Planning Coordinator. Presently, Huey also leads the pandemic economic recovery efforts in the 95-county West Texas region under United States government funding.


Creator, God of Love and hope may we your people always have hearts full of thanks. Thanks for all the blessings in our lives; the blessings of family, friends, our MCC community, the very air we breathe, and for life itself. May we forever be mindful of your unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Lord let us love just as you do, being people of patience, kindness, humility, justice, and truth.

In a world where there is often division, unkindness and strife help us to remember that You are still moving in and through us, Your people, and that Your love never changes.

May we be vigilant and prayerful, always holding on to the hope we have in You. Hope of a future filled with kindness, peace, and justice for all of Your children regardless of the color of our skin, the depths of our pockets, who we love, or where we were born. May we never forget that Your Spirit lives within us. Give us the courage and strength to stand up for all that is right and just.

We ask all of this in your many wonderful and beautiful names. Amen.

Al ReidPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
AL REID (he/his/him)
Serves as a Deacon, a worship leader, and a Co-Leader of the Worship Team.
upRising – a church without walls.
Austin, Texas, USA


Heavenly Parent, Creator of the Universe, Giver of Life & Purpose,

I meditate on your goodness for all humankind even when we neglect to give you praise. You see each and everyone of us where we are. You know us as dearly loved children. I’m reminded of Hagar in Genesis 16:13 when she called you El Roi, “The God who sees” or the numerous epitaphs of unknown dead soldiers that says, “Known unto God”. You know us. You know us better than anyone or even we know ourselves. Even the unnamed have a secure place in your heart and you love no less. You captivate our hearts, you direct our steps, strengthen our legs in the midst of adversity, cover us during a pandemic, heal our wounds from every vicious word hurled towards us, provide a way to keep going when we are tired, weak, or just flat out done with life’s hardships.

After living through this last year, I am convinced more than ever that we are not here void of purpose. I pray that the obligations of this life do not distract us from loving our neighbors and telling them of love for them. Your presence is real, your grace is generous & your love is plentiful. I ask that we see the world with your eyes and possess these qualities in abundance. Whenever we encounter strangers we meet on the elevator, at the coffee shop, in a zoom call, no matter if they’re experiencing tragedy or triumph, we must make them aware they are known to God. That there’s a blessing in being seen by the Almighty.

In the quality of El Roi I pray, Amen

Soleil McCantsPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
SOLÉIL MCCANTS (she/her)
is a member at Love MCC in Las Vegas, Nevada. She currently serves as a Board member for the church and is a current L.E.A.D 12 cohort. She’s a member of two other Boards in Las Vegas that aim to improve the lives of LGBTQIA+ individuals and families. 


Psalm 40
I waited a long time for the Eternal;
  The Eternal finally knelt down to hear me.
  The Eternal listened to my weak and whispered cry.
2. The Eternal reached down and drew me
  from the deep, dark hole where I was stranded, mired in the muck and clay.
  With a gentle hand, The Eternal pulled me out
To set me down safely on a warm rock;
  The Eternal held me until I was steady enough to continue the journey again.

All around the world we witness multiple layers of grief and pain. People are suffering one loss after another, largely due to the pandemic, and also because of systemic oppression and unrelenting power structures that have plagued nations for centuries. Some people cry out every day for relief of their pain and for hope in humanity to be restored. During times of deep distress and isolation, we turn to Psalm 40 to remind us that the Eternal One hears our cries. We are not alone in our grief. We are not alone in our desire to break free from the burdens of injustice. The divine love is always with us. As we wait patiently for our sadness to turn to gladness, let us remember that our light shines through acts of courageous love and the willingness to stand steadfast together in our commitment to justice.

Eternal One, we call upon your divine love to hear our prayers. Remember us by our name. Place our feet upon your rock so that we stand firm in our trust in you. Heal the hurt and grief we witness around the world. Help those who sit in isolation find a loving and caring community. Renew our faith in courageous acts of love for our siblings around the world.

REV. ELLEN DENISE JUNIOUSPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:

REV. ELLEN DENISE JUNIOUS (she/her)
is the interim Pastoral Care Coordinator at Resurrection MCC. She is author of Unleash the Power of Personal Advantage. Rev Denise served as guest preacher at MCC churches in Colorado, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Texas. She was a member of the MCC People of African Descent Advisory Council from 2008 -2018, and is a Senior Fellow in the American Leadership Forum.


Creator of all things,
We come to You with praise and thanksgiving for Your Presence in and through us. In dark times when we weep at what we witness, turn our tears to rainbows so we may see from Your Perspective and not our perception. We only see dimly and Your Ways are beyond our understanding. Yet, despite and because of our humanness You love us, for You are Love. So, we hold fast to Your Command to love one another. May we live from Your Love which is woven into the very fiber of our beings and share it with all whose lives we touch.

It is in Your many Names we pray…

Amen

LillyPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
LILLY
Preferred gender: she/her
Title: MCC Ally (1995-present)
Resurrection MCC, Houston, Texas, USA


I have always loved the “communion” prayer of high churches where we pray for the global church including local and global members and leaders. It assures me that I’m part of the bigger body scattered around the world. Though separate, I hope they are also praying for me. As a fellowship, how often do we pray for our siblings and leaders in other countries and continents, if at all?

“Mapagmahal na Bathala-Ikapati ipinagdarasal namin ang Metropolitan Community Churches na nakakalat sa sansinukob. Pagpalain mo ang lahat ng aming simbahang local kasama ng kanilang mga pastor at lay leaders saan man sila naroroon. Ipinagdarasal namin ang aming moderator na si Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston kasama ang Council of Elders, ang Governing Board at ang denominational staff. Pagpalain, gabayan at ingatan ang lahat ng aming mga members, leaders, mga taga-suporta at mga kaibigan. Sa kabila ng aming pagkakaiba at pagkakalayo, at sa kabila ng mga suliranin at hindi pagkakaintindihan, palagi mo kaming pagkaisahin sa kapuspusan ng iyong pag-ibig. Magkakaugnay at kaisa ng lahat ng mga Santo, eto ang aming dalangin sa pangalan ng lahat ng banal at mapagmahal at kay Hesu Kristo, na sa kanyang pangalan kami ay hinabi. Amen.”

English Translation:
Loving Bathala-Ikapati (God), we pray for the Metropolitan Community Churches scattered all around the world. Bless all our local churches together with their pastors and lay leaders, wherever they are. We pray for our moderator, Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston together with the Council of Elders, the Governing Board and the denominational staff. Bless, guide and protect all our members, leaders, supporters and friends. Despite our differences and the distance; Despite struggles and conflicts, unite us always in the fullness of your love. One with each other and one with all the saints, this is our prayer in the name of all that is holy and loving and in Jesus Christ in whose name we have been weaved together. Amen.

Rev. Joseph San JosePRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
REV. JOSEPH SAN JOSE
is the current Pastor of Open Table MCC in Mandaluyong City, Philippines. He was privileged to have been part of various projects and programs of the Council for World Missions (CWM), one in particular a collaboration on the creation of a book on liturgy titled: “From The Ends of the World: Prayers in Defiance of Empire”. He was also privileged to be part of the Community Solutions Program (CSP) of the US State Department which included a CSP internship with Resurrection MCC for 4 months back in 2019. He currently lives in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines, with his partner of 6 years, Lawrence and their dog, Duke.


Gracious God, we thank you for Your love and grace, and the opportunity to serve you. We thank You for the many blessings You bestowed upon us and we ask that you continue to bless us and grant us Your favor. Lord may your Spirit give strength to all your people as they work and witness in your world. Unite us in your truth and love and help us to show your love to others.

Gracious God, comfort all who sorrow, provide strength of all who suffer, and hear the cry of those in misery and need. In their afflictions show them your mercy, and give us, we pray, the strength to serve them, for the sake of Jesus Christ who suffered for us.

Loving God, you have made all nations to be one family, and you sent Jesus Christ to proclaim the good news of salvation to all people. Pour out your Spirit on the whole creation and hasten the coming of your reign of justice and love among the nations of the world. Guide with your wisdom those who govern the nations of the earth, that justice and peace may increase, until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love. That we, globally, having experienced the terror and fear of this past week/year, may find unity of purpose not in revenge but in rebuilding our hope and healing the pain of the common tragedy which unites us. That those who have died may find peace and joy among the communion of saints.

Heavenly Creator, we pray for our families and friends. May we be able to help each other just as you love and help us. We pray for those in need, for sick people, for those in hospital, and for those with other problems.

In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen

Dr Renee AdamsPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
DR. RENEE ADAMS
Co-Chair Pastoral Care Ministry
Resurrection MCC
Houston, Texas, USA


A pandemic changed the world. It raged across the world threatening to consume us all regardless of race, age, gender, sexuality, religion or political affiliation. We have learned to live in different ways, work in different ways and love in different ways. We have learned to pray and worship God differently.

Paradoxically, a pandemic that kills, maims and incapacitates is leading us to a new world. Perhaps the biggest lesson lies in the nature of the pandemic – and the contagion that drives it. We must recognize that Love is also contagious and is a more powerful pandemic force than COVID. As we socially distance from COVID, may we socially connect in love. As we protect our physical bodies from the COVID pandemic – may we open up our hearts to the pandemic of love.

May the force of good rage across the world with more power and potency than forces of evil. As those who have suffered loss from the pandemic grieve, may we lean into a pandemic of love and continue to cover them in the Grace of God. May we learn that even in our darkest moments, there are lessons to be learned that bring us closer to God.

MOJI & MARGARET SOLAR-WILSONPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
MOJI & MARGARET SOLAR-WILSON
(pronouns she/her)
Co-founders Solar-Wilson Village, Ledbetter, TX, USA


Prayer inspired by Psalm 16

Around the world we are finding creative and safe ways to gather,
together we crave something Holy, something Sacred, something Good – You.
As we listen out for one another, we cannot help but smile,
it is so good to be together.
We acknowledge that we are the lucky ones,
we are part of a loving community.
Yet, we still come to You, wondering what tomorrow will bring,
longing to trust you fully, believing in a brighter future.

Many of us are having dreams,
some of us can’t sleep for dreaming,
others slip into daydreams and struggle to focus,
we imagine what the world could be like when we fully emerge.
Could it be a world in which everyone is loved, feels safe, is healthy and where peace rules?
Loving God, reach into our dreaming and teach us how to make these dreams a reality.

On our good days, we can feel Your presence,
it’s wonderful!
Sometimes we dance around the lounge and sing out loud!
On our bad days, we can feel Your presence,
sometimes we cry, but we know You get it,
all our feelings are completely safe with You.
You see it all and yet You stick with us.
We are on this journey together.
Because of You, we are not alone.

So Be It

REV. EMILY WORMANPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
REV. EMILY WORMAN
or “Rev Em” is the pastor of Church in Progress MCC, Auckland, New Zealand, a science educator, and MCC network leader for Aotearoa/New Zealand and Australia.


Traditional Karakia / Prayer

Tukua te wairua kia rere ki ngā taumata
Hai ārahi i ā tātou mahi
Me tā tātou whai i ngā tikanga a rātou mā
Kia mau kia ita
Kia kore ai e ngaro
Kia pupuri
Kia whakamaua
Kia tina! TINA! Hui e! TĀIKI E!

English Translation

Allow one’s spirit to exercise its potential
To guide us in our work as well as in our pursuit of our ancestral traditions
Take hold and preserve it
Ensure it is never lost
Hold fast.
Secure it.
Draw together! Affirm!

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
NEIL HELLEWELL
MCC Community Co-ordinator, Oasis Lite, Otautahi/Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand. Neil has been involved with MCC since 1995 and currently co-ordinates the local MCC Community (previously known as an Oasis group) on a volunteer basis. Neil is also a Nurse Educator for the Canterbury District Health Board and he, his partner Tony and their fur baby Juno live in Christchurch, which is in the South Island.


Based on John 5:1-16

God who defies our expectations,

You told the man lying on a mat by the pool of Bethesda to get up, take his mat and walk. The religious and the righteous complained that the Sabbath forbade him from carrying his mat and they didn’t see the miracle of healing that happened before their eyes. Holy God who challenges us, this miracle of Jesus shows us the miracle of Jesus upsets the powerful and gives power to those trapped in systems not rooted in your loving liberation. May we too realise our own complicity when we see Your liberating Holy Spirit move through this world and yet we respond with shackling those who You set free, with our own insecurity. Let us be comfortable with a Gospel of Jesus that throws away the comfort of the mat and that does the work of justice and healing when the religion of control says we should not. When the religion of the mat dismisses the cry for justice and empowerment for women. When it is deaf to the black and brown children of God who suffer under systems that crush them. When our trans siblings in Christ want to get off their mats and walk in the freedom of their gender identity only to have laws made against their very personhood. When we try to make peace and give life to Your creation but instead perpetuate environmental degradation that hurts the poorest and the most disadvantaged among us.

We give thanks that You give us new mercy every morning to get up and walk away from our mats. Loving God, it’s in Your nature to pull humankind forward to a more loving way each day.

For that we give thanks and may our gratitude lead to constant renewal of the fires which inspire us and which lead Jesus to heal the sick and speak truth to the religion of Empire.

May Jesus be real in our lives today and shake us out of the complacency of the mat which we make comfortable beds in.

And when we leave the comfort of the mat, may we show others the way to the Christ who set us free and who sets us free day after day.

In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
REV. ALEX PITTAWAY
is the pastor of MCC Brisbane.


Heavenly God, as you open our minds;
May the Spirit move amongst us to give us more signs;
As the baptismal waters surround us all,
Let no-one, even Gentiles, be separate from Your call.

Those of us who love Jesus the Christ;
And those who know only the God of all might;
In knowing just one we may know the other,
It’s much like experiencing the love of a newborn’s mother.

The Spirit who comes to drive our cause;
The cause of Jesus who’s above all our laws;
Who sprung so humanly from water and blood,
Who spurs on our passion that comes from God’s love.

So through the Spirit and because of God’s love;
Jesus gives us a path to abide in that love;
The love that God gives is here just for you,
If you follow God’s ways, each moment feels new.

Not tainted by fear, nor threats nor pain,
Just constant reminders to help those without gain,
To love as you’re loved, to give as God does,
To move from servants to friends without a fuss.

My God, you picked them and you picked me too;
And for that I promise to always be true,
To gather and search and do my best,
To love your children with the Spirit’s zest.

Sarah De Rooy Headshot PRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
SARAH DE ROOY
is a member and active volunteer at MCC Sydney, a mum, and a worship guitarist.


It has been almost a month of Sundays since we celebrated Easter. Thank God for a Season of Easter, during which we can keep our focus on the life-giving power of The Resurrection. Indeed, we are called to live out the meaning of our Resurrection-Life on a daily basis, by the ways in which we influence the individuals, institutions, and situations we face. All of us have the opportunity to be agents of change for the good of those around us in our family, on our job, within our church community, and therefore in our world. What we need is courage to act even in the smallest ways. Everytime we speak truth to those in places of power, we chip away at the structures which continue to cause hunger, suffering and death in our communities. Everytime we reach out to one person in need, to share the resources we possess, we improve that situation by breaking the chain of isolation and oppression. Everytime we join with others to fight against policies which are harmful to the least of our sisters and brothers, we bend the arch of the universe a little closer to true justice and equality. So this is my prayer for us all:

Loving Creator, Beautiful Savior, Sweet Holy Spirit —
Because you have already conquered evil, fear and death —
Empower each of us who love and follow you to do the same —
As you fill us with your Love, Mercy, and Grace, help us to be merciful and compassionate
As you fill us with your mighty power to save, help us to speak and act with holy boldness
As you daily renew the Spirit of Chirist within us, help us to humbly yet bravely fight for Justice, Equality, and Peace.
In all your holy and righteous names, hear our prayers,
O God…Amen…Ashé…And May It Be So!

Rev. Carolyn J. Mobley-BowiePRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
REV. ELDER CAROLYN J. MOBLEY-BOWIE
(she, her, hers)
Rev. Carolyn was recently appointed to the MCC Council of Elders (2021-2023)
She has served as an Associate Pastor and as Interim Pastor in larger and smaller churches in the USA. She has been active as professional clergy in MCC since the 1990’s, serving in a variety of capacities. During a three-month Sabbatical in 2005, she visited MCC congregations in Mexico and South Africa.


Jesus had the audacity to tell his followers to “not worry.” Jesus said: “do not worry about your life” (Luke 12:22). How could Jesus be so cavalier and tell people to chill out, doesn’t he know that life is stressful and that many people are dealing with a multitude of difficulties, challenges and unknowns? But Jesus is not judging emotions! He acknowledges that they exist and he points people toward something more productive. We are to not worry and, “instead, strive for God’s kin-dom, and these things will be given to you as well” (Luke 12:31)

From that centered, God-first orientation, we find ourselves in a place of abundance. The more we put our attention on God, the more we receive from God: things like peace, grace, strength, goodness, hope, mercy, confidence, assurance, guidance, wisdom, revelation and an inexhaustible supply of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray …
Thank you, O God, that you are an ever-present help in times of trouble. We do not want the distractions of this world to be a barrier to being transformed by Your love. We do not want our worries to get in the way of Your call to advocate for justice. Remind us that Your perfect love casts out fear. Remove from us any fretting so that we may serve You fully and boldly today. Amen.

Goudy PRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
REV. ELDER GOUDY
Since 1999, Goudy has served as pastor at MCC of the Lehigh Valley in Bethlehem, PA, USA. Goudy’s greatest honors include journeying with God’s people in worship, justice advocacy, Bible Study, centering prayer, fellowship and outreach. Goudy is married to Carol Stevens, RN, FCN and they enjoy cooking, movies and being spiritual nerds.


The poet Tracy Dant* writes of being in family with a second name for home, to put your feet up and cook chitlins in, to be loved in.

In Love’s family, everyone’s name is “Beloved.” This makes it very hard around Love’s house to tell us apart. “Beloved! Pick up your room!” “Beloved, quit fidgeting. Eat your vegetables.” Which us is meant? It is easiest to just assume that loving voice is calling to us all. “Beloved, be kind to strangers.” “Beloved, love your neighbor as you love yourself.” “Beloved, don’t be afraid, I’m here.”

In Love’s family we all have a shared second name. There’s nothing you can do to lose it, even if you’re fidgeting. Even if you aren’t kind to strangers. (Although being in Love’s family tends to make us kind to strangers. You’re at the movies? You’re probably eating popcorn. That’s how it works.) Let us pray:

Dear one, you are twice-named, or more. Along with your name for the world, you have the name Love has given you, whether you know it yet or not. Whether you answer to it yet or not. You are Beloved. This name is already yours, and it is also your name to grow into, to become. When you wake up today, you are Beloved. When you are waiting in a long line at the grocery store, you are Beloved. When things don’t go your way, you are Beloved. When you notice that someone is hurting, you are Beloved. I pray for you to live in this love, dear one. Eat your vegetables, Beloved; don’t be afraid. Amen.

*CLICK HERE to read “A Twice-Named Family” By Tracy Dant

Rev. Miller HoffmanPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
REV. ELDER MILLER HOFFMAN
has pastored MCC churches in New York and Maryland. He is currently a student chaplain at Penn State Milton Hershey Medical Center and working with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape to support sexual assult counselor-advocates and the survivors they serve. Every day Rev. Miller’s cat tests the truth of their unconditional love by being sometimes sweet and sometimes a beast.


After Easter Sunday

He is risen!
Yes, risen!
How long should we celebrate?
One day, two days, three days?
Maybe more?
Our world has changed,
It will never be the same again.
He has risen and we are about to meet him again.
Maybe it will be just like the first time?
Or will we need proof like Thomas?
Some of us just need to be sure,
To be definite.
Some of us just know it in our bones,
Without asking any questions.
The risen one answers those who question,
Truth searching is always welcome.
Jesus is in our midst,
We celebrate that Jesus is in our midst.

We come to you in prayer, Jesus.
Let each of us be open to your presence.
We desire to feel you in our midst.

We come to you with questions,
Why? How? When? Where? Who?
Thank you that you answer when we ask.

We come to you with thanksgiving and praise.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
Thank you that you celebrate with us.

You hear our thoughts and the beating of our hearts.
With or without questions you are in our midst.
In celebrating the risen you we flourish and grow.

This day and in the days ahead we celebrate the risen you.
Alleluia!
Amen.

Rev. Maxwell ReayPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
REV ELDER MAXWELL REAY
Maxwell is a Healthcare Chaplain for the Scottish National Health Service in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Maxwell co-ordinates “Our Tribe” which is the LGBTQI+ ministry at Augustine United Church, Edinburgh. This joint ministry with The United Reformed Church and MCC was established in 2010.
Maxwell is a gender queer trans man who shares his life with his husband Lewis, an extended family of choice and their dog Ruby.


Easter Sunday Reflection
“Christ is Risen.”
“Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!!”

When was the last time you heard good news? News that changed how you felt deep in your spirit, brought a grin to your face, joy to your heart, a fist pumping the air or a skip in your step? This must have been the overwhelming and ecstatic feeling the disciples had once they realised that Jesus was indeed risen from the dead. What Jesus had told them would happen had now come true.

Many of us have now been in Covid lockdown or living under restrictions for over a year now. It has been a long and challenging time. The world we knew came shuddering to a halt. Many of us are exhausted, grieving, missing our friends, families, church communities. We didn’t anticipate this lasting so long. We are in need of good news.

Holy Week takes us on the long journey from the jubilation of Palm Sunday, through anguish of Good Friday and onto the power and joy of the Resurrection. It can be hard to grasp the joy of the resurrection, the triumph of life over death, the power of divine love conquering all, when we feel we are still in Good Friday or languishing in Holy Saturday. Each of us will come to a place of good news, a place of resurrection when we are ready. It won’t be just because it is a certain date in the church calendar. It will be when we can see a glimmer of hope, when our burden is lifted, when our spirit begins to soar. We know from our own faith experience and the story of Christ rising from the dead that such a day will come. We will each have our resurrection moment. That is the promise of Jesus for each of us. Christ is risen. Alleluia.

Christ, we greet you on this Easter morning.
We are lifted in joy, in the hope of new possibilities.
We leave our burdens, discarded with the grave cloths, in the empty tomb
And turn to follow you again.

Amen.

Rev. Elder Cecilia EgglestonSUBMITTED BY
REV. ELDER CECILIA EGGLESTON
Moderator of MCC
MCC Council of Elders


Holy Saturday

I will never forget attending my first Holy Saturday service as a child. Taking a seat in the sanctuary with my parents and siblings felt different compared to all of the other Masses, which I later realized was due to an awareness of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

I was captivated by the voice of the lay reader tasked with reading many of the Hebrew Bible selections that night (for the Easter Vigil Mass, there are nine scripture readings followed by pieces of the Psalms). The lay reader wore thick black-rimmed glasses, spoke in a stirring baritone and certainly “the spirit of the Lord God” was upon him.

On special holy days or during regular Sunday worship, the hope is that there is not merely a lay reader and a Biblical text. The prayer is that there is a reader and a text accompanied by the Holy Spirit.

On Holy Saturday we rely on the companionship of the Spirit as we await once again the breakthrough of God’s kin-dom come. It is a “liminal” space – an in-between time. On Holy Saturday we live in-between the pain of the crucifixion observed on Good Friday and the joy of the resurrection of Easter Sunday. We are used to this “in-between” place, holding the sacred space between destruction and renewal, suffering and celebration, entombment and liberation.

Will you pray with me?

Come, Holy Spirit, come.
Remind us that in-between time is holy time, set apart for You.
As we hold this in-between space for ourselves and others,
You are strengthening us, blessing us and redeeming us.
Renew in each of our lives a sense of anticipation for Your immeasurable gifts.
Renew in each of our MCC churches a sense of assurance for Your transformation.
Amen.

—–

For those who are interested in reviewing scripture during this liminal time, the 9 Easter Vigil Readings and Psalms for 2021 are listed below:
Genesis 1:1-2:2 (the story of Creation) and Psalm 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24, 35
Genesis 22:1-18 (Abraham & Isaac) and Psalm 16:5, 8-11
Exodus 14:15-15:1(the Liberation) and Exodus 15:1-6, 17-18
Isaiah 54:5-14 (Redeemer God) and Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13
Isaiah 55:1-11 (the power of God’s Word) and Isaiah 12:2-6
Baruch 3:9-15, 32C4:4 (the importance of Wisdom) and Psalm 19:8-11
Ezekiel 36:16-28 (the restored heart) and Psalms 51:12-15, 18-19
Romans 6:3-11 (alive to God) and Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
Mark 16:1-7 (the resurrection)

GoudySUBMITTED BY
REV ELDER GOUDY
Since 1999, Goudy has served as pastor at MCC of the Lehigh Valley in Bethlehem, PA, USA. Goudy’s greatest honors include journeying with God’s people in worship, justice advocacy, Bible Study, centering prayer, fellowship and outreach. Goudy is married to Carol Stevens, RN, FCN and they enjoy cooking, movies and being spiritual nerds.


Good Friday Prayer

God, look with mercy on this world.

With Jesus we have said, “O God, my God! Why would you ever leave us?”
This year has seen a global pandemic,
violence against black lives,
violence against women’s bodies,
violence against your creation.
Wildfires, floods, disasters, extinctions ever on the rise.

And in Your silence, in Your distance, in Your absence,
We hold the death of Jesus close to our hearts.
Because he cried out with us, “O God, my God! Why would you ever leave us?”

He was God in the suffering, crying out to God from the suffering.

As it says in the Psalm of lament which He prayed from the cross, You remain holy, You are still our praise, You are the trust of our ancestors who cried out to you, and were saved.

Often it is by faith, and not by sight, that we hope in those truths

O God, look with mercy on this world which Jesus chose to suffer for. Which Jesus chose to suffer with.

Amen.

Rev. Karl HandSUBMITTED BY
REV ELDER KARL HAND
is the pastor of Crave Church in Sydney, Australia.


Maundy Thursday

Light a candle. This is the night.
You ate again with those you would have avoided and only know because Jesus invited you on this journey together. You’re nervous in this city that tried to stone him. You eat and he asks you to remember him each time you gather and eat together.
Then like the woman who anointed his feet, he did what she did. Love leaned down before you and washed from your feet the dust of the day, dried your feet, and cautioned that if you can’t receive, you will miss Love altogether. Peter resists, then receives.
Then to be sure you got it, Jesus calls it a commandment: You do the same; love as I have loved you. You watch him take the three and go to pray. You only wake as Judas returns, kisses Jesus, and the soldiers bind Jesus and take him away. You’re lost. You can hardly breathe.
This is the night. The night in which the one through whom you most felt God’s presence, the one through whom you most felt God’s love, the one through whom you most felt God’s blessing is taken away. Gone.
Snuff the candle.
Remember. Receive. Breathe. Wait.

Rev. TroyTreashSUBMITTED BY
REV. ELDER TROY TREASH
Senior Pastor, Resurrection MCC in Houston, TX USA.
Troy still shakes his head as he remembers the Maundy Thursday he sat on his own bare feet unwilling to receive.


Because all life is precious; because love is good; because surely the presence of goodness is in this place, we ask a blessing for the people. May our bodies be well, may our spirits be wide, may our words be clear and confident. Bless us as we withstand obstacles with and for one another across our many differences.

Bless the people who gather, divine breath. Bless our families, whether we have one partner, or many. Bless us who are searching for a significant other or others, bless our search, and bless us who are single and content. Bless our children, and bless our childless homes and families. Bless the creatures who are a part of our lives and spirits, who share our home, and who have a share of our love.

Fill the gaps between us, breath of heaven, and hold us together in this blessing. Bless our sacred objects. May they be illustrations of the divine that resides in us and reminders of our abundance in community.

Give us assurance as we turn our faces toward injustice and do not look away. Walk with us who lay down our cloaks and palms upon the level path. Bless our humble mounts and our stubborn passion. Hear our crying out — in praise, in pain — and please do not forsake us as we risk, and lose, and become last of all and servant of all.

Continue to protect and sustain us with this love and blessing, now and always. Amen.

Rev. Miller HoffmanSUBMITTED BY
REV. ELDER MILLER HOFFMAN
has pastored MCC churches in New York and Maryland. He is currently a student chaplain at Penn State Milton Hershey Medical Center and working with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape to support sexual assult counselor-advocates and the survivors they serve. Once a week on Thursday, he practices tai chi online with his Brooklyn dojo, which makes his heart grow three sizes.


God, the glory of Your name draws us together as Your people. It beckons us from the very ends of the earth, to come back to You. Yes, when we are drawn back to you, that is when we find ourselves.

So now we centre our lives on the One we would follow. Let every distraction fade from our minds, until only You remain.

And we find ourselves in You, being built up from broken little stones into a glorious temple, a community where God dwells.

We find ourselves in You, being planted as little seedlings, who will become a mighty forest of justice.

We find ourselves in You, with all our sweat and tears, and sometimes even our blood, gathered up into a vast ocean of praise.

We find ourselves in You, like a grain of wheat that dies and is reborn as bread, to nourish many who are hungry.

As we come back now to the heart of it all, to your heart for us, to Your will and Your way. Give us the gift of turning to You with all our hearts, confident that Your eyes are watching over us for our Good.

Amen.

Rev. Karl HandSUBMITTED BY
REV ELDER KARL HAND
is the pastor of Crave Church in Sydney, Australia.


Return to Me

The journey of life can take many twists and turns. Unexpected events can lead us to places we would never have imagined we would go. Sometimes good places and sometimes not so good places.

Over the years I have come to realise that all of the places we “go” have much to teach us.

We have however to be open to this learning. We may need extra support in our lives to embrace this challenge. It is hard to face your fears. It is not always possible to do this on your own. Intentionally returning to God, renewing your connection with the Divine in whatever way makes sense to you will allow you to make this journey.

When we understand ourselves better, we are able to deepen our relationships with those around us and with the Holy One.

Creator God
We come to you in prayer, offering all of who we are this day.
Guide us as we travel to the places you would have us go.
Strengthen us as we look upon our lives with a sense of curiosity.
Comfort us as we look at what has caused us pain.
Smile with us as we appreciate all that has given us joy.
Hold us as we become more open to what we can learn.
Embrace us as we absorb the healing that you offer.

Bless us as we begin to return to you, resourced for the future.

All knowing One, you are the light that illuminates our way. Let our brightness shine as we go to new places of possibility. Let us know your liberating love and gift of freedom given to us through Jesus Christ.
Amen.

Rev. Maxwell ReaySUBMITTED BY
REV ELDER MAXWELL REAY
Maxwell is a Healthcare Chaplain for the Scottish National Health Service in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Maxwell co-ordinates “Our Tribe” which is the LGBTQI+ ministry at Augustine United Church, Edinburgh. This joint ministry with The United Reformed Church and MCC was established in 2010.
Maxwell is a gender queer trans man who shares his life with his husband Lewis, an extended family of choice and their dog Ruby.


Return to Me…Why does Jesus have to keep calling us back? Do we have that short of an attention span? Are we so busy that we forget to focus on God? For me personally during this time of isolation, I remind myself during my early morning walks…here and now, here walking the dog, now enjoying the coolness of the morning, here walking the dog, now being grateful for a new day, here walking the dog, now giving thanks to God for my health, here walking the dog, now returning to the sacred source that runs through us all. The list continues and changes on a daily basis, but the one constant whether we remember or not, Jesus is always beckoning us to return to him.

Gracious and loving God,
We pray that you continue to walk with us, guiding our path whether we are present or not. Heal us as we need healing, comfort us as we need comforting, give us strength as we need strength and grant us peace. We give you thanks and praise for the abundance in our lives. In Jesus, the Christ of God, we pray. Amen!

Velma GarciaSUBMITTED BY
ELDER VELMA GARCIA,
is a long time member of UpRising A Church Without Walls. Velma currently lives in Manor, TX USA. Velma is a Laity Empowered for Active Discipleship (L.E.A.D.) faculty member. Velma loves bike riding, canoeing, and has a passion for prayer and spreading the “Good News” of God’s all-inclusive love to and for all of God’s creation!


Second Sunday in Lent

Let us pray – whether nearby or faraway, connected together as one community by God’s Holy Spirit…

Oh God of life and love…

We come to you, first to thank you for your love, your gifts and your mercy towards us.

We thank you that you have given us a heart capable of loving and forgiving, believing and trusting, helping and understanding. Although we sometimes find the journey of life so difficult, you are by our side, teaching us, renewing us, even believing and trusting us to be in relationship with you and one another.

In these times we live like habitants of Noah’s Ark. We are locked, separated and distanced, without hugs and kisses, without knowing when the waters will cease and recede allowing us to return to a different world with a “new normal” than the one we lived before.

You, dear God, have kept your promise and given us the ability to learn new ways to reconnect with others and with you.

We pray that in this time where we interact with new forms of love and care, that your Holy Spirit will allow us to reflect and meditate with wisdom and help us find the courage to embrace the future and the hope that will shine like a rainbow in a better and more colorful world.

Perhaps like never before, and especially during this season of Lent, a time of humility, reflection, repentance, reconciliation, and renewal, may our spirits be stirred and transformed with your Holy Spirit.

In your many names, Amen.

Rev. Alberto Najera headshotSUBMITTED BY:
REV. ALBERTO NAJERA (He, Him, His)
Member of the Governing Board
Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches and Pastoral Assistant of New Life Metropolitan Community Church of Hampton Roads.


A Prayer for Transition – First Sunday of Lent

God of love and mercy, grant us grace for the journey
As we travel through Lent, from celebration to reflection.
From crowding to sparsity; from comfort to uncertainty.
In the midst of global lockdowns, renewed borders, uncertain boundaries
Meet us, that our fears may transform to hopefulness
And our anxieties to anticipation.
Like the ancient ones, commune with us in the shadows
In the dusk and the dawn affirm your presence and reveal your glory.
For renewed ministries; revived ministries; newly commissioned ministries may your blessings stream.
For retired ministries; completed ministries; furloughed ministries may your grace and comfort abound
And may your blessing stay. While our loss is absorbed; our grief consoled; our weakness strengthened.
Till our mornings break out into joy.

Rev. Paul Whiting HeadshotSUBMITTED BY
REV. PAUL WHITING (he/ him/his)
currently serves on the Governing Board. He is a citizen of the United Kingdom, resident of the USA, and an honored past resident of Canada and the European Union. He is currently working with MCC Charlotte in North Carolina, USA.


Ash Wednesday 2021

God, it feels as though so much has already turned to ash.

We miss holding our loved ones close, or even just being physically in the same room.

Many of us don’t know how we are going to pay our bills or feed our children.

We mourn those we have lost and worry about those who we know are at risk.

We look for your face in the midst of the news reports and lists of statistics, and wonder where you are in all of this.

And yet we know this cannot last forever.

Your people did not wander in the desert forever. They entered the promised land and a new “normal” for life emerged, built on the experience of life before and during the wilderness years.

Your prophet Isaiah promised in your name

to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion –
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of Yahweh
for the display of God’s splendour.

We trust you for the day when we experience these things.

Give us strength, courage, resilience and patience through the power of your Holy Spirit as we enter Lent, accompanying Jesus in his own wilderness experience.

Amen

Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston Headshot

Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston (she/her/hers) is the Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), elected by the MCC General Conference in 2019.


Call to Prayer

God of the Second Chance, you knew who I was born to be and created me in your image.
In these unprecedented times where it is all the more difficult to see the hope among the fear
The challenge of putting our faith to the test
The challenge of sharing our resources
The lessons of opening our giving spirits
The lessons of gratitude we are learning
The lessons of the importance of relationships
Help us with the spirit of discernment and guidance
Thanks for hope that still reigns
Thanks for allowing us to love who we want to
Thanks for your light that still guides us
And renewed faith that continues to strengthen us.
Amen

Richard NormanPRAYER SUBMITTED BY:
RICHARD NORMAN (he, his)
is a member of the Commission of Pathways of Healing and Reconciliation and serves on the Council at Goodhope MCC, in Cape Town, South Africa, where he has been a member since 1998. “Attending Goodhope MCC has opened up my world and I see God’s all-inclusive love.”


Psalm 40:10
“I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.”

Blessed God, beloved parent, place in my heart the same love for justice that you have.
May equality and equity be my daily pursuit. May your expression in me be eloquent, abundant, expansive, in thoughts, words and actions. Parent of all love and color, of all diversity, may my heart be intimately connected with yours and with those who suffer for their color, their sexuality, their unusual gender, their origin, their homeland, to whom all kinds of humiliation are inflicted.
Make your voice mine, your pathways of justice my pathways, so that I never retreat to my privileges and be silent in the face of inhumanity.
May my lips never be silent in the face of oppression!
Amen

Ivana W. KerrPRAYER SUBMITTED BY
PASTOR IVANA W. KERR (she/her/hers)
is a member of the Commission of Pathways of Healing and Reconciliation and serves as an IT professional and pastor at ICM (MCC) São Paulo, Brazil. As a trans woman, she assumed her gender after the age of 50. She maintained her Christian faith, experienced since childhood, and was renewed to understand God’s unrestricted love for all humanity in its diversity.


Reflection

In this time of global sickness, we find ourselves not just dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic but another form of sickness. Racism, defined as the marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people, is a sickness in its own right and affects us differently depending on where we live, the color of our skin and our life experiences.

Many people of color have been aware and experienced the effects of racism from the time they could remember, as they were taught to be careful of how they interacted with others in authority or with white people in general. If this was not your experience, pause for a moment to think about what that would be like. Generally speaking, white people do not think like that, and haven’t needed to because their motives are not questioned, people don’t assume the worst or aren’t afraid of them because of the color of their skin or their cultural differences. This unfortunately has not been the experience of many people of color.

Well intentioned white people tend to think of themselves as not being racists without realizing that their experience is shaded by the fact that they have lived in white privilege. If you don’t know another experience, you likely don’t even realize the benefits you are given without any effort on your part.

We are all human beings, we come from many backgrounds; we are people with rich experience and worth! We need to look and see what structures we have in place that are blocking people from being welcomed and bringing their full selves to the table.

Prayer

We take this time to lift up our prayers to help us to truly SEE other another.

God of all, help us to work together so that each feels as valued as the next, regardless of skin color. We don’t wish to be color blind, but colorful; help us to learn about and celebrate each other’s experiences, create opportunities to learn from each other and to recognize the worth of each person’s culture, experience and contributions so that we may be better vessels for you.

Amen

Clare Coughlin HeadshotREFLECTION & PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
CLARE COUGHLIN (she/her)
is currently serving as a member of the Commission on Pathways of Healing and Reconciliation, as well as serving on the MCC Governing Board. She is a member of Divine Peace MCC in Waterford, Michigan, USA


Psalm 19: 1-2 (Common English Bible)
1Heaven is declaring God’s glory; the sky is proclaiming our Creator’s handiwork.
2 One day gushes the news to the next, and one night informs another what needs to be known.

Oh, gracious and loving God. You are God of earth, moon, and sky. God of sea, land and air.
Creator you balance the earth on your fingertip, and you hold each of our lives in your loving bosom. Help us to hold each other in love and care. Help each one to experience your justice by acting justly and graciously. Help each one to work for the causes of equity, peace and justice in our minds, bodies, souls and spirits.
Teach us, oh divine One, the meaning of inner disturbance and inner peace. Teach us how to pay attention to, and resound in ways that make lasting change inside and out. Let us each, like the heavens, declare the glory of our God in ways that are special, and heartfelt. Spark in each of your children a movement towards love and hope.
In your many names we pray,
Amen, Ashe, and so it is.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. CATHY ALEXANDER (she, her)
is a member of the Commission of Pathways of Healing and Reconciliation and serves the denomination as the MCC Vocational Leadership Coordinator.


Prayer for Epiphany

God of love and healing,

We journey toward You, like the Magi; we are called to seek You. With perseverance and courage, we bring our whole selves. We are filled with gratitude, but we are also very, very tired. We are weary. Our bodies ache from the journey. Our hearts ache from missed connections and empty chairs at our tables.

Your gaze lands on us, and You call us beautiful. You reassure us. Our mask-covered faces are an embodiment of Your love in this world. You remind us that the pain of isolation and social distancing is a testament to our love of neighbor. You awaken in us the possibility of healing.

We meet You and receive the promise of hope.

Amen

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. JAKOB HERO-SHAW (he/him/his)
is a member of the Commission on Pathways of Healing
and Reconciliation and serves as the Senior Pastor of MCC Tampa . He also is on the faculty for the Trans Seminarian Leadership Cohort. Jakob and his husband, Allan, live in Tampa, Florida, USA, with their two kids, Ruben and Mima.


Prayer for the New Year

Gracious Creator,

As we enter this new year, we have an array of emotions.
We feel joyous, as we have with each dawning of a year full of hope and possibilities.
We feel anxious, as we carry over the emotional heaviness from 2020.
We feel generous, as we desire to give to others who bore the brunt of devastating loss last year.
We feel skeptical, as we wonder if the change we seek will be manifested.
We feel blessed, for another day, another year, and another opportunity to seek your loving presence and for our dreams to come true.
We believed at the beginning of last year that 2020 was going to be a year of clarity, renewed focus, and great prosperity.
We now embrace the old saying, “Hindsight is 2020.”
Help us to see, to learn, to know that all that we endured in this past year does not define us.
It only makes us stronger and more faithful, more caring, more aware, and more committed to justice for all.

Gracious Creator,
Continue to hold our hand throughout 2021 and may we be more like you.
Blessed Be Your Name!

 

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. DR. ROLAND STRINGFELLOW
Co-Chair, MCC Commission on Pathways of Healing and Reconciliation
Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow is the Senior Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church Detroit, Michigan, USA, and also works with congregations on LGBTQ inclusion as the Director of Ministerial Outreach for the African-American Roundtable, a program of the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies (CLGS) in Religion on the campus of Pacific School of Religion. Rev. Dr. Stringfellow has been consulted by media outlets regarding his work on marriage equality and religious liberty and the role people of color and communities of faith play in this national debate.


A Prayer for 2021

Holy Creator, on this the final Sunday of 2020 we open ourselves to You in prayer. 2020 has been a year of uncertainty around the world. As we enter 2021, we face more uncertain times. How long, O God, until we are free of pandemics that continue to rage? How long, O God, until walls of division crumble and neighbors meet in open places?

As we enter another year of uncertainty, help us to be certain of our values. Help us to live in ways that reflect Your mercy and justice and love for all creation.

In this time of arrogance, with power grabs by many world leaders, we humble ourselves in prayer. We acknowledge that You are God and we are not. Some who hold high office believe that they are higher than all others, including You. They confuse themselves for You, seeing themselves as god, and lording it over others with heartless ego. We acknowledge that You alone are God, and Your ways are not our ways. Show us the way, and lead us in the ways of justice, mercy, and equality.

We pray that beyond political upheavals and political oppression, we would work daily to ensure that all have what they need in body, mind and spirit.

We pray for the day when health care is accessible to all, when education is truly equal, and when justice systems are truly just. We pray for clean air and water. We pray for the day when tables of nourishment are open all around the globe, with abundant food, not just for the rich, but for all.

We pray for the unhoused, that they may receive safe shelter
and know their countries as true home. We pray that we would fully value each other and that anti-racism would break through caste.

We turn to You in faith and hope, praying for the day when Your love is above all. And so it is. Amen.

SUBMITTED BY
REV. ELDER DWAYNE JOHNSON
MCC Council of Elders


2020 Christmas Reflection

Hope in a chaotic world. What does hope look like, feel like, sound like? It will be different for each one of us, depending on our circumstances. For me, seeing the first shoots poking through the soil in Spring and the buds appearing on the barren branches of trees always give me a burst of joy, a sense of hope and optimism for the year ahead. There is space for growth, for possibility, for beauty. There is the satisfaction of knowing that no matter how severe and long the winter has been, nature has prevailed and new life is bursting into being.

In the gospel according to Luke, we hear two parents proclaiming great hope. When Mary travels to visit her cousin, she greets Elizabeth with the defiant and joyful words of the praise prayer we now call the Magnificat. Those who have power and privilege have been swept away, those who are lowly and hungry are raised up. Mary’s personal experience of becoming pregnant has been transformed into a proclamation of hope for a new way of being, a new world order. Elizabeth too is pregnant. When her son John is born, his father Zechariah proclaims a message of hope, promising a mighty saviour who will bring light into the darkness and who will guide the people “into the way of peace”.

The birth of Jesus was a small event, witnessed by a few. Yet those who were part of the story realised that they were part of something much bigger, something yet to be fully revealed. Hope does not give us the whole picture, rather a sense of direction, a sense of purpose. It lifts our spirits and helps us to imagine better times.

As we continue to navigate our way through this pandemic, through the daily challenges that we face, the steadfast love of God remains constant. The promise of new life, a new way of being through the birth of Jesus gives us hope. Jesus, the Light of the World guides us into the way of peace.

Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston headshotSUBMITTED BY
REV. ELDER CECILIA EGGLESTON
Moderator of MCC
MCC Council of Elders


Advent IV 2020
II Samuel 7:1-11,16
Luke 1:26-38

“With God, nothing will be impossible.”

That classic passage from II Samuel establishing the Davidic dynasty forever — and Luke’s somewhat free translation of it ~ ‘This child will be great and will be called the Child of the Most High; on this child the Sovereign God will bestow the throne of David’s lineage’ ~ speak, I believe, very powerfully to the challenging times we are living in.

Luke used II Samuel and his story in the Gospel to address a problem Luke faced, but which is not so much a battle for most of us anymore: people wanted to debate who Jesus really was and where he came from and why. It wouldn’t be too many years following Jesus’ death that theologians would begin to discuss whether Jesus was really human or really divine or some exotic combination, which possibly now interests only those trying to pass “Church History.”

Because of Luke’s issue, because he was fighting discrimination and ostracism by those with views different from his own {now we are getting closer to many of our lives}, because of his need to answer definiteively who Jesus was and where he came from, subsequent theologians wrongly focused the meaning of this story on a. young girl’s virginity and a miraculous birth — which they say proves that Jesus was God’s child and in a sense came from God’s seed.

But that’s not the real proof for Luke, or the real point of the story. What proves who Jesus was is his mother’s response. Mary is the focus of Luke’s story. She is the first to hear the Word of God and do it. Remember? That’s what the Gospels say make anyone family to God.

Mary is Luke’s model disciple. She hears the Word of God and responds openly and positively and willingly. Yes, she has a few questions, since she’s never “known” a man in the Biblical sense. {It’s that ”ya’da” problem that has caused our people so much heartache and grief since the time of Sodom and Gomorrah!}. Her question, though biological or physiological in orgin, merits a response on a wholly different level. Gabriel is talking about something different. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you,” the Angel Gabriel says, “and the power of the. Most High will overshadow you,” — just like at Pentecost — just like at the Transfiguration when Peter, James and John were on the mountaintop with Jesus — just like in the beginning, when the Holy Spirit hoovered over the deep and called forth life out of nothing; out of emptiness and void. In some sense, where we’re coming from is the issue.

This moment, what you are being asked to participate in, Gabrielle is saying, is the birth of a new creation. God is seeking to move in this world in a new way ~ a way that this earth and its peoples have not seen since the foundations of time. It’s the new heaven and the new earth that breaking in here ~ and you, Mary, are being called to play a part/to enable the continued unfolding of God’s plan for salvation.

That Doctor in Mexico, Gustavo Gutierrez, himself having survived a bout with Covid-19, “has developed a rare practice in {these} turbulent times,” said the New York Times. “He relies on humor, positivity and intimacy, qualities most patients have been robbed of by the pandemic.”

  • “People are suffering in ways you can’t imagine, and if we bring that fear with us, it only makes them more afraid. . . . The worst part about this damn virus is that we’ve lost our humanity,” says the doctor enabling, one house call at a time, sometimes with medicine and sometimes simply with compassion, the unfolding of a reign of healing and peace, if not cure.

All the Marys being called to play a part in a new heaven and a new earth breaking through in our world —

  • Andrus and Vintsuk in Belarus, giving life and hope to those resisting autocracy
  • Polka Dot, a Polish drag queen living in England, giving exiles hope and a sense of home
  • A Pope saying Queer people deserve to have families
  • Legislators in New South Wales calling for equal treatment for gender diverse peoples
  • Rev. Uthasyo in Mtito Andei building coalitions and hosting Christmas retreats for LGBTQIA affirming ministers of the Gospel
  • A school board in Martin County Florida acknowledging LGBT history month as a way to call citizens to act for the equality of all God’s children

This story is not about sex — Luke portrays no scandal for Mary. {That’s Matthew’s story. God does not need us to produce lie, as John the Baptist will say chapter 3, but to sustain it.}. Even those penguins living at a zoo in the Netherlands, two boys and an unhatched egg, taking turns incubating the egg ~ “very determined,” said the zoo keeper, to bring some new life into our world.

This story is about the power of God to do far more than we’ve ever imagined, or maybe allowed to happen through our lives for our world. It’s about God making a way out of no way. It’s about God’s plan that each of us be used for the birth of something new, something saving and hopeful and good and transforming. . . . Luke’s story is about determining that what we don’t have should never dictate what’s possible, because nothing is impossible with God.

God started with nothing Luke was saying ~ an empty womb with no seed in it ~ and though we might debate what appears to be the evaluative judgment of Luke’s world and at times our own about women and worth and basing destiny on something more than biology, Luke’s theological point was: no matter what the situation, no matter how few the resources, no matter the odds — no matter if anything is going anywhere near the way we think it should, God can use us and our lives and all the circumstances of our living for something good and holy and saving. And that is good news.

Don’t box God in by trying to limit the criteria necessary for something good and saving to happen ~ that’s the call and the challenge.

All Mary did was say yes to the Spirit of God hovering over her, a Spirit that hovers over all of us all the time. It only takes you, it only takes me saying yes ~ being the Marys here and now {a task admittedly more native to some than others☺} ~ to birth the reign of God among us. It can happen, I believe, because, as Luke testified, nothing is impossible to God, which is the best news I’ve heard in a long, long time.

+Amen

SUBMITTED BY
REV. ELDER PAT BUMGARDNER
MCC Council of Elders


Blue Advent

“Prepare ye the way of the LORD!” (Isaiah 40:3)
“He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.” (Luke 1:52)

I’m not sure if I’m in the mood for Advent Reflections this year – at least not for praising Advent as a time of waiting. While people in MCC and all over the earth (and earth herself) truly long for changes, I’m not sure if waiting still is the appropriate approach.

Did waiting bring the right to vote for women? Did waiting stop the violence of surgeries on intersexed children? Did waiting result in getting a seat of choice offered to Rosa Parks? Did waiting result in economies becoming sustainable?

To me, Advent this year is rather about preparing a way. And “preparing a way” is far from waiting humbly. “Preparing a way” is hard work. Imagine building a road: On the one hand, you have to bring in resources – material, knowledge, tools, time. On the other hand, you have to remove what has grown there for long – colonialism, habits, policies. And the whole process is dusty, dirty, loud and effortful. Not really the glitter and glimmer of peaceful and mindful advent reflections.

With Mary, the bearer of hope was a young woman. In her times, she embodied the opposite of those with voice and vote in the religious world. It’s telling that it took someone outside of the system to bring the new. Advent is not about quietly waiting until those who have power and position are willing to change. Nor did Mary have to become like them in order to bring the new. Change was possible without having to adopt accustomed ways of education, payment and titles. Advent is not about graciously inviting new people to assimilate into existing structures, Advent is about preparing to do things in new ways.

Advent is the promise that the new is to come. Advent is not an excuse to let people wait. Advent is a Call to Action.

God bless you, MCCers around the globe, as you are preparing new ways!

SUBMITTED BY
REV. ELDER INES-PAUL BAUMANN
MCC Council of Elders


2nd Sunday in Advent
Mark 1:1-8

John the baptizer: Does anyone else find him intimidating? And it’s not his wardrobe or diet that challenges me. He is just so successful in his ministry yet ever so humble. Can you imagine a twenty-first century scenario where “all” the “people” poured out of the city and made their way to a place in the wilderness to confess their sins and be baptized? (One can only imagine the media circus!) But what drove all the people to him? Was it peer pressure? Was it curiosity? Or was it really the desire to find a new path—one that truly filled their spirit and soul?

I’m pretty sure John didn’t have the time to discern what motivated each person, what with the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem waiting in line! It would seem the wilderness was no longer the wilderness but had evolved into a gathering place—and, more importantly, a place of transformation.

Perhaps this was the intention all along. To get people out of their comfort zone, away from the day-to-day mundane activities of life. To invite the people on a spiritual journey that begins with repentance and baptism and moves to a promise. A promise that involved someone even greater and more powerful than John the Baptist. Yes, John had an incredible ministry, yet he wasn’t the end game…he was preparing the way for Jesus and the ushering in of a new way of life.

Here we are in the midst of Advent, a season of preparing for the coming of the Christ child. Are we willing to set aside the comfortable and journey to the wilderness? Are we willing to spend some meaningful time in self-reflection and confess the times we’ve missed the mark? What are we doing to help prepare the way for others so that they may have the opportunity to experience the coming of the One that John said “he was unworthy to even stoop and untie the thongs of his sandals?” I guess this is really the intimidating part of John the baptizer and his message.

The call to transformation is just as real for us today, but we can’t experience the transformation without doing the work. So as this Advent season unfolds, may your “preparation” be filled with humble joy as we prepare for the coming of the One whom we are waiting for.

Rev. Elder Tony FreemanPRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. ELDER TONY FREEMAN
MCC Council of Elders


“What I Say to You I Say to All: Keep Awake”
Mark 13:37

First Sunday in Advent

Advent is defined as “coming” or “arrival”. Most of us think of Advent as the time to prepare for the arrival of the Christ child. However, Advent actually focuses on two different types of “coming” or “arrival”. Historically, the first two weeks of Advent deal with the second coming of Christ, while only the third and fourth week prepare for the arrival of the Christ child. That explains why, in this year’s Gospel text for the first Sunday in Advent, the scripture focuses on Jesus telling his disciples about his second coming. He says he will come again when the world is in great distress, and the disciples must be alert to these signs and not be caught unaware. He proclaims, “The truth is, before this generation has passed away, all these things will have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

Of course, we know that Jesus’ second coming did not happen before “this generation”, his contemporaries, had passed away. But this reality hasn’t stopped individuals in every generation since then from fearing those who challenge the status quo, characterizing these challengers as the “other”. To those wanting to maintain the status quo, these challengers are the ones causing “great distress” and because of them, the world (at least as they know it) will come to an end. Many of us have been the target of this misuse of scriptures—it is a familiar way to condemn social justice movements, including challenging racism and white supremacy, patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, HIV/AIDS phobia, gender queer phobia, etc. And Jesus’ knew all too well of the dangers when he advised his followers to “Keep Awake”. Immediately following Jesus’ admonition to stay awake, we learn that, “The chief priests and religious scholars were looking for some excuse to arrest Jesus and kill him.” In today’s language, Jesus is telling us to be “woke”—and for us to never let down our guard as we continue to challenge the status quo of inequality, economic disparity, discrimination, and privilege. In doing so, we are relying on his Gospel, making certain that his “words will not pass away.”

Amen.

SUBMITTED BY:
Elder Nancy Maxwell (she/her)
Elder Nancy is a member of Spirit of Hope MCC, Kansas City, Missouri, USA, MCC of Topeka, Kansas, USA, and when in Brazil, attends ICM Belo Horizonte. She is a co-coordinator of the MCC lay leader certificate program, Laity Empowered for Active Discipleship (L.E.A.D.), and a member of the MCC Spiritual Directors Network.


Prayer for International Transgender Day of Remembrance
November 20, 2020

Being a transgender is a gift:

Thank you, God,
For changing our sadness and tiredness into courage,
For giving us the courage to tell people that we weren’t boys/girls,
Even though it made some people get mad,
For teaching us to love ourselves as we are,
For giving us the gift of honesty,
For letting our outside be like our inside,
For giving us the courage to be ourselves.
God, remind us of our plenitude,
Remind us of the gift we are to the world due to our infinitely complex diversity,
Remind us of the ancient times when transgender people were priests and shamans,
Because people knew we were a gift.
So may it be.

Kasumi Takara

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
KASUMI TAKARA (she, her, hers)
Member of São Paulo ICM (MCC), Brazil.
“I feel that I was blessed to be welcomed by the São Paulo ICM. They are a family for me.”


TONANTZIN GUADALUPE: FLOWER AND LIGHT THAT THE DISAPPEARED RETURN HOMETONANTZIN GUADALUPE

In Mexico the last days of September and the first ones of October bring recurrent painful memories. We turn in our hearts to the faces of the hundreds of people we need again: women, children, students, migrants and trans. The 43 student teachers of Ayotzinapa, who disappeared more than 6 years ago come to our memory. We remember again the massacre in the Plaza de Tlatelolco perpetrated on October 2, 1968.

Let us light a candle and place some Cempaxúchitl flowers (marigolds) on our altar as we entrust ourselves to Tonantzin Guadalupe. Mexican popular spirituality assures that both flowers and light are elements by which the dead and disappeared return home. With Tonantzin Guadalupe, we are in tune with the experience of mothers, grandmothers, brothers and fathers desperately searching, without finding, their missing children and relatives. Thus, the student teachers of Ayotzinapa and the thousands of people missing pass through our hearts.

Tonantzin Guadalupe is a sign of spirituality and a search for justice. She is a witness of an ever-living spirituality in which the mother of Jesus accompanies us. She welcomes us, for she knows the reality of living with indolent authorities. She cries beside us, for she knows the meaning of suffering for a murdered son, of having his body missing. Today we pray to Tonantzin Guadalupe, a companion in the pain. We approach her so that we can live a faith that seeks for all of us to receive worthy treatment. Through the candle and the flower we hope that those who we miss will arrive safely home.

MÓNICA TREVIÑO ÁLVAREZ PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
MÓNICA TREVIÑO ÁLVAREZ (She)
Pastoral Leader at ICM Libres por Amor
Puebla, México


Nkulunkulu Ongumnini Mandla Onke (God All Mighty), UNkulunkulu othembekile njalo (God who is always Faithful). God who is called by many names. God who created the world and everything in it. God who is full of love and mercy. We thank You for the many gifts You have given to us as people of MCC and the world.

It has been hard for many of us, as we are faced with a pandemic that has taken many people’s lives in the world. We have lost hope, but You, God, have continued to show us Your greatness. In all this we are grateful for the lessons and the messages that this has brought to us. We have learned about You in many more ways than we can imagine—that You are God, who is always there even when we do not see or feel You. We are grateful that You have always been around us, surrounding us with Your love and mercy during the pandemic.

We ask that You hold each and everyone of us in MCC and your people all over the world with Your strength and power. Lead us as Your people to find You in all the moments that we find ourselves in. Teach us to be gentle and kind to ourselves and others around us during these unknown and uncertain times that we are facing as Your people. I pray for wisdom for our leaders and continue to give them strength as they continue to represent You in the world.

We ask all this in many names and in Jesus name. Amen

Rev. Nokuthula DhladhlaPRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. NOKUTHULA DHLADHLA (she, her, hers)
Rev. Nokuthula works for the South African Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally
Affected by HIV and AIDS (SANERELA+) on a UN Women Trust Fund Project Ending Violence Against
Women and Girls. She was ordained in 1998 by Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC). Rev. Nokuthula is also a Spiritual Coach helping people to find their own journey of faith and how to integrate sexuality and spirituality.


Thanks be to God who provides a beautiful day to rest. We celebrate this day down in our souls,
we celebrate having Christian goals!

Remembering today is a day that God has created.
We all have choices to make.
Do we protect our streams and lakes?
Do we care for the homeless, offering them rest
or do we treat them as less?
Do we love as Christ wants us to love?
Or do we only put on our Christianity
with our Sunday glove?
Do we serve each other?
Do we help our sibling?
Or do we walk on by,
thinking their sign is a lie?
Do we make assumptions or make judgments?

You, Holy One, celebrate all lives!
You, God who knows our heart even when we don’t.
You, God who hears our cry
when we mourn those who die.

God, we ask for forgiveness
and even in our nakedness,
God you forgive.
With you on our side,
we fight for injustices and racism to fall away.
We work to overcome,
so that equality will reign one day.
God help us to be kind.
Remind us we can’t help others, if we remain blind. Lastly, help us pray for all! Amen

Jackie GaschoPRAYER SUBMITTED BY
JACKIE GASCHO
was recently appointed by the denomination as the Lay Pastoral Leader at FirstCoast MCC! Jackie is a graduate of the first L.E.A.D. class! Jackie has been part of the worship team for 13 years and filling the pulpit as needed for the last 10 years.

Pronouns (they, their, them)


Creator God
Loving God
God of many names

Thank you
For your constant Presence—day to day, moment to moment—
in these challenging times, and at all times.
Thank you for knowing us,
and for making yourself known to us through your boundless love.

Thank you
For being steady and flexible as we struggle
For bringing clarity to our confusion
For soothing us in times of pain
and providing solace when we grieve.

Thank you, God
You are shelter.
A place of refuge; you welcome us.
Help us to open to, and receive, your gifts.
Help us to know that we are worthy of your faithfulness to us.
Oh, God
Help us to lean in to your loving presence
in these times of pandemic and of virulent inequities.
As we mask and physically distance,
As we call out, strategize, and move in protest,
Help us to re-member and co-create with you, vibrant communities–
grounded and interconnected in love and justice
locally, regionally, and globally.

Thank you, Compassionate God
For moving beside us
For guiding and sustaining us
through your galvanizing spirit.

Amen

Dr. Carla SherrellPRAYER SUBMITTED BY
DR. CARLA SHERRELL
(she, her, hers),
clergy intern at MCC of Washington, D.C., and Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Counseling and Psychology, Somatic Counseling Program at Naropa University, Boulder, CO, USA.


O Great and Gracious Creator
Once Again on this day we rejoice
You are the Host and the Meal
The Shelter and the Hearth
Abundant prosperity and healing we bring to all your people
May All feel that wealth of knowing you by Grace
Our Creator of More than enough
Today you hear our joyous passion in serving
You promise us this day our daily bread
Obedience to your command that we love one another
As you have loved us
We shall be known by your love
Impoverished no more
We know we are your most prized treasure
For where Your treasure is, there Your sacred heart will be also

Therefore, my beloved family
May we be always steadfast and unmovable
Always excelling in our Savior’s work as we know it is never in vain
You answer our prayer this day in YOUR Mighty Name and in All that is Holy

We end poverty in all its forms everywhere
And So, It Is
Amen

Jackie LaughlinPRAYER SUBMITTED BY
JACKIE LOIS STRACHAN LAUGHLIN
is a servant leader as a grateful part of the Pastoral Care Ministry at Metropolitan Community Church of Washington DC. She finds sweet joy in prayer. She joined MCCDC in April 2015 and all is well!


O God of life and love,
as we approach World Mental Health Day (October 10)
we know and you know about too many suicides
of Trans women, especially those who are Black,
and too many others who feel no care
or concern from the world.

Help us remember we are each other’s keeper,
indeed caregivers for all the world, human and non-human,
that we all exist by your bountiful creation,
that our lives are linked inextricably
in the divinely inspired
ever-growing and changing web,
that saving a life, preventing a death,
overcoming the pain of futility
of one who is in the depths of despair
is not the work of professionals alone
but an obligation laid on us all.

Help us remember too
that mental health is one of three
conditions for living to the fullness
of what you give us,
that it is as vital as physical health and spiritual health—
indeed the three are intertwined
at the very roots of each soul—
that you, Holy One, call each of us, all of us,
to be witnesses to and protectors of
all life, all love, all health.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY
REV. DR. ROBIN HAWLEY GORSLINE
is the Writer-Theologian in Residence at MCC of Washington, D.C., USA, and authors a blog, TheNakedTheologian.org


A Prayer to Heal

God, help me and my family to get our minds back on you. I know we need to stop thinking about what is going on in this world. Help us to be faithful in prayer. May your spirit watch over us and protect us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Deacon Tressie Carter
MCCNY

Prayer For Us All

Eternal One, these past five months have been very difficult for us. Many of us have experienced losses in so many areas of our lives. We have watched as loved ones were snatched away by Covid 19 and we were not able to be with them as they took that last breath. Some of us were told we would not be able to continue to work in our usual location and were shuffled from our jobs to working from home while others were forced to work without PPE in the midst of spiraling numbers of death all around.

We saw our country take a giant leap backwards to injustices, some that just did not seem possible in 2020. Our children have been denied their freedom to be children as they were no longer able to be with classmates, see their favorite teachers, play with friends or in some cases, even be outdoors. Many of us grew up believing that 20-20 was perfect vision, but in the case of this year, our vision of the world we knew has vanished before our very eyes. We are unsure how our new world will look.

But I know that you Eternal One, are the One Consistent Presence Upon whom we can depend. May The Light Of Your Child, Jesus The Anointed, shine upon us and show us the way to be better, be greater, be the change that we would like to see in our world, but more important that we be the people You Created Us To Be. We humbly come Trusting and Believing that You Still Work All Things Out For Our Good. Hear Our Pleas and Prayers in The Mighty Name Of Jesus! Amen, Ashe’, May It Be So And So Shall It Be!

Norma J Sharp
MCCNY/Unity Fellowship Church NewArk

Deacon Tressie CarterPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

DEACON TRESSIE CARTER
MCC New York
USA

Norma J. SharpPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

NORMA J SHARP
MCC New York/Unity Fellowship
Church NewArk
USA


Oh God of vast and diverse creation

We thank you and celebrate all diversity and all your children and all the ways they identify and express love

This week as we observe Celebrate Bisexuailty Day we give special thanks for all our bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, and polysexual siblings as well as all those throughout the spectrum of non-monosexual or queer identities.

May we learn from them and be inspired by them and by the beautiful and inspiring diversity of love and attraction that you created oh god.

Help and empower us to stand up for our siblings and call out and dismantle the individuals and structures that attempt to erase or minimize your bi+ children.

Grant all your bi+ children all the strength and conviction they need to live lives out loud – proud of who they are, who they love and how you in all your wisdom and love created them.

Amen

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

MICHAEL EASTERLING (he/him)
Pastoral Operations Manager
Metropolitan Community Church of New York
MCCNY Charities
446 W. 36th St.
New York, NY 10018, USA
www.mccny.org


Queer God,

We are Your LGTBQIA+ prophets, Your Queer Church;
And by the grace of your Spirit within us we would awaken that which we have too often let slip into depths of comfort’s slumber:
That is, the transformational proclamation of the Gospel truths that we have been uniquely shaped to effectively share and manifest.

Let us neither wait upon nor seek the approval of our progressive siblings in the Faith, O God, as they wound their own over questions of virtual Eucharist, the definition of “defund”, or how to affirm that black lives matter without having to capitalize those words.

Let us not wait for our mainline friends, whom we love as co-laborers even as we recognize their confessional allegiance to theologies that could not compel within their forebears the revolutionary Christ Spirit in opposition to Modernity’s imperial impulses embraced by the Global North nations they found themselves in.

Rather let us revive within our collective will the sense of our destiny and partnership with the wild way of Your Spirit just as She moved within the imaginations of our 12 forebears gathered in courageous response to Her leading nearly 52 years ago.

Those who knew, if only in the subconscious inner space that we rightly call the groanings of Your Spirit, that You were preparing them for a work that must be free from the bondage of western ways of God-talking.

Those who answered Your call with our liberation in mind, alongside other liberation-minded faith movements answering that same call.

Those who built a global movement that created space for the development of queer theologies for queer people to speak of a wonderfully queer God of radically inclusive love.

In this time of crisis and plague,
Remind us who we are and what we have come through.

In this season of tyranny and oppression,
Remind us to what we have been called and for what we have been empowered.

As justice cries out for breath under the suffocating weight of self-serving lies,
Revive our queer testimony of Truth’s liberating power to set your people free.

As hope is beaten down by avarice and silenced by its bedfellow, indifference,
Let us once again exchange our deadly silence for the life-giving noise of acting up.

Reawaken the urgency of our ordination as your Queer Body of Christ distinctly formed for this moment that itself is “queering” the very foundations of our assumptions about how our world is ordered and what we might expect from it.

Place the coal upon our lips once again, Holy One.
Speak to us of Your liberating intentions from the unquenchable fire, great I AM.
Commission us anew, God with us, that we may work to extend the realm of your heavenly reign in our communities, our nations, and throughout our shared world.

We are Queer, we are here, we are MCC/ICM;
And we are once again ready to risk it all with You to bring the Good News of Your justice-love to all whose cries have reached Your ears.

Let it be done to us according to Your word. Amen.

Rev. Ty BradleyPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. TY BRADLEY
Minister of Justice
Sunshine Cathedral, Florida, USA
Global Justice Institute


God of many names,

We confess that it is often difficult to see you in our world today. Our sisters and brothers suffer violence, discrimination, oppression and marginalization while living in fear for their very lives. We remember that each one is created in your image, deeply loved by you and called “very good,” and so we continue to pray for justice – for justice to roll down like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. We want to be your instruments of peace, dear God, and we pray that the noise we make on behalf of your people will be like beautiful music in your ears. Give us courage to stand, and having done all to stand, to keep standing in solidarity with those whose voices have yet to be heard. Give us hearts of love when we feel surrounded by evil. Give us perseverance when we grow tired. Grant us wisdom to speak effectively, to live authentically and to be your presence to the outcast and to the stranger. Mostly, God, help us see you in people, in trees and flowers, in water and air and in all your creation. And may all we do bring about seeds of peace, love, joy and happiness. In the name of Jesus, we pray. AMEN.

 

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. DR. JIM MERRITT
Director of Eastern European Affairs
Global Justice Institute


Spirit of indomitable hope and abiding peace,

Not long ago, a multi-racial daughter of immigrants became a U.S. major political party’s vice presidential candidate. Let us put political ideologies aside for a moment to rejoice in this affirmation of sacred diversity.

Of course, this historic moment does not heal the many wounds of the world. The hungry still need food. The housing insecure still need safe and comfortable homes. Children need to be protected. The desire for peace must out last the cries for war.

This moment of promise will not, by itself, remove racism from our hearts, or misogyny from our midst, or xenophobia from our communities.

This moment of sweet optimism will not, by itself, lift up same-gender loving people, nor will it cause the world to rejoice at the beautiful miracle of gender non-binary, gender fluid, gender Queer, and *Transgender people.

This moment, while powerful, is only a moment. Let us celebrate it, and then work to create more life-giving, soul enriching, love affirming, spiritually liberating moments.

Let the days of virulence and violence give way to days of hope and healing, joy and justice.

These prayers we offer in the name of and for the sake of divine goodness.

Amen.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. DR. DURRELL WATKINS
Senior Minister, Sunshine Cathedral
Fort Lauderdale, FL USA


Lord Jesus,

you are the vine and we are the branches.

Help us to understand what this means for our lives.

We are constantly striving to gain or fix something or to look and be a certain way.

Help us to make sure that we stay connected to you and that the works we do are actually the ones that we have been assigned to do. If we could just step into those works and lose some of those complexities of our lives that are best left with you anyway.

Lord Jesus have mercy.

Holy Spirit, fill us and guide us.

Grant us that peace that passes all our understanding.

In Jesus` beautiful and mighty name.

Amen.

Franka StrietzelPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

FRANKA STRIETZEL
“For over 20 years I used to be a member of Basisgemeinde MCC Hamburg, Germany and subsequently of MCC North London, UK.
It is here I met my most important friends. Thanks to churches currently live-streaming their worship services I’m able to join MCC North London and MCC Cologne, Germany online.
I’m an organizational psychologist working mainly remotely as a leadership coach and consultant out of the sea side town of Margate, UK.”MCC to [email protected]


Holy Power of the Spirit among us
We praise your presence
Your power come
to cause goodness
as within me so also among us
Nurture us all
Forgive that I am imperfect
as I forgive the mistakes of others
And lead us to light again and again
and guide is in the darkness
For you are infinity
and joy and security
in eternity
Amen

KATHARINA PAYKPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

KATHARINA PAYK
MCC Vienna (Austria)
“MCC is for me – as a protestant theologian – the utopia version of my christian localization. That’s why we’ve just founded MCC in Vienna – a place where we can practice and pray most free as queer subjects.“


Aug 12th is the International Youth Day
A version of the Lord’s Prayer

Divine Love, Source of All Good, Omnipresent One, sacred are your many names.
Your Commonwealth is unfolding. Your desire for the healing and reconciliation of all things is being fulfilled.
Heaven is found in the great connection of all our hearts and at the heart of creation. You are working through us to provide for every human’s need and for the healing of the Earth.
Thank You for Your abundant grace, which forgives all errors as we turn from them to Love. May we reflect You in our forgiveness of others.
You never cease to journey with us through even the most difficult times. You are our Strong Deliverer from oppression.
For Yours is the Beloved Community, the Christ Power, and our unending faithfulness, within and beyond time. And so it is! Amen.

Rev. Brian HutchisonPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. BRIAN D. HUTCHISON, M.Div.
Senior Pastor
Emerald City MCC
Seattle, Washington, USA


A Prayer for our World

God of creation, Great Spirit, we give you thanks
You have given into our care this earth
The lakes and rivers, the trees and flowers
The sand and cactus, the snow and the rain,
The warmth of the sun and the vastness of the night sky
All of these, into our care.
We have used the earth, we have spent her resources
We have not cared for her creatures.
We have been a people of consumption
In a world that needs tender nurturing.
Help us to be a changed people
Tending the earth, repairing the damage
Treating each gift, of air, of plants, water
With the care they deserve, that we deserve
Help us to treasure each running brook, each glass of water
Each step on the earth to treat as sacred
When we see a bird winging its way across the sky
May they echo our prayers to you God, taking flight
As we feel each gentle breeze, or the bite of winter days
May we treat them as your caress
Help us to be your caretakers
With awe and with reverence
Faithfully tending this earth that you gave us,
May we value each tribe, each nation, each way
May all our colors be known as Sacred
May all our genders be a celebration
Let these be our promises to you, oh One Who Creates With Love,
To live more simply, value more deeply this precious gift of Our Earth!
To honor and protect the two leg-geds, the peoples of the world,
Your tender Creation
And to treat each one with kindness and love.
To take the time to listen for your voice on the wind,
In the heat of the sun, in the falling rain and the biting cold of the snow,
We will listen with our whole being and respond to your call.
In all the ways you are known and yet to be known, we offer our all. Amen

Rev. Elder Diane Fisher HeadshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. ELDER DIANE FISHER,

Clerk, Governing Board Metropolitan Community Churches
[email protected]
www.mccchurch.org
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Time zone: EST (GMT-5)
Diane’s short bio: https://mccrehoboth.org/people/rev-diane-fisher/


(Based on Romans 8:26)

Loving, faithful God, we thank you that nothing can separate us from your perfect Love. We are grateful that in these times of upheaval, stress, and distress, you are in the midst of it all; you are at work despite it all.

Thank you for what we see of you at work in and through the MCC communities around the globe: where the hungry are being fed; where those who are ill are being cared for; where those who are mourning are being comforted; where those crying out for justice do not cry out as lone voices but are surrounded by siblings joining in solidarity. Here is life. Here is hope.
Often we don’t know what to pray for the best. We consider our world that is in so much pain and we don’t know where to start.

Holy Spirit, teach us to pray like Jesus; better still, pray through us.
May your new realm break into this one; into relationships, communities, and nations. We pray this as Jesus taught us to.

Amen

Kate Woodrow CheongPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

KATE WOODROW CHEONG
lives in London (UK) and works as a mental health professional supporting university students. MCC North London became her spiritual home in 2012.


Let’s join together to pray for our world
May we have perseverance with determination,
not be put off by obstacles,
be they big or small.

Plant in all of us
the seed of kindness
and love
so that the future harvest
May be enjoyed in abundance
By everyone

Āmine

Angie FinniganPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

ANGIE FINNIGAN
Member of the Core Team and Treasurer
Church in Progress MCC
Auckland, New Zealand

“I am a mother of 3 boys, aged 10, 8 and 6 and wife to Sean. I am a primary school teacher here in Auckland, teaching our English Language learners ranging from 6 to 10 years of age. I love how MCC is so inclusive and as a family, we have always felt so welcome. Being part of the MCC family is an important part of my faith journey and allows me the safe space to learn and engage with the bible on my own level.”


Holy One, our Creator and Source,
Your people are hurting and tired.
We are angry and heartbroken.
We turn to you, knowing that you are with us in this struggle.
You sustain us, and with your help, we will not fail.

Lover of our souls, we need to feel your presence.
Pour out your inspiration;
Let it cover us, fill us, and lead us through.
We desire your kin-dom come.
We strive for your will done.

Maker of good things, we give you thanks,
For you have worked wonders, and
You have wonders yet in store.
We praise you!
We trust in you.
We turn to you.
Lift us up.
Hold us close.
Give us breath.

Amen.

Rev. Tijuana GrayPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. TIJUANA GRAY
(she/her)
She serves as pastor with Metropolitan Community Church of Topeka (Kansas, USA)


Dear God,

As our world undergoes a global pandemic,

Show us where our focus should be, amidst our siblings who feel powerless, invisible and unloved.

As divisions of race, gender and politics tear through society,

Teach us to cherish our differences with humility.

And when it is time to rebuild,

Guide us, direct our energies and resources to the frailties in our ministries, that have been revealed under difficult times

Empower us, give us the courage and vision of Pentecost,

to be a church that fights for change, a community where the least of us, is at the heart of our mission.

Let us not be lulled into complacency and comfort.

But let justice run down like water,

And righteousness like a mighty stream.

Amos 5:24

Carole Yeoh - Norther Lights MCCPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

CAROLE YEOH
has been part of Northern Lights MCC in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, for over ten years. She loves MCC because it embraces diversity, and is the most accepting church community she has ever experienced.


“(…) we know you by many names (…)”

I thank the God who is Father and Mother for allowing us to call him/her by various names. This is wonderful! God is willing to be called and we are sure to be answered! Blessed is s/he who listens to prayer beyond structured languages. Blessed be the God who is Nzambi or Jehovah, and who reveals himself to us as Jesus! I thank You because we at MCC are invited to the greatest banquet this Earth has ever witnessed, to the most colorful party that has ever been seen. Those are the colors of God. Colors of a people who together, in community, reveal to the world a God who does not give stone to anyone who asks for bread. A mother who does not leave a child calling her in vain. To the Goddess, a woman who protects her sons and daughters and who will never have the courage to throw any of them out of the house. To the God who goes in search of the lost sheep. To the God who presented us with bell hooks, Marsha P. Johnson, Carolina Maria de Jesus, Conceição Evaristo and Jorge Lafond. To the God who chose MCC as Mary chose, my deepest thanks! May Your eternal love be born in us, from generation to generation.

Deacon Jeferson RodriguesPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

JEFERSON RODRIGUES
(him, his)
is a deacon at the ICM in Rio de Janeiro / Brazil. Director of PAD, Activist of the Black Evangelical Movement, Geographer, Postgraduate in Public Administration and member of ICM since 2006.


Holy One, as we continue to learn and adapt in an ever-changing world, lead us through times of trouble into lands of plenty. Align the rich with the poor, the healthy with the sick, the forgotten with the privileged. Guard us from the temptation to think of our past as our future; reveal your paths toward a brighter and more just world.

Embolden, enliven, and envelope all your people so we may look out for the lonely and care for the hungry. For the hunger of the world is deep and we must tend to the physical hunger of our siblings, care for the spiritual hunger of our souls, mend the broken hearts of our communities.

Guide us toward the greater good where we may all swim in your eternal presence. For it is you who has called us, you who has placed us, you who provides for us.

May we know of the Spirit that draws us together; may we know of the Spirit that binds us in love. Amen.

Rev. John McLaughlinPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
Sr. Pastor
St. Jude’s MCC, Wilmington, NC USA
(he, him, his)


Creator God Spirit of life, You who have called all of your creation good, we come to you as participants in your glorious creation. You have called us forth with your breath, and drawn us into beloved community in your name. We join with all of creation in singing out your praise for the gift of life with which we have been blessed.

It is You who have created each one of us, your people, in your divine image, a beautiful spectrum of color, gender, gifts and passions. You have bestowed upon us the gifts of grace and love. You have raised up and formed us into a vibrant community of inclusion. We the community of MCC celebrate your love and seek to be ever present with you as we seek to faithfully live out your call to love, justice and inclusion.

We believe as resurrection people, that we are called to be living the life of new creation in which the right relation to all the rest of God’s creatures is fully restored. As we live our lives of faithfulness in You, enable us to remember to open our entire selves to your presence, as it is gloriously displayed in the flowers that bloom, the birds that sing, the earth beneath our feet and the deep blue sky above us. May all of your creation remind us of the vastness of life, of the diversity of beauty in all you have made, and ensure we may always be lovers of your world and caretakers of one another. In your Holy Name We Pray.
Amen.

Annie Steinberg-BehrmanPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. ANNIE STEINBERG-BEHRMAN
Senior Pastor
Pronouns she/her


Gracious…Ever Loving…Divine One…
We call upon you in this very difficult time for so many in our world.

In You we have always found hope for humanity. As we move through our world, we remember that you have called us to be the Christ-bearers and we pray the journey that you have invited us to share becomes ever more clear to us, even when it is difficult, or murky or contrary to our plans.

You have called us to be your Christ-bearers and we long to live into that journey. We humbly ask that You help us respond courageously to that call in both traditional and in new ways so that we may bring a new dawning in our world.

Strengthen our resolve to shun a return to the normal and to work instead as courageous and dedicated disciples of the Christ, bringing the Christ into the world with every step we take.

Fill us with unquenchable longing to be your workers. Fill us to overflowing with your love and goodness.

Make us your Christ-bearers.

In the perfect name of Jesus we pray.

Joan Higgs MCC Key WestPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

JOAN HIGGS
(she, her, hers)
MCC Key West, Florida, USA
Set apart as deacon in 1989 at MCCKW. Involved with MCCKW ever since. Currently vice moderator.


Loving God,
We come to you today from all over the world.
We come from so many different lived experiences.
Thank you for your great love for each of us.
Thank you for your bountiful blessings.
Even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, you are with us.
In the midst of adjusting to a new normal, you are with us.

Thank you for your great wisdom – may it guide our decisions.
Thank you for your healing power – may it uphold us.
Thank you for your loving presence – may it comfort us.

May we know, right now, that we are not alone.
You are our Rock, our Refuge, and the One who lifts our head.
May we continue to look to you, today, and all the days that follow,
Giving us strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow.
Amen.

Rev. Dan KoeshallPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. DAN KOESHALL
Pronouns: He/His/Him
Senior Pastor
Metropolitan Community Church of San Diego
TheMetChurch.org


Spirit of the Living God, may Your Presence strengthen us in our journey forward, that we may be bearers of Your Love to those who seek to know You through us.

Resurrected Christ, grant us the courage to face the challenges of life with a faith and hope You have shown us.

Holy Spirit, unseen Force that inspires the human heart to see beyond their own needs; encourage us to continue working for the greater good.

May our faith shift our eyes from the sky to the streets.

May our hope help all people feel accepted and included.

May our love reach out to the most vulnerable, marginalized, hungry, thirsty, naked, sick and imprisoned.

As we journey towards restoration and healing, may we learn to heal ourselves so that we can heal others, for we cannot give that which we do not have.

Great Spirit of Comfort, Compassion and Mercy, help us to learn from the lessons of today so that we may build a stronger foundation tomorrow.

This we pray in the name of the Resurrected Christ. Hallelujah. Amen.

Rev. Alejandro EscotoPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. ALEJANDRO ESCOTO
(Them, They)
Associate Pastor, Hispanic/Latinx Ministry,
Founders Metropolitan Community Church Los Angeles


Abiding God, we are grateful that you have never left us alone. You hear our prayers and you come along besides us and offer us yourself fully withholding nothing. May we pour forth the gift of the radically inclusive love that we have found in you, through our willingness to use our hands, our feet, our eyes, our voice in faithful service to you. May we live out your command to love daily as we demand, proclaim, and do justice in the world. Open to us, our portion in building the Beloved Community. Amen.

Rev. Vickey GibbsPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. VICKEY GIBBS
is the Associate Pastor at Resurrection MCC in Houston Texas USA, where she has served since November of 2015 . Her most recent service to the denomination was in the capacity of Worship Team Lead for General Conference 2019 in Orlando, Florida, USA. Previously, she worked in the UFMCC Office of Emerging Ministries for nine years.


God, today we lift up Romans 13:11 amidst COVID-19.

Romans 13:11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became followers of Jesus.

When we become depressed because we are far from loved ones and we cannot be physically closer. When we cannot go to work and get paid. When we can’t get out and do our own grocery shopping. When we can’t find hand sanitizer and toilet paper. When we are sick and we are separated from loved ones. When we have to keep putting ourselves out there because we are considered essential. When we have to put our lives at risk because we are caregivers in the midst of a pandemic. When we become overwhelmed. We know that You are still with us. Your saving grace is nearer to us now more than ever. Help us to cultivate a deeper relationship with You so we can feel that saving grace more powerfully.

Your words speak to us. “You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep.” We ask that You will wake up each one of us, in this time, in this moment. Use each one of us to save someone through you. To make that call. To be comfort and peace. To drop off those groceries. To provide a listening ear in a chat online. To communicate job prospects where they are needed. To pray with and for each other. To answer that unmet need.

You are walking with us and working through us. You save us. All of us. You and me. Everyday. Amen.

There is a video link for the song Every Day by Rascal Flatts after the song lyrics below . Please take the time to prayerfully read the words and watch the video and listen to the song.

Every Day by Rascal Flatts

You could’ve bowed down gracefully
But you didn’t
You knew enough to know
To leave well enough alone
But you wouldn’t

I drive myself crazy
Tryin’ to stay out of my own way
The messes that I make
But my secrets are so safe
The only one who gets me
Yeah, you get me
It’s amazing to me

How every day
Every day, every day
You save my life

I come around all broken down and
Crowded out
And you’re comfort
Sometimes the place I go
Is so deep and dark and desperate
I don’t know, I don’t know

How every day
Every day, every day
You save my life

Sometimes I swear, I don’t know if
I’m comin’ or goin’
But you always say something
Without even knowin’
That I’m hangin’ on to your words
With all of my might and it’s alright
Yeah, I’m alright for one more night-

Every day
Every day, every day, every day
Every day, every day
You save me, you save me, oh, oh, oh

Every day
Every, every, every day-
Every day you save my life

Amen

https://youtu.be/ABgnivE-caU

Davod Zoer

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. DAVID ZIER (He, Him, His)
Lifejourney Church

Blessed God, Father-Mother of kindness and mercy, I come to you in prayer asking you to pour out your blessings on the brothers and sisters who are elders of MCC.

May your wonderful grace flow from your kind heart in abundance upon the shepherds of your sheep, in such a way that your’s and our purpose may be one.

May the sweet whispers of your love be the music of our mornings, the song of our afternoons and the symphony of our nights.  Amen.

Ivana WarwickPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

IVANA WARWICK 
is a trans woman and one of the associated pastors of the Igreja da Comunidade Metropolitana in São Paulo, Brazil (MCC São Paulo). She is a Collaborator of the Project “Séforas” at MCC São Paulo, which welcomes transsexuals and others in situations of extreme social vulnerability.


Eternal Parent, look after us – human rights defenders – so that we can continue to be strong in our mission on this earthly plane and in eternal life. Break our hearts, bless your sons and daughters who are going through situations of vulnerability. Show us the way of kindness, peace and eternal love so that we have dignity and respect today and forever.  Amen.

PASTOR MARIA LAURA DOS REISPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

PASTOR MARIA LAURA DOS REIS
(She, her, hers)
Assistant Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Teresina, Brazil, working in the defense of human rights, seeking to include people who are removed from the love of Christ within the Christian religion, through prayers, welcoming actions and doing good to those who
need it.


Father and Mother God, in Jesus we have the greatest and best experience we can have as disciples of Christ: to meet with Christians from different places and pray for one another.

Something extraordinary happens within us. We feel the ecumenical spirit that connects us to You, God, in so many names and in so many ways, springing up and growing.

As we say a common prayer, we begin to see the Church and Christianity in a new way. What a look of a loving Father you express for us.

We realize that, despite our divisions in this evil world, what divides us or even oppresses us is very small compared to what unites us with you. Ecumenical prayer comes first in our journey towards unity in the Church.

We can dialogue, praise, speak, make agreements about our similarities and our differences. However, everything will be sterile if it is not soaked in prayer and bathed in love.

Thank you, for the peace that comes from the throne of the Eternal, covering each and every one of us. Holy Spirit fills our being with love, welcoming us, and may we also have place in our lives to welcome everyone.

By your grace, bless our leaders and churches from MCC on this earthly plane. Long live love.

Amen.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

Celio Rodrigues CamargoPASTOR CELIO RODRIGUES CAMARGO
(He, him, his)
MCC Maringá and Sarandi, Paraná, Brazil


National retreat of MCC/ICM Santa Lucia, Brazil

Uluru - Australia
Uluru (Ayers Rock) as photographed by Rev John Fowler at 11:31 am on 30 June 2007

Creator God – you created Earth – our world – in six days.

In the first five days you brought the wonderful firmament and the magnificent flora and fauna into being. And on the sixth day you created us (humankind) and gifted us with the responsibility of caring for your perfect and diverse creation.

You looked upon your completed and wondrous creation and said – “It is good!”

Mea Culpa – forgive us Creator God – for we have let you (and ourselves) down. We have not always cared for our beautiful earth, including its people, as we should have.

We need to change our ways and become more caring, more responsible – more Jesus like.

Creator God, we pray for a renewed flow of your creativity and healing (re-creativity) to help us to reverse the damage to our earth and to enable us to repair and restore your earthly creation to its intended state.

Allow us to think rationally, to act with care and consideration for your created earth and its people, and focus upon that which is ethical, sustainable and socially responsible, in order to revive and return your kindom on earth to the point where we, and you, together can say again – “It is good!”

Amen.

Rev. John Fowler HeadshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV JOHN FOWLER has served as an MCC pastor in Australia and as District Co-ordinator of Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Now retired, he is volunteer Co-ordinator of OFLD in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand.


Mystery beyond our knowing …
Some of us call you God, Spirit, Presence, Holy …
Most of us around the world don’t know what to call you, or if you exist in a way that we can talk about or to you, anyway.

Nevertheless, we cry out ,,,
Because we need something … we need you – the bigger-than-us.
We cry out as individuals,
We cry out as nations,
We cry out as those who have no voice —
children, immigrants, asylum seekers, those whose abilities are limited by nature or society, elderly people whose decisions are made by others …

We cry out, because we need something beyond ourselves,
and because we acknowledge that even we don’t know what we need right now ,,,

Mystery, Holy, Whatever You are … we need you.

We cry out for those feel homeless
We cry out for those in war-zones who are hiding to stay alive
We cry out for those who have only barely escaped drowning or ruin, and need breath to survive,
We cry out for those who abuse us; yet we still love them and don’t know how to reckon all of that … but we want and need to stay safe
We cry out for the voiceless who can’t even formulate a prayer …
… in this sense, we give thanks for Paul, who told us that when we cannot speak, “The Spirit Intercedes with sighs too deep for words” … thank you that when we are without words, you supply them, Great Mystery.

Right now, we pray for ourselves,
for our families that may or may not acknowledge us (or you),
for those who are dying,
for those who are caring for the hurt and dying,
for those who are inspiring the ones without confidence,
for those who are trying to make relationships work,
and for those who have the courage to leave the relationships that cannot work
in order to fulfill their calling and save their dignity.
for those that feel lost and unable to even state what they need.

Together, we offer …
Gratitude.
Hope.
Promise.

Amen.

PRev. Dr. Kharma AmosRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. DR. KHARMA AMOS is the Associate Director of MCC, working with people discerning and living a call to Vocational Ministry in MCC; and also the person who is assisting MCC Churches going through Pastoral Search.  Kharma was ordained by MCC in 2002, and is now serving in denominational leadership for the 8th year.  Prior to this, she was the proud pastor of MCC of Northern Virginia.  Kharma is married to Rev. Elder Diane Fisher, and together they have a very small dog and a very large cat.  They are fostering 3 kittens and hope never to type this sentence again, as those kittens find their forever homes very soon.  🙂  Kharma is also serving as the new Minister of the Unitarian Universalists of Central Delaware in Dover, DE, and is very happy to be exploring dual standing with MCC and the UUA.


Creator God
We come to you in prayer
Sometimes in thought.
Sometimes in word.
Sometimes in song.
Sometimes in dance.

You hear us no matter how we come.
You rejoice in our diversity.
You delight in our differences.

Help us to be at peace with ourselves and with each other.

Give us courage to challenge all that gets in the way of peace.
Give us strength to rise up again and again against violence.
Give us wisdom to move forward when others try to pull us back.

May we know your presence as we rise each day.
May your spirit guide each one of us as we work to serve Metropolitan Community Churches around the world.
May your healing touch anoint us as we lay down to sleep.

Before us, behind us, between us.
You are always present.
Amen

Rev. Maxwell ReayPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV MAXWELL REAY has been minister with Metropolitan Community Church since 1993. He works for National Health Service in, Edinburgh, Scotland as a Chaplain in community and hospital settings. 
He is the associate minister at Augustine United Church in Edinburgh where he is responsible for the LGBTQI+ ministry called “Our Tribe”.  Augustine United Church is an aligned organistaion of MCC.
Maxwell serves as the OFLD coordinator in Europe.


May the passion you have for life fire the compassion you have for others.

May you know that when you do small things with great love you change lives.

May the blessings you receive mean more than the hours you work.

May you remember to keep both feet on the ground while tending to those who have one foot in heaven.

May you be grateful that your daily encounter with death and dying brings you a deeper appreciation of life and living.

May you never lose sight of the fact that it’s not the length but the depth of life that really matters.

May your work be grounded in the knowledge that grief is the emotional, physical and spiritual price you pay for the priceless gift of love, and that the only cure for grief is grieving.

May you know that while no one may build a monument in your name, the way you make your mark in this life is by wiping a tear from someone’s cheek.

And, may you start each day remembering the last words spoken by Steve Jobs before he died: “Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow!” Words each of us will speak some day.

Amen.

Rev. Steve Robertson HeadshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. STEVE ROBERTSON
Ordained MCC clergy person and hospital chaplain.
Since August 2011 he has been Supervisor of Spiritual Care/Bereavement and Volunteer Services;
Chaplain/Spiritual Counselor at Allina Home and Community Health/Hospice. Steve also serves in a volunteer capacity as the OFLD Coordinator for MCC Chaplains.


Quarter 4 2019 Header

Mother, Father, Everything God
We come to you full of hope, doubts, fears, and challenges

What can we say but thank You for all of it

And for the many ways we are sustained by Your love
A love that knows no bounds
That heals as it moves in mysterious ways
A love that inspires us to seek You
When our spirits are lost and shattered

You are our Comforter, yes
And, yes, You challenge us to see You

In every moment
In every situation
In every child’s face
In every elder’s trembling hand
Show us Your mercy

In every boardroom let that lone voice
Speak with You in mind

In every confrontation of ideas
Your spirit, Your wisdom
That new thought or that better choice
We keep in our care because of You

Yes, You are there making a way
Helping us to be rich in humility, patience, compassion
To be Your eyes, ears, hands, and heart anew
Yet again and again

Pour out Your heart into ours
And yes fill us in our need
As You fulfill in us our purpose

Touch us and move us
To make a difference we embrace
To become Your example
With every step and breath we take
With every utterance we make

Bless us with
Peace, harmony, understanding, and love
In all our endeavors with this Your world
For us to honor and with You claim
For and with and through each other

Amen

Len Richardson HeadshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

LEN RICHARDSON


O God,

Remind us always to focus on our communities that are the bedrock of our lives and our Church. Give us the strength and determination and courage to always speak out when our communities come under attack. Inspire us to reach out to you for guidance and light as we search for and find effective ways to put our words into action.

Thank you for the many blessings we receive, and may we always be guided by kindness and empathy.

Brett DegoldiPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

BRETT DEGOLDI
Formation Student
MCC New York, USA


Dear father/mother God,

I pray that we, as a wholly and majestic people know that we have an obligation to practice peace to have peace, to extend love to receive love and to know God to express an example of what God wills for us. I know, as we move through turbulent times, it is up to us to demonstrate, daily, the lessons of love and kindness that Christ has taught. It is our birthright to be included in his Commonwealth, and to continue to spread the love of the gospel to all of God’s people. I pray that all those who need healing can find power and strength in surrendering to the miracle of wholeness that has never been lost in the spirit, and to realign and find balance in our creation. I am always comforted by this prayer. May your light surround us, your love enfold us, your power protects us, your presence watches over us. I know that wherever we are, you are, and all is well. Amen

Phineas Newborn IIIPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

PHINEAS NEWBORN III
MCC New York


I read, first of all, that not everyone can be an apostle, prophet, or teacher, and that the Church is made up of many members, so that the eye cannot also be the hand.

God, may we recognize you in the multitude of our community’s gifts.

I kept on reading attentively, and found some helpful words.

God, grant us a spirit of curiosity as we seek to follow you.

‘Strive for the better gifts. But now I shall show you a still more excellent way.’

God, may we be open to what you have to tell us.

God tells us that even those better gifts are worthless without love, and that love is a superior way which leads safely to God. I had found rest at last!

God, may we rest in the peace of understanding that love is the most excellent way.

When I considered the mystical body of the Church, I understood that it has a heart and this heart is afire with love.

God, this week, may you kindle that fire in us with the breath of your Holy Spirit.

Amen, and amen.

*Adapted from the Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Jesus.

Rev. Lori McPherson HeadshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. LORI MCPHERSON


O God, my God,

How wonderful is your name in all the earth! Who has set your glory above this planet that we dwell on. When I consider the heavens that you made, the stars, the moon, and the sun, you have created; what is human kind, that you are mindful of us? For you have made us a little lower than the angels, and have crowned us with Glory and Honor!

O God our God, how wonderful is your name in all the earth!

You have lead the Metropolitan Community Churches as a cloud by day, and fire by night.

We thank you for 51 years of ministry! Sometimes we didn’t believe in ourself, and yet you continue to believe in us.

Help us to hear the still small voice of your wisdom and truth, your revelation to each of us, as we continue on through life‘s journey one day at the time.

And at the end of our journey, may we all find the perfect peace of you loving God! On the day of Resurrection, we will return to you our creator to live forever in your glorious presence.

Amen

Rev. Elder Troy D Perry 2019PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. ELDER TROY D PERRY
Founder, Metropolitan Community Churches (ICM)


Weekly Call to Prayer - Wells, Somerset

1 Corinthians 1:10
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Blessed Redeemer, Creator of our people
Hear us as we pray for a world of peace.
Hear us as we pray for unity with all.
Hear us as we pray to stop the hatred among us all.
Hear us as we pray to follow in the Love of God.

In a world where hatred is answered with a violence
In a world that love thy neighbor is sometimes forgotten
In a world where opinions are greater than understanding

Hear all our prayers,
Hear all from those who seek to find your love
Hear even the silent ones
Hear those from the lost
Hear those from the found

In a time of unrest be with each of your children. Giving them your grace. Our Creator show each of us the way of love and understanding, take away our hatred and unrest. Amen

Crys McDonald headshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

CRYS MCDONALD
They, Them, Their (or as I tell people call me as you see me, just don’t call me late to dinner) 
Lay Delegate and Worship Leader
Wichita Falls MCC, Wichita Falls Texas


Creator God, Allah, Great Spirit, Heavenly Parent. These are a few of the names by which we know You.

We come to you by your invitation. We thank you for offering an open table to all of your people. We remember that the Rainbow is a simple of a Promise. After a storm you are here to give us healing and rest. The Rainbow is also represented by the diverse people you created. We or our ancestors may have begun our journey with you in different parts of the world and we may look and perceive you differently. You created us with a common (DNA) which binds us together and a soul which connects us to you.

We ask you to help us find the balm in Gilead for today. To make our world whole. Show us how to support and nurture each other with the gifts you have given us. Much like the loaves and fishes the small child shared with your people as described in your word. Remind us that for our tears you died.

Help us to eliminate gluttony of wealth resources and food. Guide us to a peaceful resolution of our conflicts and to seek to discern your will in all things.

Show us how to use technology for your purpose and not to hurt each other and our planet.
We are grateful to you for bringing us together to celebrate your goodness and the free gift of your son Jesus to serve as an example for human-kind to follow, so that we can grow closer to you. We thank you for his sacrifice and the gift of everlasting life with you that he gave us.

In your many names we pray, Hallelujah Amen

Jim EastPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

JIM EAST
Officer 
Disability access and inclusion team in working group


Holy One

We know you in so many ways, may all those be acknowledged here.

In this world of ours, you call to us. You call to us in ways that we can understand and in ways that are beyond comprehension. You invite us to co create with you, to heal with you, to care with you and to speak with you. Help us to open deeply and know the wisdom of our hearts. Help us to understand in ways that come with searching for what is not there. Help us to engage and wrestle with challenges that seem to overwhelm us. Helps us to ride the waves of chaos and not to be swept away. Blow through us, clear the cobwebs from our minds and help us to see anew with fresh insight.

We lift our thanks for the heart of our church, for each congregation, for every person who comes to our table. Help us to open wide and wider still, saying “Come, taste and see”. We lift our thanks to the laborers in the field; our pastors and chaplains, our professors and theologians, for our caretakers and care givers. We lift our thanks for the spirit of cooperation shared by MCC staff as we journey. We lift our thanks for the spirit seekers, our council of elders. We lift our thanks for vision seekers and speakers, prophets and moderators.

We are filled with gratitude for this earth, for all of you, and for our loving God.

May our thanks be known by our words, our actions, and our love.
May we respond always with love.

In all the ways we know and love you, we offer this prayer.

Amen

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

GOVERNING BOARD
Metropolitan Community Churches

MCC Governing Board

Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston, MCC Moderator


 

Divine Mother, Friend and Beloved Lover of all our days and moments,

Grant us more and more love and discernment to be together in community, for our lives and the diversity of all our brothers and sisters of the Metropolitan Community Churches. May Your energy be part of our breathing in the days and nights given to live in peace and harmony.

May we be one in community with our bodies and our voices, in the art of transformation.

Amen, hallelujah, axes and on shanti.

Simone Star HeadshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

SIMONE STAR
Drag queen performed by Marcelo Oliveira
Actor, educator, performer and artivist (art+activism)
Member of MCC Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil


Merciful Creator.  Listen to your children cry – they cry for food, they cry for shelter, they cry for peace, they cry for love.

We collectively seek your wisdom in feeding these children, providing these children with shelter, and encouraging peace and love in our land and beyond.

In many ways we too are lost children, while we cherish the teachings of Jesus,  and strive to put those teachings into practice, we are confronted with our own sense of frustration, our sense of failure, our sense of struggle.  How do you put that simple lesson of love into practice? It seems so difficult, so out of touch with our desire for things, and honor, and recognition.

We know the way; we know the song; we know the message.  Guide us down the path to fulfillment, where love guides our every thought, our every movement, our every decision.

We love you, Oh God.  May our lives reflect the love Jesus taught us, so we, and others, might find peace and joy, shelter and food,  all reflected in the love we share.

In the holy names we have used through the ages, we pray.  Amen

Robert W. Pope (Bob)PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

ROBERT W. POPE (BOB)
Member of Stewardship Team
King of Peace MCC
St. Petersburg
Florida, USA


Dear God,

I am in awe of the infinite universe with our miraculous Earth that is so delicately balanced within it, and that you have given us life and the ability to appreciate it.

I pray that the human race will learn to recognize these gifts, appreciate our commonalities and become more tolerant of our differences.

Rachael ReynoldsPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

RACHAEL REYNOLDS   
Rachael is currently a member of King of Peace MCC, and active on the Transgender Committee.


Most gracious comforter,

We pray to you this day to remind us that you have called us individually and as a people as your children. That collectively we make up the body of the living church and no one is above the other, but we are equal.

Open our hearts, our minds, and our spirits to all you would have us do and remind us that when Jesus said, “do this in remembrance of me,” it was an invitation to live all ways like Him. That we should love all, as Jesus did. Remind us, that with every chance meeting, we have the opportunity to leave an impression that could be life-changing.

In these troubled times, guide us to be the agents of change you wish us to be, to lift each other up. May we open our ears to hear each other, open our eyes that we may see the beauty of each of our sibling’s souls and may our tongues only tell truth – Your truth.

In your many holy names,
Amen

Bob Niehaus headshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

BOB NIEHAUS
Bob has recently been approved for ordination.
His home church is aChruch4me MCC in Rogers Park, IL, USA


“Let us pray for all the people of the world, especially those that allow love to occupy their entire heart despite the adversity they continue to face. Give omnipresent courage to the ones who work daily to restore hope and light.

God, allow your radical acceptance for all people to echo through every country. Grant each and every person the ability to feel compassion and love with the magnitude that you feel compassion and love for each of us.

Help us seek moments and positions to promote positive influence. Grant us the power to pull marginalized individuals from the margins and onto the stages and pulpits so that we may learn from their experiences. Encourage us to build communities of action-oriented love.

We ask this in all your holy names. Amen.”

Cole Faust HeadshotPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

COLE FOUST
King Of Peace MCC
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

Weekly Call to Prayer - Orlando Conference Center

God of Diversity, Universal One,
All our cultures and nations are created in Your image
We cry out to you in languages spoken, signed, and written,
We cry out to you in the painted image and the sound of music,
And you receive it all in love.

Grant that we may see You in everyone around us
In the languages and cultures we inhabit, and in the ones we don’t understand,
In the people we agree with, and those we disagree with or fear,
In the heart of every spirit on our glorious world.

Grant that we may learn to share You with one another
In word and deed, thought and action,
So that together we can bring about the New Realm you promised,
Where the lion lies down with the lamb
The stranger is welcomed with open arms
And the children live without fear.

Rev. Kate HarfordPRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. KATE HARFORD
University Chaplain and Pastoral Care Lead
Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK.


Sweet Divinity, always present in history, we come into your Presence praying for your assistance.

Breath… breath as in the beginning of times among us, Holy Ruah, bringing new vitality, renewing the joy to serve, please cheer up the leadership and communities to continue ahead.

We have a lot to thank but there is still a lot to do.

Times of definitions and new horizons are yet to come.

Give us a vision enlightened by You, so we can find paths to reach our brothers and sisters where they are, even though changes may be scary and our world struggles through thousands of conflicts —financial, warfare, racism, segregation and more…

So that fear will not defeat us, and we shall not shut down our lives to others, and we may see in our neighbor a richness and a joy that contributes to me, not that subtracts.

So that in this new encounter may we say with a wholesome faith, “Holy Spirit and us!” (Acts 15:28) and not with the arrogance of those trusting more in their lobbies than in divine action.
May the Holy Ruah grant us the gift of meeting our neighbor as he, she is, with her, his own language, culture, pains, joys, flavors, music…

Holy Divinity, we believe in you, we hope in you, and most of all, we love you… this is the only acknowledgment possible for today, amidst a divided, troubled world… we love you, we love… that is enough, when said and sustained coherently within our lives.

Until that wonderful moment of a final meeting, Dear Divinity, we shall be loving.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. GREGORIO TOBAR GUZMAN
Clergy at MCC Buenos Aires – C.A.B.A.
Philosophy and Theology Teacher, trained in Human Rights.


Isaiah 55:8-9 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God, we live at a time where so much is happening. There are so many opinions about where politics should go, and where our hearts and minds should be focused. And we can see that so many good things have happened that have set people free in recent history, yet so much has happened where the momentum seems to be in warp speed reverse. It can be so hard to see beyond our own lenses. It is easy to get stuck in our own way. Creator God, help us see the big picture more clearly. It is not so easy for us to see all that You see, and to think in Your ways, and understand all the things that happen around us.  Give us Your vision and Your ways of peace and justice, so that we can move forward with a better way of being. Help us to mend the broken fences. Help us to love the way You love. Help us to show the compassion that You have for all of us. Help us to be a bridge so that all people can see You through us.

Jesus, You tell us that what we do to the least of these we do to You. Sometimes we think the least are only the poor and overlooked. But who is poor and overlooked can differ in each of our minds. Help each one of us to look inside ourselves and consider whom we are most tempted to devalue. Who is it that we overlook or despise? Help us to pray for them and to want Your best for them.

For MCC, we want these same things. Help us to have Your thoughts, Your vision, and Your compassion. As we move forward, help us to see the future in ways that will help each one of us to see each other, and move forward with momentum together. Help us heal, as we look to bring Your healing presence to the world. Help us be Your community, as we seek to bring Your community into being in the world. Help us to be our best, so that we are closer to being Your best. We want to be a prophetic voice. Give us what we need to be that voice. Help us to love more like You so our caring and sharing with each other and the world exudes You. In Jesus name, and all Your other holy names we pray, Amen.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. DAVID ZIER
Associate Pastor
LifeJourney MCC
Indianpolis, Indiana, USA
Central US Eastern Network (CUSEN) Network Leader since 2013


PRAYER FOLLOWING GENERAL CONFERENCE

Today we pray for all the pastors and leaders of Metropolitan Community Churches, especially those newly elected at General Conference.

May they follow Jesus’ example of humble service. Help them to work together to see clearly the mission to which you have called MCC. Let them be examples of love in action as they maintain the life and harmony of our movement. Grant them a Spirit of bold trust, wisdom, patience, and insight.

Help us all to be thankful recipients of your many blessings, responding generously in all we do.

And, finally, remind us that we are accountable to you in all things great and small.

In all your names that we know, and all those we are yet to learn. Amen.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. RUTH JENSEN-FORBELL
Retired Clergy
MCC Emerging Ministry Team


God of many names, we awaken Wednesday to newly elected leadership in MCC. We ask for your anointing on them and on us as we move together to follow your leading to transform the world as we transform ourselves.

We pray for healing in our movement. Grant us the wisdom to understand the ways we participate in systems and structures that oppress. Give us the willingness to repent from those ways and the vulnerability to ask for forgiveness from those we have harmed.

Give us the courage to speak our truth when we have been wronged. Soften our hearts so that we may grant forgiveness to those who have harmed us. Transform our anger into passion for the work of justice.

Help us to acknowledge the good we see in others and to claim who we know in our hearts others to be.

We ask these things believing that you have called us into being and knowing there is still more work for MCC to do in the world. Amen

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. ELDER MONA WEST, Ph.D.
Council of Elders
Metropolitan Community Churches


Gracious and loving God, we seek the guidance of your Holy Spirit each and every day, but especially we ask for your wisdom during the week of our General Conference. We give thanks for all of those who have worked so hard to make our General Conference a reality. We give thanks for all of those who will lead us in worship and in business. We give thanks for our hosts and the staff of the hotel where we will meet. We give thanks for our guests who will inspire us by their wisdom.

As we come from around the world to gather in Orlando FL USA we ask for travel mercies for safety. As we join with sisters and brothers face-to-face and virtually, may we learn more about your love and grace.

We especially lift our prayers for those who have stepped forward to lead us as Moderator of MCC or as a member of MCC’s Governing Board. May we attend to your Spirit as we discern the direction you would have us go. May we find ourselves at the conclusion of our conference more united in our common love for you, for one another and for those yet to find MCC. And may we return to our home churches encouraged to move into our next half-century with enthusiasm for who you are calling us to become.

In the name of Jesus and in your many holy names, we pray. Amen.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. ELDER DR. CANDACE R. SHULTIS
Council of Elders
Metropolitan Community Churches


The joy of God is your strength ~ Nehemiah 8:10

Joy comes in the morning ~ Psalm 30

O God,

As we enter this 27th General Conference of Metropolitan Community Churches, we have many things to be grateful for and celebrate.

  • We give thanks for and celebrate the life and witness of The Rev. Elder Troy Perry. His founding vision continues to change our world, save and restore lives, and keep hope alive.
  • We give thanks for and celebrate the courage and conviction of MCC leaders and congregants in places as far separated as Missouri and Melbourne, yet united in their service to a love that knows no bounds.

Though we continue to face many challenges in our individual contexts and as a movement of faith, help us also to continue to hold to this truth: You are with us even until the end of the world, and in all things you work for good.

Be with us and work for good as we gather in Orlando. Help us to be mindful of the voices and contexts that will be crying out from afar to those with the privilege of coming together in one place.

Joy comes in the morning, says the Psalmist ~ after the night’s work, after the willingness to engage the issues and challenges that have been our burden to carry. — May every decision rendered be born of your will for truth prevailing, for just and right relationship, for courage in working through and casting out all forms of prejudice and supremacy.

You made us, O God, we belong to you. Guide our every thought, word and deed to reflect that truth. May we find our strength and promise in celebrating your power to restore and renew.

We make this prayer, trusting in the name and the example of Jesus the Christ. +Amen

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. ELDER PAT BUMGARDNER
Council of Elders
Metropolitan Community Churches


We lift up our eyes to You, God of many names,
So You can send the Holy Spirit to us, and inspire us for a new Pentecost
For the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches;
May it infuse the gifts of dedication, commitment, loyalty and sustained love,
Through the call to continue expanding the Radically Inclusive Message from the Gospel.

May we acknowledge that diversity and difference will always be enriching,
Even with our varied views and understandings we can reach unity;
And what is truly important is to continue responding,
After these first 50 years, to the vision and mission You have set for us all.

May General Conference be a time for prayer–in many languages, uniting and strengthening our faith.

In Your many names, and from different spots on Earth, we pray,

Amen.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. ELDER HECTOR GUTIERREZ
Council of Elders
Metropolitan Community Churches


Prayer for General Conference

God, Creator, Origin, Adonai, Provider, Healer, Shepherd,
amaze us.

Jesus Christ, Yeshua, Messiah, Immanuel, Prophet, Bread of Life, Cornerstone,
astonish us.

Holy Spirit, Ruah, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Spirit of Wisdom, Spirit of Counsel, Spirit of Grace,
astound us.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. ELDER INES-PAUL BAUMANN
Council of Elders
Metropolitan Community Churches


A Prayer for MCC

With our hands lifted up before you Eternal Creator and our spirits in celebration for the 50 years of faithfulness that you have demonstrated towards your Queer Tribe, we pray for the Universal Fellowship of the Metropolitan Community Churches.

Let the Islands sing praises to you as Puerto Rico gives thanks to the God who is greater than the storm.  May La Republica Dominicana and Haiti join hands and dance to you as Cuba bella opens her doors to welcome your love and grace.  From the majestic mountains of Monterey, to the musical praises of Guadalajara, through the indigenous blood of Puebla, may Lindo Mexico sing Dios es fiel. São Paulo cries glory and Rio de Janeiro dances before you! Let Brazil rise to declare seu amor é eterno. Let Argentina and Chile join in lifting your name to the nations. Latin America declares that you have been good!

We pray for our mother Africa and for our sisters and brothers in the churches of Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.  Renew in them strength oh God that they may sustain the hardship of persecution. Olodumare descend upon them. Ori be with them. Bring the ancestors to them, so that they may find the strength in themselves to enter the Cosmo and bring forth an African spirituality that will give liberation to your Queer People.  We pray for them oh Lord.

Lift high the Philippines as they exalt your name on their lips and flow in your love. May their churches to continue to grow.  We pray for Australia and New Zealand, bring life to their ministries and bless them with the love of your Son Jesus. We pray that your work will grow in South Korea.  That all of Europe will join in the movement of God’s Queer tribe and that the United States and Canada continue to join with the other queer saints to declare that you have been faithful these 50 years.  We pray for our founder, the Rev. Troy Perry, that you bless him with health and allow him to continue to see the fruit of his labor. We pray for the Elders of our Church, that you give them wisdom in their guidance.  Bless the Metropolitan Community Churches around the world and empower us to bring the message of inclusion, liberation, and love to the entire earth. Alleluia.

In your name we pray.  Amen.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

STANLEY RAMOS
Associate Pastor
Joy Metropolitan Community Church
Orlando, Florida, USA
Serves on the faculty of the University Of Central Florida School Of Social Work.


God of all mercy and kindness,

I call for your help amidst my struggles…

Many things can hurt, make me faint and make me will not to go on,

—I can see my brothers and sisters suffer from a loss or an illness…

—I can see many couples with difficulties in their relationships…

—I can see governments closing their eyes before the rights for everyone…

—I can see how insecurity and climate issues are the everyday bread in the news…

—I can see people losing their faith because they can’t find a reason for all this…

I acknowledge I do not have all the answers, but I want to cuddle in your arms, listen to your heartbeat and be calm.

Help me trust and be patient, in spite of my reasons not to be.

I want to listen. Help me hope in you.

Amen.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

DAVID MONGE
Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México. Has been a member of Casa de Luz MCC since 2010, where he has served as the leader of the worship ministry, Christian education, Lay Delegate and currently as the Interim Lay Pastoral Leader of this congregation.


God of life and renewal,
The rich symbolism of Resurrection isn’t just for Easter Sunday; it inspires us and gives up hope every day.
We have experienced new life, new hope, new beginnings, new joy, new determination time and again.
We have fallen but we have also gotten back up.
We have felt trapped but also have known the joy of release.
We have watched dawn break to put the night behind us.
We have seen winter give way to spring.
During this ongoing Season of Eastertide, and in every Season of life, may we know that you are lifting us up and guiding us toward the blessings we need most.
May our hearts be filled with Alleluias!
May our lives touch other lives with Resurrection Power.
Amen.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. DR. DURRELL WATKINS
Senior Minister, Sunshine Cathedral
Fort Lauderdale, FL USA


May is Eastertide and the season of Resurrection continues.  Therefore, I offer this prayer:

Resurrected One, celebrate with us in this season of Easter as we bear witness to the empty tomb that could not contain the resurrection power of Christ. Help us to know that, even today that same Spirit of Resurrection has the power to raise us from the places and circumstances that would try to contain us and box us in.  Give us a vision that offers new life, new hope and new possibilities.  Grant us a deep sense of peace as we face each day, fresh and new, knowing that in You all things are made new, even ourselves.

Living One who lives within us, bless us with the courage to claim Your passion for life, even when times are difficult.  Lead us to proclaim a Risen Christ that quietens our doubt and causes us to rise again and again to say, with conviction, Christ is Risen, Christ is Risen, Indeed.  Hallelujah.

And, at the end of this day, every day, let us return to the reality of our Eastertide faith.  Let us live into your love that is promised through an empty tomb, leaving behind and letting go of the fears, hurts and pains that reside in the darkness, that we might step into the light of the new dawn before us.

God of Resurrection restore us again and again, that we might dream dreams, and affirm our faith in a Christ who is embodied in us, claiming us as Your very own, made in Divine likeness and with a power within to transform our world; that heaven might come on earth.

This we make real, not in the AMEN of a prayer, but in the conviction of our Easter faith.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY

REV. DR. NEIL CAZARES-THOMAS Senior Pastor Cathedral of Hope, United Church of Christ


Essence of all forms of life,
Never-ending Source of Peace,
Our divinity,
Matrix of Love:

Your eyes saw our unformed bodies;
We are Your almond tree in bloom.

How can we not believe that You sent Christ to us?
Just as You are in the Christ and the Christ in You,
we are also in both.

What You have joined together, Divine Wonderful Uniqueness
no human decree can separate.

We ask You only to remind us
that our separation is only a dream.
We ask You to be able
to take Your hand as we return home
because we go together;
because You love us so much
that You only remind us
that we walk together,
and You expect us to bring Your light
to this world that fear has stripped
off love, life and hope.

We long to wake up from the dream
and recall that separation
never existed; nor between You and us
neither between us and ourselves
though we insist so much on crucifying ourselves.

Thank you for your redemption gifts
And for the strength you give us
to not fall
into temptation
to forget, to ignore
the legions of marginalized
the condemned of the earth:
the family stigmatized and wounded by its diversity;
the swarm of migrants and refugees
demanding a piece of dignified life;
the illegitimate, the illegal ones, those imprisoned for the opprobrium;
the anonymous murdered women who do have a name that burns us;
the children of the streets, little apostles of forgiveness;
the political prisoners of unbridled power, martyrs of the crazed world;
teachers and students, peasants and workers enslaved and missing;
miners trapped in the guts of insane greed;
youths exploited and objectified without modesty;
elderly people turned invisible, unquantifiable pain.
Long and parcial list of brothers and sisters so close
never oblivious.

Do not let us
deny them a place
on Your table
where everyone can fit
where there is also bread crumb
and sweet wines
Do not let us
feel any bit superior than all of them,
cleaner
better and worthy
more educated and deserving
because
if we were not actually One
we should not be able
to take a place at Your table
knowing
so many are still missing
with whom to share
with whom to smile together

We might have forgotten
that we are Your offspring
that we are brothers, family, one.
But You do not neglect us
As there is no amnesia that You do not understand
neither sadness that You do not know, nor love that You may ignore
no tears that You do not value
or pain that You do not mourn.

Beyond all dreams
There You Are
Your Holiness is ours.
Father, Mother
Son, Daughter, Spirit
All in One
Your Voice calls us to go home
Our gratitude
joy, holiness, healing
are our humble gifts
—lilies of forgiveness.

Grant us
to forget it all
but realizing
You are here.

Amen.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY:

ENRIQUE ZENTENO LÓPEZ: Lay Pastoral Leader for the ICM Libres por Amor (Free by Love MCC – https://www.facebook.com/icmlibresporamor ) at Puebla, México. He leads the LibreSoy (www.libresoy.mx) Community Broadcast Project, associated with Beacon of Hope Ministries from Clearwater, Florida, now also joined by the Virtual American MCC for Mexico and Latin America; he is launching the Hermanitos (hermanitos.org, lilbrothers.org) fund to support breakfast and meals for poor children living in the streets of Puebla. He serves as a volunteer translator and interpreter for MCC, and has been a member since 1982. He is a and a freelance graphic artist and communication consultant since 1974.


We give You thanks and praise, Holy Living God, for this day.  We rejoice in the good news of the resurrection, and all it means for us. We are glad, for You are with us, even when we hide in fear behind closed doors.  When it all seems so amazingly too-good-to-be-true, fill us with the courage we need to touch Your wounds, to put our hands in Your side, and to look into Your eyes in the faces of those who are hopeless and despairing because they do not yet know that You live in us and among us.  Give us the healing, transformative words that honor and extol You. Equip, and empower us to live faithfully—going, speaking, doing according to Your guidance and Your will to heal, and redeem, and bless. Breathe on us, and fill us with Your Holy Spirit, and with the joy and power of Your resurrection.  Amen.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY REV. JANICE LEVERING, M.DIV. Retired Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker (LSCSW), certified substance abuse counselor and hospital chaplain. Currently volunteer clergy chair of Congregational Care Ministry at MCC of Topeka, Kansas, USA.  Practitioner of Centering Prayer and member of “Pause for Peace” Ecumenical Centering Prayer Group in Topeka, Kansas, USA.


Thank you, Tenderness, for your laughter, those one that you make me feel inside when at times my eyes are open before the absolute wonder of life. Here the song of a bird, there the laughter of children in front two kissing passionately, in the air the rich smell of homemade food and my skin bristling with the kisses of the breeze. For a few moments I feel the divine joy, a generous and contagious joy and You are the one who calls me.

PRAYER SUBMITTED BY Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez  De León


“Now remain in my love…” John 15:9 Friend, thank you for the way you do with me, thank you because you have never really judged me. … most of the time I thought there was a lot that you were expecting from me and I tried to be perfect without time to enjoy who I really am. Today I ask you to show me the way of love, of love for myself, of unconditional love for my family, of selfless love for those I do not know well, and I ask you Friend, show me the way of love. You, who are one with our Mother, you who are who you are without more or less, help me to be, help me to love. PRAYER SUBMITTED BY Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez  De León


Today I walk through the city, oh Spirit of love. Give me the courage to feel in my skin, in my emotions those who I find on my way. Give me a compassionate look to receive the vulnerability of others, May that glance be a bridge that allows us to communicate not with words but in your silence that is the space of all possibility. I’m walking through the streets of this complex city, I’m open-hearted to listen to you in the others. PRAYER SUBMITTED BY Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez  De León


Save me O God of my insecurities, my fears, my anxieties… particularly when they become into suspiciousness, bitterness or apathy toward others. When I feel betrayed, attacked or despised; help me to embrace the abyss of vulnerability in such a way that I can better understand your desires and be truly merciful with myself and with others. PRAYER SUBMITTED BY Rev. Elder Margarita Sánchez  De León Since 1998 she is an ordained minister of MCC. Margarita, has served in the denomination in different roles, currently she serves as an Elder and as Dean of the Darlene Garner Institute for Iberoamerica Leadership Formation. She lives in Mexico with her wife Frida, their children Oshadi and Siboney and their three pets.


O Creator, you bring us peace that passes understanding in the midst of chaos. You bring us strength in the midst of chaos. We ask you to shower us with double portions of peace and strength. Let us not forget that those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will rise up on eagle’s wings. And, when we are feeling low, remind us the Lord’s eye is on the sparrow—and that eye watches over us. When dangers, toils and snares come, we know you’ll make a way. As turmoil swirls in our governments around the globe, in our streets and, maybe even in our homes, we know you’ll make a way. And, we know you’ll give us joy—joy that makes us dance and sing. Sing hosanna in the highest. Shower us with joy in the midst of pain and turmoil. Shower us with joy in the midst of the mundane. Make your presence known always. We lift thanks and praise to you, O Lord, for your faithfulness. PRAYER SUBMITTED BY REV. JASON CARSON WILSON is Minister of Liberation Formation at the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, DC and also is collaborating with the Global Justice Institute. He is ordained in the United Church of Christ and working towards dual-credentialing with MCC. Justice is his passion.


Holy One, Author of Life, Creator of Shalom, yearning for connection with us even when we turn away, Messenger of Peace Harbinger of Hope Witness for Joy Pure Love. We come to you again, knowing yet often forgetting You never leave us, not so much needing to ask You for what we need but to accept the extravagance You never stop bestowing, continuously calling to us calling on us to be all You have created, are creating. Your forgiveness for our failures knows no bounds, overcoming our sometimes stingy view of human shortcomings— we pray to be more merciful to others and ourselves, to be healers more than success seekers on worldly terms, to be caring in a world desperate for tenderness, to listen more than adding to the cacophony surrounding permeating deafening us. May we know that Your Body the whole of Creation is blessed: every molecule, cell, stone, mountain creature human and not, tree and bush, river and sea wind and sun and rain lightning thunder season tide— each breath we say we take— is Your gift freely bestowed. We thank You for diversity knowing that we and each face foot hand head muscle genital leg tooth tongue corpuscle root limb leaf twig pollen petal granite pebble drop and cascading falls Jew Muslim Christian Hindu Sikh Buddhist pagan atheist agnostic is not only blessed but more bearing Your love life beauty to all for all, whom You endlessly seek to unite in living tapestry without end. Amen.  Ashe. So may it be. PRAYER SUBMITTED BY REV. DR. ROBIN HAWLEY GORSLINE, 72. is a Queer theologian and poet. He serves as Writer-Theologian in Residence at MCCDC. Some of his writing can be found at, The Naked Theologian (www.TheNakedTheologian.blog), and some of his poetry at Faithful Poetics (www.FaithfulPoetics.net). He lives in Greenbelt MD with his husband of 21 years and their beloved standard poodle, Cocoa.


Way making God, miracle working Spirit, thank you for your presence when we need you most. Creative giver of life and light, steady us in times of uncertainty. Calm us in times of turbulent unrest. Be for each of us all that we need in those moments when all is stripped away and only your truth remains. Loving Companion, our hearts are, at times, hurting and broken. Remind us that our spirits can rise courageously in you. Help us to pay attention to your call to justice, compassion and love. Embolden each of us to answer with integrity, grace and wholeheartedness. Enlarge our capacity to love. Let us use each day as an opportunity to make a positive difference in each of our spheres of influence. Amen, Ashe, and so it is. PRAYER SUBMITTED BY REV. CATHY ALEXANDER is the Associate Pastor of MCC of Washington, DC. She is co-lead for the Eastern Network, serves as REVM faculty, and on the General Conference Planning Team. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, USA and enjoys talking to people and singing.


PANALANGIN PARA SA ISANG PANIBAGONG SIMULA

Mahal kong Panginoon, Ikaw ay puspos ng biyaya at habag. Salamat sa palaging pagbibigay sa akin ng panibagong-buhay bawat umaga, ng bagong pag-asa sa bagong taon na ito at isang magandang simula para sa hinaharap. Mangyaring patuloy na samahan mo ako sa bawat bagong hakbang sa aking buhay, gabayan mo ako, O Panginoon. Sa pagbukas mo ng bawat pahina sa aklat kong ito, tulungan mo ako na matuto mula sa mga nakaraang pagkakamali ko, hugasan mo ang aking mga kasalanan, O Panginoon. At habang isinusulat ko ang isang bagong kuwento sa susunod na pahina, isinusuko ko ang lahat para sa iyo, hawakan mo ang aking kamay upag makapagsimula muli sa isang malinis na talaan, O Panginoon. Salamat sa sukdulang sakripisyo na ginawa mo para sa akin, para lagi akong may isang pagkakataong magsimulang muli sa inyo. Maaari nawa na lagi akong maglingkod sa iyo sa mga bagong paglalayag na naghihintay sa akin. May ibayong pananalig at tiwala, tulungan mo akong pumailanglang na may pakpak tulad ng agila, hindi mapagod at magpanibago ng lakas ko sa tuwing ako ay lumipad patungo sa liblib na mga teritoryo ng buhay. Mahal ko kayo at nagtitiwala sa iyo Panginoon. Sa mahahalagang pangalan ni Hesus, Amen.

Prayer for a Fresh Beginning

Dear Lord, You are full of grace and compassion. Thank you for always giving me a fresh start every morning, a new hope for this New Year, and a bright start for the future. Please continue to be with me as I take each new step of my life, guide me O Lord. As you turn each page of my book, help me to learn from my past mistakes, wash my sins O Lord. And as I write a new story on a new page, I surrender all to you, hold my hand and start afresh with me with a clean slate O Lord. Thank you for the ultimate sacrifice you made for me that I always have a chance to begin again with you.  May I always serve you in the new voyages that await me. With my renewed faith and confidence, help me soar with wings like eagles, not grow weary and renew my strength every time I fly towards unchartered territories of life. I love you and trust you, Lord. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen. PRAYER SUBMITTED BY ANDRE CASTILLO is a paralegal in Washington D.C. and is a graduate of the University of the Philippines with a major in Broadcast Communications. Andre’s passions include family, travel, music, and floral arts.


God of Peace, You who yearn for justice, You who became known to us through the Prince of Peace, You who work in us and others to become peace-makers. We pray to you, O God, that together we might co-create peace, deep peace, in our world, in our relationships, and in ourselves. Where there is war and conflict, bring armistice, where there is violence and interpersonal conflict, bring reconciliation, where there is self-doubt, a lack of self love, and self-confidence, bring the assurance that we are perfectly and wonderfully made in your image, in all our diversity. We seek forgiveness for the times and ways we’ve sowed seeds of conflict and exclusion; for the times we’ve seen ourselves as better than others because of our nation, our culture, our religion, race, creed, or colour. Lead us to live in respect for the diversity in which you have created us. Guide us, O God, to see our differences not as a source of conflict, but as an opportunity to celebrate the full cornucopia that is creation. Lead us into interfaith harmony that respects each other’s traditions, into becoming an inter-cultural and inter-generational church and lead us and our congregations into the work of peace, justice, and human rights. In Your many names we pray. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. JEFF ROCK was installed as the new Senior Pastor at MCC Toronto in January 2018.


Holy God, you are the creator who breathes all life into being. Even as we thank you for our lives, so we pray that you give us the eyes to see your creation as you do. As greed and the desire for power overwhelm and control many in the world, so nations and peoples are displaced, and uncountable numbers of your people, each with a name, each with a face, each with loved ones, are thrown into confusion and despair. Holy God, give us hearts to feel their pain and respond with your love. Brother Jesus, you walked the earth touching those in pain, healing those with dis-ease. We want to lift to you particularly all who are living with HIV. Today this is becoming for so many in power, and even in our churches the forgotten and hidden infection. Shine your light anew on the loneliness and isolation which HIV cause. Let your church be your hands, your heart, your feet in the world, going where others fear to go, bringing your healing touch of inclusivity. Holy Spirit, your pass through and between your people. Fill us again with your wisdom that in the infinity of time from one second to another you guide us, your people into knowing your will for those we encounter. Amen prayer submitted by REV. PAUL MOKGETHI-HEATH lives and works in Sweden. His continued ministry to migrants and people living with HIV inform his daily prayer.


God of many names, you called MCC into being. You whispered in that “still, small voice in the mind’s ear” to Reverend Troy Perry, calling forth an audacious, outrageous vision of what your will looks like, when it is done on earth. A new faith movement was born and thousands of us have been transformed because of it. Now we, your faithful people, stand in a liminal space. We cannot go back to how things were and we do not yet know what you are calling us on to be. In our Easter Saturday waiting and uncertainty, we trust in the power and hope of Jesus’s resurrection story. We pray particularly at this time for the Moderator Nominating Committee as they guide us all through the process to find our next Moderator, and for all those who will participate in it. May the Holy Spirit bless them with wisdom and grace. Amen prayer submitted by REV. ELDER CECILIA EGGLESTON Radstock, England European REVM Faculty Supporter Relationship Manager, Send a Cow – International Development Charity


Gracious God, as our father and mother, today we call upon you to guide us through the hurt so pervasive in this world.  We ask this especially for our denomination, our church leaders and our local church congregations. As we discern the changes we need to make to transform ourselves and our world, we ask for your guidance and patience.  Each of us must listen carefully to know the direction which you already know is right. We are your people, oh, God. Be with us and guide us to a better knowledge and understanding of your word. We may question what direction we are heading.  You have given us free will and intelligence which can be used to question.  But you have also given us the perseverance to accept the events that come our way, and the faith to work through them to better our lives and the lives of those around us.  Who can know all the mysteries of life? Only you, God. Our reliance on you and your guidance is our commitment to you. Our faith in you is demonstrated by listening for your guidance and using your direction to the best of the abilities you have given us.  Our faith in you will allow our world to fall into place as you have set for us. We thank you for all you have done for us and we praise your name out loud. Amen. prayer submitted by MICHAEL CRUZ Lay Delegate, Spirit of Hope MCC, Kansas City, Missouri Mountain and Plains Network Facilitating Team Member


Testimony and Prayer: First and foremost, l give the glory and honour back unto the most high God for God’s love for us. God has blessed us, the emerging church in (Removed for Security), Uganda, to be part of our MCC Family. My humble prayer is we continue our relationships even more years to come as we continue to preach the Gospel of Christ (Love), because so far God has put us at a level where there has been awareness to the community around us-that LGBTIQ persons are like any other human being-knowledgeable, developmental, useful and helpful.  This is a credit, if not a distinction, we are carrying on our faces, all in the name of Christ Jesus. We are new creatures, with the different activities we are having each time we meet. We bless God for the partnership with MCC and ask God to strengthen the top leaders and Elders in MCC to stand strong, remembering that meeting challenges is good for one reason-it prepares us for great, great testimonies. Also remember that always the best is far in a distance; the future is very bright for us all. God has always promised us better destinies but has never told us how to reach there nor what we are to go through to reach the destiny. Let us continue standing together. Our future is brighter than we can even imagine. In Christ Jesus I pray, and we all shall say, “Amen.”

prayer submitted by

(Removed for Security)


Creator God, We know, even now, that whatever we ask of You, oh God, You will give to us. We pray that a mighty flood of prayer ascends to the heavenly realms and we, Your children, receive the bounce back of Your Glory. So we, the ministers of MCC, may continue to pray, stand up, speak up, for those who have no hope; those who have no voice, those who feel unloved, those who have fallen away from You; and especially, for all the separated, lost, abandoned, or forgotten children. God we seek Your mighty power of prayer, as we seek not only for personal transformation but the transformation of the world as well. Help us to be active participants in YOUR magnificent plan to raise humanity to a higher standard of care and loving-kindness. Thank You today and always for the gift of life, just as we are gifts from You, our Creator; may the actions of our lives be a gift back to You and Your people and not remain as unopened presents! In all that is holy we pray, and have confidence that our prayers are already answered, may it be so, Ashé, Ahó, and Amen!   prayer submitted by VELMA GARCIA Deacon, shaman, worship leader, long-time member of MCC Austin, Austin, TX. Member of the UFMCC Moderator’s Nominating Committee. Graduate of the MCC L.E.A.D. program (US L.E.A.D. 2) in Chicago, in 2013, in her second year as a North American L.E.A.D. faculty member and recently appointed a North American L.E.A.D. Core Team Member.


Zechariah 8:16-17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace, do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, says the Lord. Loving God, in these days of turmoil, unrest, uncertainty, violence and hatred against the most vulnerable amongst us, help us to have the courage to follow these words. Give us the strength of character, the openness of heart and the willingness to speak out, in truth, faith and love against those who spread falsehoods, who have created hostile environments for the less fortunate amongst us and those who stir up hatred, mistrust and anger towards others. Help us find the courage to stand up and speak truth in the face of lies, to shout love in the face of hate, to show peace in the face of anger and to reach out to those others do not see, the invisible in our communities. Fill us anew with your holy spirit that we might walk in Faith, Truth and Light the path you have laid before us. Let no injustice go unchallenged by the loving voices you have bought together within this holy fellowship. May we embody the grace and love you have shown us and take it into the shadowy places of this world. Empower us to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with you. Amen prayer submitted by ANDREW RAMAGE Pastor MCC Brighton, UK


Hear our cry, Lord we pray. Our faces down, our hands are raised. You called us out, we turned away, we’ve turned away. With ship-wrecked faith, idols rise. We do what is right, in our eyes. Our children now, will pay the price. We need Your light, Lord, shine Your light. All our hearts, all our strength, with all our minds, we’re at Your fate. May Your Kin-dom come, in our hearts and lives. Let Your Church arise, let Your Church arise! If we ever needed You, Lord, it’s now. Lord it’s now. We are desperate for Your hand. We’re reachin’ out, we’re reachin’ out. We need You now . . . Revive us now . . . We need You now. – “If We Ever Needed You” by Casting Crowns Gracious God, One Who is known to us by many names, we come together as a global community of faith in prayer, seeking Your presence, Your direction and a new outpouring of Your Spirit upon all of us. As a people struggling with the day to day realities in which we live, in the church and in the world . . . we need You; As the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches . . . we need You; As Your Universal church, comprised of diverse faith expressions and spiritual communities . . . we need You. As a people of faith who still dare to believe You are still the God of hope, healing, mercy and grace . . . we need You . . . now. We need You, God, to reveal Yourself to us as Jehovah Rapha, our Healer. We hear over and over again, “hurting people, hurt people; healed people, heal people.” We’ve learned “a disease hidden cannot be healed and a dis-ease hidden cannot be healed.” Help us, Divine Healer, to be aware of the ongoing work we must do, individually and collectively, to become “wounded healers.” We need to be the church the world desperately needs today. Jehovah Rapha, be the Healer we need for such a time as this. We need You, God, to reveal Yourself to us as Jehovah Jireh, our Provider. Even with our greatest desires to trust You with all our heart and mind; the truth is, in our humanness, we default to that which we think will pave the way to greater experiences of life and living . . . many times at the expense and to the exclusion of others. As our Divine Provider, remind us God, we are here today as Metropolitan Community Churches because of one who had faith in You, trusted You, believed You, earnestly sought Your face and direction in birthing and leading this, Your church . . . and You provided. Renew and reignite in us a greater depth of faith, prayer and steadfastness, keeping our sights on You, Jehovah Jireh, our Provider. We need You, God, to reveal Yourself to us as Jehovah Shamma, our Divine Presence. We acknowledge change and transition, regardless of what we want others to believe, is difficult for all of us; although we often want to say it is someone else who “doesn’t do change well.” By Your Presence God, help us to be honest with ourselves first, before we attempt to name a “truth” for someone else. By Your Presence God, help us to discover the power and freedom that comes from living honestly, authentically and transparently. By Your Presence God, help us to always keep in mind that the work and witness we do and create today is really not for us; it is providing an example and paving the way for those who will follow after us. By Your Presence God, remind us this spiritual quest You have invited us to be a part of with You, is not about us and is not about others . . . it is all about the Divine purposes and plans You’ve created for us all. Jehovah Shamma, if we ever needed You to be our Divine Presence . . . we need You now. YHWH, Who is known to us by many names and revealed to us in many diverse ways, in these difficult and challenging times in which we find ourselves, as a people of faith . . . regardless of our faith stream, theological understanding(s) or spiritual path(s) . . . remind us again we are all created in Your Divine Image, crafted for Your perfect plan for all of Your people . . . a perfect Divine plan rooted in unconditional love, unity, harmony, respect, inclusion, care, compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation. As we press on in faith . . . Comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable . . . for we need You now; Bend, mold, reshape and remake us . . . for we need You now; Reveal Yourself to us in new and newer ways . . . for we need You now; Renew us in deeper and more deliberate ways a keen sense of Your Presence . . . revive us now, and; Speak to us in bold, clear and clarifying ways as we listen for You . . . for if we ever needed You, we need You now. From our hearts to Your ears, hear our collective prayers, Jehovah Shalom, God of Peace. For it is in Your many Divine names and in the name of Jesus, the Rabbi and Christ, we pray. May it be so. Ashe’. Namaste. Amen.

Rev. Brendan Boone

prayer submitted by REV. BRENDAN Y. BOONE Senior Pastor FirstCoast Metropolitan Community Church St. Augustine, Florida, USA


Prayer from Lindsfarne Scriptorium, Pentecost Spirit of our Living God, May Your fire revive us. Spirit of our Loving God, May Your Blessing Embrace us, Spirit of our Gentle God, May Your Mercy enfold us, Spirit of our Mighty God, May Your Wisdom inspire us. Prayer – Holy God, We Stand Before you as many peoples who know ourselves to be Your beloveds. We give You thanks and praise for the saving work of Christ and for all the faithful who came before us. Each generation is called upon to renew the call of the Gospel of Love to their world. Bless now this generation of the faithful of UFMCC as they continue to discern their call and witness to our world. Grant them the grace and consolation of the Holy Spirit Who guides and shapes us. May this community of faith know that others are holding them in prayer. We claim the fulfillment of Your blessings and will in the name of Jesus the Risen One. Amen. prayer submitted by BISHOP REG C. RICHBURG Diocese of the North Atlantic, Christ Catholic Church Visiting Clergy, Assisting the Office of the Bishop/Senior Pastor, MCCNY


Our good God, you called us to worship you in harmony and promised to dwell among us however few. Bless Metropolitan Community Churches and its leaders. Guide other denomination to understand your love for everyone and unity in diversity. Give us courage and tender hearts to find the value of inclusion. Guide the interim moderator, the elders and the pastors. Guide each congregation and it’s leadership. We thank you God for the  founder of MCC, Rev.Elder Troy Perry, and for his family.  Give him good health and more wisdom. May the message of inclusion spread globally, especially as we enter the next 50 years. Let your Holy spirit guide and bind us in one cord, and may peace and love dwell among us. In Christ  we pray Amen. prayer submitted by ROBAI KHAYANJE Neema MCC and the Global Justice Institute Mtito Andei, Kenya


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1

God, as the summer winds down in the Northern Hemisphere, we are grateful for what You have done in our lives throughout the past season. For those of us who used this summer to re-connect with family and friends, to travel or to relax in our own homes, help us to recognize the privilege of our experiences, and to be grateful to You for the wherewithal to do what we did. For those of us who are students resuming our formal education, help us to develop an unending thirst for knowledge that will drive us to excel in our studies, grateful to You for the learning capacity You have given to us. For those of us who are teachers, help us to return to the classroom with renewed enthusiasm, grateful to You for the gift of imparting knowledge You have given to us. For those of us who are parents or are in parent-like roles, help us to be perpetual sources of nurture and encouragement despite our own stresses and fatigue, grateful to You for the children whose lives you have entrusted with us. For those of us whose daily lives are not impacted by the school year, help us to remain motivated to make our best efforts in whatever we do, grateful to You for the abilities that you have given to us. For those of us working on Fall Programming in our respective churches, help us to discern which specific offerings would have the greatest impact on the lives of our members, grateful to You for the opportunity to contribute to the growth of congregants in concrete ways. And God, for our Sisters and Brothers in the Southern Hemisphere who will be entering spring, we ask You to provide whatever is needed for a smooth, exciting and meaningful transition.  We are so grateful to You that our denomination has grown to span both hemispheres. We ask these things in Your many names, Amen. prayer submitted by CATHERINE MEADE  Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, Canada Director of Music, Soulful Worship & Praise Ministry North America LEAD 10 Participant


Kind and Gentle Spirit God – be with us Let your wisdom and energy strengthen and renew us We are your people – you are our Shepard, Friend and Teacher You lead us in the path of Goodness to follow in Love’s way. We walk into uncertainty with the willingness to do good works, we are not afraid. You are with us You bless us and touch us, You feed us and companion us our cup overflows with abundance. You have prepared a place for us. We shall continue the faithful journey together. For we dwell in your heart forever. Amen. prayer submitted by SUSIE “SUZI” CHIN Interim Board Member MCC New York


Have you heard this one?* Question: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time.   (Cue rim shot) But seriously, have you ever tried to eat an elephant? I don’t really mean eating an actual pachyderm, but have you ever been so overwhelmed by a problem, an evil in the world, maybe lack of mental health care or systemic racism or intractable poverty, that it  seemed impossible? That it felt like you were trying to eat an elephant? In other words, have you wanted to help in a situation but find it so large and intimidating and complicated that you have no idea where to start? That’s how it feels to me in the world right now.  So many things are happening all at once – in our families, in our communities, in the political sphere, in the environment – that it feels like I have a seafood fork trying to consume 13,000 pounds of problems. It’s tempting to just shake your head, to give up, to leave it to someone else. Luckily, we are not responsible for solving the problems of the world.  Rather, as believers, we are pointed towards our individual places of action by discerning the call of the Spirit.  The Spirit moves and, if we are paying attention, we are equipped with just the right size fork and companions with which to share the meal.  We will never “fix” everything, after all, we are only human, but if we listen and make a move, we can take a sizable bite of our share. Heavenly Parent, We confess that the troubles of the world confound us even as we are complicit in their creation.  We live in a time of unimaginable turmoil. We watch in horror as your beloved children are treated like criminals just for walking down the street, visiting a park or entering their own homes; when poverty and homelessness and injustice, war and murder and destruction are the reality for so many; when the very earth herself is imperiled by carelessness and greed.  We feel helpless in the face of such suffering – paralyzed at the elephant – sized task. Open our eyes, God, give us our forks, show us where to bite, equip us with the stomach to do what needs to be done, each as we are called to do. Let us show your grace and mercy and justice as we endeavor to be your people in the world. Amen *With sincere apologies to vegetarians everywhere. prayer submitted by REV. S. BRAE ADAMS Provisional Pastor Open Arms Metropolitan Community Church


Beloved God, Father and Mother of all of us, We direct our many and diverse voices to you to cry out in the middle of this hectic world… Today, those who hold power only think about themselves, their interests, their security, their health, their own roof, their families… Today they “sold for money to the righteous, and to the poor for a pair of shoes, (…) today that the poor are exploited, and ruin the poor of the earth (AMOS 2 and 8) Today, the systems in which we live forget the old man, close their hearts abroad and attack the different. We pray, God, for the people who are forced to comply with norms that they do not understand or, simply, they are not called to live in that way imposed by systems that pretend to speak in your name. Forgive them God of great mercy! And listen to our prayer today! Today, as every day, grant us Your Peace. Peace to go through the persecutions of the now. Peace to live in authenticity and always speak the truth. Give us Your Peace and Love; To transform us once more, to die and resuscitate, to your will now and always. Love to face each relationship, each commitment, each responsibility … Love to conquer new and good things. Your Kingdom of Love. May your Kingdom come to us! Strengthen us, Lord, with the joy of Your victory on the Cross! Joy of Resurrection in the face of the many and diverse deaths that we see and know every day! And so, Lady of creation, we can subvert everything … And full of Peace, full of Love, full of Joy, we overcome our own hectic journey and we can sow more and more Faith, Hope and Love in our homes and communities. In each work and recreation space, in each Neighborhood, City, Province, State and Country. May each step we take, personal – community or denominational, be in light of Your Word and under the protection of Your Cross. Here we are, Holy Spirit, lift us in Your wings beyond what we know how to expect or imagine. We bless you with all the names, we praise you, and we thank you: for all you have done, what you are doing and for all that you will do. For all that you have given us, you are giving and you will give us. In the name of Jesus, your beloved son, redeemer and our friend. Amen. prayer submitted by DAVID DE JESÚS DE PASCUAL Pastor,  Metropolitan Community Church of Tigre Buenos Aires, Argentina


Thread of Love, Weave your way into our days and nights inspiring us with your abundant grace, beauty, delight, wonder and wisdom. Weave a way for us to see the good within ourselves and each other. When difficulties arise, and they will, weave within us a spirit of patience and holy presence to be with each other and not at each other. Bless our going out and our coming in and may your Light which was in us before we knew it and is at work in us now be our Thread of Hope. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. JOE COBB MCC Governing Board


MCC is in a place of transition. We are in a place of questions, and for many uncertainty. Some are in need of healing and reconciliation. Others are in need of restoration and renewed joy. Some are experiencing a sense of division. Others feel united in common struggle. Some feel despair. Others feel hopeful. Some are in a space of lamentation. Others are in the midst of celebration.  This is the human condition, to experience all of the best and worst parts of ourselves at the same time. And it is in the midst of all of this that we are called to make change in our world and bring about liberation for all.  — Sacred Spirit of wonder, we pause in our hectic and distracting, joyful and sad, hope filled and despairing lives to assume a posture of contemplation and humility towards ourselves and each other. May we remember that we all struggle in various ways. May we remember that we all hunger for justice. May we remember that we all live on both sides of privilege and oppression. May we remember that we all came to MCC for a reason; out of hunger for healing, a sense of call, a desire for a community who reflects the divine. May we cultivate in ourselves a spirit of curiosity. May we cultivate in ourselves a spirit of generosity. May we cultivate in ourselves a spirit of collaboration. May we cultivate in ourselves a spirit of vulnerability, and forgiveness. May we remember to make the space for others that we hope is made for ourselves, and that we do you the divine as we do to the least of those among us. Amen prayer submitted by JARED VÁZQUEZ Associate Director of International Diversity and Inclusion Metropolitan Community Churches


Psalm 100: A Psalm of thanksgiving. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into God’s presence with singing. Know that the Lord is God. It is God that made us, and we are God’s; we are God’s people, and the sheep of God’s pasture. Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving, and God’s courts with praise. Give thanks to God, bless God’s name. For the Lord is good; God’s steadfast love endures forever, and God’s faithfulness to all generations. — Loving, Creator God, we come before you in awe, for you are beyond all things, above, below, all around, everywhere. You made us all in your likeness and love us beyond measure. No praise is too great for you. We are your people and we love you. You are good and faithful for all eternity. This is too great to comprehend. Unbounded love, accepting love, unconditional love for everyone. Let us know this truth deep in our hearts and let it liberate us to live as the people you have imagined. This is a truth too wonderful to understand. Let it revitalise our lives. Jesus, Our True Shepherd, we give you thanks and praise for the love that you have shown us. We thank you for showing us the way to love you, ourselves and those around us. We know love is the only way that brings us closer to you. Let our hearts be full of your love. Let us live with you. Your love is solid and lasts beyond time. We can rely on you. Spirit, Our Guide, show us the way to live, show us the way to share your love. Fill us so that we are overflowing with you. Let our hearts, minds and souls know your gentle touch, let us know the Spirit’s roar so that we can ride the wave of your love. We pray in name of the Creator, the One who is love, and the Spirit who is our guide. Amen. prayer submitted by LEWIS REAY Member of MCC Oasis and Our Tribe, Augustine United Church Edinburgh, UK


I encourage you to replace every single word in this prayer you don’t like, with a word that suits you better. Nothing should be in your way when trying to establish a connection to god. I love to use this technical phrase for praying: make a connection, turn on the radio, go online… I believe God is always on air, online, trying to reach us. But we have to turn on the radio, establish a connection, to hear him, feel her and talk to him. We often forget to turn that switch, sometimes we even forget there is a switch. Sometimes the switch is damaged or broken and needs repair. For some people the switch may be not fixable anymore during their lifetime. But that doesn’t mean god isn’t with them. I believe that even the wish to able to pray, to make that connection, to turn the switch, is a prayer in itself – a powerful one. I invite you to take 3 deep slow breaths into the nose and out through the mouth, realizing your feet on the floor and the points of contact to the chair you are sitting on, before you begin to pray. Get yourself ready to establish your connection to god: — Holy God, Creator, Motherfather, wearing all the colors of skin and gender. In times I feel anxious, depressed and desperate, help me to remember: YOU are always with me, in me, even in times I cannot feel you – residing in my inner core that can never be destroyed. Jesus Christ, Son of Man, best friend and teacher. In times I feel weak, helpless and oppressed, help me to remember: YOU are always with me, in me – Christpower, the force of empowerment, friendship and love. Holy Ruach, holy female ghost, dove of peace. Help me to switch off the news channels more often; they are celebrating and praising violence, war and destruction. They are leaving me in restlessness, they poison me with fear and anger, trying to replace the good news Jesus Christ teaches us, with the latest sensation, the latest disaster. Be with me holy Ruach, inspire me, help me to develop my courage and vital energy, to help myself and others. Amen prayer submitted by STEFAN BAUER Board Member MCC Cologne Germany


Our God who is doing a new thing, making a way out of no way, with rivers of life-giving water to flow through our desert places, bringing beauty everywhere; Our God who is doing a new thing, who created us, redeems us, calls us by name, who is with us through flood and fire so we have no reason to fear; Our God who is doing a new thing, we thank you for your Spirit, who transforms us to become more and more who you have created and called us to be. Our God who is doing a new thing, we are here to listen to you and one another and your world and discern what that might be, what and where new life is springing up, and how we might find our way there, each of us individually and all of us communally. We ask now for help to experience you in new and different ways and people and customs, even those that are uncomfortable for us. We ask now for help to ensure what we are doing is discerning spiritually together and not just deciding strategically what seems best at the moment. We ask now for help to empower us to move forward in new life with you, expressing gratitude for your goodness, and being both faithful and fruitful in wherever it is you call us. O God, lead and guide us throughout our journeys in a mighty and powerful way! Holy Spirit, grant us wisdom, discernment, and clarity of mind and purpose as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus to lead with both compassion and boldness that we may live out the mission to which you have called us. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. DR. LISA HEILIG (she/her/hers) Resource Development Specialist Office of Church and Ministry Development Metropolitan Community Churches


Most Holy and Gracious God, you created all things and called them good. You made all of humanity in your image and called that creation good. We are also told that we are awe-fully and wonderfully made. So, God, when we look at ourselves and those around us, how can we be anything but amazed at the complexity and intricacy of what we experience. We are in awe of sunrises and sunsets. We marvel at the beauty of oceans, rivers, lakes, steam’s and ponds. We wonder at the glory of trees and flowers. We are amazed at the variety of patterns in the land from skyscraping, ice covered mountains to dry and dusty deserts. Liberating God, release us, then, from the prejudices we may carry toward others who look different from us or speak a different language or worship you in a different way. May we see one another as you do, as beloved and precious, as beautiful and treasured, as unique and cherished. For when we do, when we let go of our bigotry, then, just maybe, we can see You in our neighbors and in our enemies. In the name of Jesus. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. ELDER DR. CANDACE R SHULTIS PASTOR, KING OF PEACE MCC St. Petersburg FL USA


Community means caring: caring for people. Dietrich Bonhoeffer says: “He who loves community destroys community; he who loves the brethren builds community.” A community is not an abstract ideal. We are not striving for a perfect community. Community is not an ideal; it is people. It is you and I. In community we are called to love people just as they are with their wounds and their gifts, not as we would want them to be. Community means giving them space, helping them to grow. It means also receiving from them so that we too can grow. It is giving each other freedom; it is giving each other trust; it is confirming but also challenging each other. We give dignity to each other, in a spirit of trust and of dying to oneself so that the other may live, grow and give. – Jean Vanier “From Brokenness to Community” Holy and Amazing God, make Your presence known to us today. We come to You, just as we are; saints, sinners, people who make mistakes. Help us to let go of anything that is not of You. Help us to know that our self-worth does not depend on our ability to hold on to our own lives, but our dependence on Your Strength and Power to release ourselves into Your hands as clay to be shaped and molded in community. God of Wisdom and Strength, make Your Holy Presence known to us today. Give us Your Vision for our lives, our community and our world. Clear away the fog and the weights of complacency through Jesus the Christ, so we may catch a glimpse of Your Glory in the here and now. Help us O God, to live and grow in community by Your Holy Spirit to become what You have dreamed and created us to be. We pray in your many names and in Jesus’ name. Amen prayer submitted by REV. GINA DURBIN ASSOCIATE PASTOR FOR CONGREGATIONAL CARE King of Peace MCC St. Petersburg FL USA


Most Gracious God We come before you in thankfulness and humility for all you have done for us.  Let us be a beacon to the world of what love for one another can do. Lend us your strength to live as you have made us to live. Lend us your love to love as you have asked us to love. Lend us your compassion to be compassionate to our neighbors, because all people are our neighbors. Help us to be patient and remember that all things happen in your time, not ours. Help us to greet each day with a new heart and to always be thankful for your love. We ask you to open the minds and hearts of those who would persecute us for being who you have made us to be. prayer submitted by CHRIS AND DAWN SOUCY Members, King of Peace MCC Saint Petersburg FL USA


Loving and gentle God, we come to you with full confidence in your steadfast love. Have mercy on us as we speak our hearts – we who often do not know how to pray, inspire us and give us words where we need them, and silence where it speaks most eloquently. We pray for all world leaders: may they promote life, peace and justice for all peoples, and may we be quietly and Godly governed. We pray for all victims of war throughout the world and victims of violence, especially remembering the people of Syria and Yemen: grant your protection and peace. We pray for the refugee and alien: help us to look after the interests of the stranger among us. We grieve for the hardship of those who have had to flee their homes and countries in many places around the world, grant us insight and compassion. We pray for all who suffer economic hardship: bring relief in measure of your abundance. We remember those who have gone before us in the peace of Christ, may they rest in peace and rise in glory. Give comfort to all who mourn, and hope to the hopeless. We lift up all who are in need of healing, in body, mind and spirit, for the suffering we do not understand, for the despairing and the forsaken. We especially pray for those who have no one to pray for them; grant your healing, help and wholeness. We ask all these through Jesus Christ, our mediator and advocate. Amen… prayer submitted by MIKE STEEN MCC OF THE COACHELLA VALLEY California, USA


Hebrews 13:1-3 Continue in brotherly love. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were bound with them, and those who are mistreated as if you were suffering with them. Holy God of life and love, God of outcast and downtrodden, God of refugee and safe harbor, hear our plea: Sometimes it is unbearable to witness the brutality of this world. We stand paralyzed, not knowing what to do, where to begin, how to help. Yet we know doing nothing is not an option. As we sit comfortably sipping our cappuccino in our local coffee shop we try to drown out the cries of your children around this earth. In neighboring towns, even in our own communities. We try to ignore the rounding up and dismantling of families, we try to breathe through the inhalation of entire cultures of color, we so often avert our eyes and pretend that we haven’t lost our humanity and that we are not powerless to an oppressive and broken system.  Yet Creator, we are not heartless people, we just feel so inadequate to handle the task at hand. You are the God who set the captives free, who parted a mighty sea, who let it rain manna from heaven, who knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb. You teach us how to love one another as we have been loved by you, which may be your biggest miracle yet. Oh God liberate us from fear which keeps us complacent and fills us with a mighty righteous indignation to take a stand against bigotry, hatred and the manifestation of pure evil in this world. Creator, we submit this to you in your many Holy Names and in the name of Jesus the Christ, may it be so. prayer submitted by REV. JENNIE M. GARCIA-KITCH Pastor, aChurch4me MCC Illinois Hospice Chaplain Chicago, Illinois, USA


Creator God, Allow us to be open for You to do what You need to do in us. Then You can work through us in all the ways You wantto. The busyness of our lives creates a “let me see if I have time for you” mentality.  Help us to create time and space to identify You in the people around us and in the world around us. Let our spirits be sensitive to the needs of others. As a global movement, let our hearts be open to all the ways You might use us. May we embody You today and every day. Amen prayer submitted by COLLIS J. FLOYD 2019 General Conference Programming Team Co-Chair


Oh God, come to my assistance; Oh Lord, make haste to help me. We come before you in our varied states: Some joyous; Some grieving; Some frightened; Some calm. May we claim and know the promise of Psalm 27: The Lord is the Light and my salvation God, these are frightening times: With wars and rumors of wars– Where refugees are shunned and Racist violence is rampant– While the powerful lie and mislead. The Lord is the Light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? In times such as these our endurance fades: The news is too much The arguments are too much Daily fighting for the humanity of our fellow travelers–and our very selves–to be recognized… Is too much. In those moments may we remember The Lord is the Strength of my Life, whom shall I fear? We don’t know how the details will play out But we do know how the story ends. We do know how the story ends. God, be with us in the struggle, as you’ve promised. Be with us as we speak, Be with us as we pray, Be with us as we write, Be with us in every breath. May we sing it, claim it, and remember this day to Wait on the Lord and be of Good Courage Amen, and Amen. prayer submitted by REV. LORI MCPHERSON Member of the Governance Committee Baltimore, Maryland, USA


“In times like these we need a Savior; In times like these we need an anchor. Be very sure, be very sure Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!” Ruth Caye Jones, 1943 Gracious God, You are our anchor and our Savior. When we are being oppressed, be our Savior. When we are being killed in other countries because of our love for You, be our Savior. When we are killed just for worshipping You, be our Savior. In times like these, watch over us and comfort us. Help us to remember that Your Holy Spirit is always with us to guide us, protect us and provide wisdom and discernment. When we are alone, remind us, God, You are with us. Help us to remember our spiritual family, all over the world, who are being harassed for simply living the life You created them to live. As we live our authentic lives, protect us! May this be our prayer today and every day. Amen prayer submitted by REV. WANDA FLOYD (she, her, hers) Metropolitan Community Church Emerging Church Specialist


We are living in a fast-paced ever-changing world that favours individualism, materialism, classism, racism, ableism, and all the -isms that give power to some over others thus allowing situations of injustice and oppression. We might be victims ourselves or we might be close to others around us who are suffering from oppression. We ask: where are you God? When will your kin-dom come? In our tiredness and desolation, we might feel tempted to sit and wait for God to do all the work. It is not easy to have conversations about our culture, race, identity, feelings, perceptions, and many other issues. However, hearing these stories, even the ones we might not agree with, are opportunities for growth; Let us put our differences aside to work together and to let God work through us. Let us embrace our diversity, joining together in our common fight for social justice. It is in our struggles and our discomfort, in our pain and our hurt that we can draw on the power of our community, our commonality in our mission, and the certainty that, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can make a difference and be the “change we want to see in the world.” Let us be God’s instruments in proclaiming to a world that needs healing the liberating gospel of God’s unconditional love for all. prayer submitted by REV. CARMEN LLANOS Pastor of Hispanic Ministries and Interfaith Dialogue at MCC Toronto


“For we are God’s masterpiece. Created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things that God has planned for us long ago.” -Ephesians 2:10. Loving God, As we come before you as individuals, and as one body in this short time of prayer help us to remember that we are your masterpiece. In the times that we feel insignificant, let us remember our value to you, that we are created in your image, and called to be your ambassadors upon this earth. In the times that you call us forward to speak out against injustice in the world, and stand for what is right: help us to remember that you planned our works for us before the foundation of the world – and that you know us intimately in all of our complexity, weakness, and strength. And in the times that we feel alone in the wilderness, instill in us your peace that transcends all understanding, that we may cry with boldness and passion “Prepare the way for our God”. In Jesus’ name, Amen. prayer submitted by LACHLAN BOEREE Crave MCC Australia


Loving God, as a people of faith, we may be standing on high mountains or in deep valleys; we need Your love and protection to bring us closer to You. In times of growth we feel Your presence ever close; yet in our valley times we many not find You so readily. You are always there God, above those dark clouds that loom upon us sometimes. Help us to meditate on the immeasurable love You have for each one of us; we feel the swell of Your love grow in our hearts. Holy one be with us, as we search for our Sabbath time; our time of pastures green and rest, of knowledge and wisdom. Let us find the sacred in the ordinary times, quietness in the noise, contentment and peace in our difficulties. Help us God, to find that still small voice within and know that you are GOD. John Rutter encapsulates it quite simply in the words of his hymn: “For the beauty of the earth; for the beauty of the skies; for the love which from our birth, over and around us lies.” How beautiful You made our earth and we are so grateful that we live with such beauty all around us God; let our grateful hearts help us to do all we can, to help preserve Your wonderful creation; we are human beings, part of your divine plan, given freely and with Your grace; we thank You for Your constant love and guidance. Amen prayer submitted by REV. JANICE BOWKER Senior Pastor God’s Acre MCC Ocala, Florida, USA


“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers … Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”   (excerpt from “Here’s to the Crazy Ones,” by Jack Kerouac)

Sacred Source of the Improbable, you invite us into your ridiculous and crazy upside-down realm of foolishness: foolishness that insists the last shall be first, and the first shall be last; foolishness that compels us to love our enemies and turn the other cheek; foolishness that declares us loved because of who we are, not in spite of who we are. We give thanks for your servants who have laid a foundation for us: for Troy Perry, who was crazy enough to believe that your LGBTQ+ children have a reserved place at your table of grace; for Freda Smith, who was crazy enough to call for the inclusion of women in all leadership positions; for Nancy Wilson, who was crazy enough to passionately proclaim an affirming, all-embracing queer theology. Spirit of Holy Foolishness, infuse us with your spirit of craziness. May it fall fresh on us. Use us – deeply flawed, though we may be – to your glory. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. CHARLEY GARRISON Senior Minister Central Texas MCC Waco, Texas USA


Loving God We live in times where in places like Afrin, Eastern-Ghouta, Yemen and so many other places people are forced to flee because of their religion, their ethnicity or the socio-political group they belong to – forced to flee war and oppression. In times where in places like Chechnya, Egypt, Iraq and so many other places people have to flee their home countries because of who they love or how they express their gender. Yet Loving God your stories, your commandments and your churches and other communities of faith give both refugees and the people working to support them strength in these difficult times. Indeed your commandment that “You know the heart of a stranger for you were strangers in Mitzrayim (The Land of Egypt)” is the most common commandment in your Torah. We pray for the people who have had to flee – because of their religion, because of who they love or for many other reasons. Be with them. We ask for strength for those people of faith and no faith who work in churches and many other organizations to help refugees. Be with them. We ask for inspiration for people in MCC churches around the world who work with refugees. Be with them. Amen prayer submitted by PHILIPP BRAUN MCC Cologne and currently in the European L.E.A.D. Program


Oh you who are the perfection of love, harmony and beauty Lord of Heaven and Earth Open our hearts that we hear your voice as it’s constantly speaking in us. Lest we get deaf to your admonishing words Let us look deeper into our souls and let us know that it’s you who gives sense and form to our lives Let us look further that we overcome our limited horizon which hinders us to go new ways. Let us look into ourselves, give us the strength to overcome our false ego which hinders us living truthfully, and help us to prepare the free room in our hearts for you Let us look around that we won’t think just about ourselves but also about those people living with us Open our senses for the other one’s needs Give us the power to love ourselves, for only when we accept ourselves as we are, we can go to other people and see our neighbor in them Give us the gift to go to those who hate us, exclude us, and defame us Let not hate, anger, fear and despair lead us astray Lead us ever and ever on the path of love, harmony and mutual understanding Draw us nearer to you in every moment of our lives Until in us is reflected Your grace, Your wisdom, Your beauty, Your joy, and your peace AMEN prayer submitted by MADELEINE Cologne, Germany


Holy God, Jesus welcomed everyone who came close to him. People like Zacchaeus, Prostitutes, Fishermen, The Suffering Man at the Pool, The Lepers, The Thieves, The Betrayed, Children, Women, The Sick, The Beggars. Everyone who has a broken heart. God’s gift to us is giving us God’s Son. May we follow in the way and example of Jesus the Christ. Amen.

prayer submitted by

(Removed for Security)


Dear Savior, We thank you for your life in our lives, for the sacred gift of our sexuality, for being part of a greater MCC family around the world. We honor you and praise you for resurrecting us every day, with you and within you. Give us the strength so we can be living sacraments of your love. May the rainbow, our symbol, always be a signal of your alliance with humankind. May it be our joy, our breathing, our inspiration! Give us a heart like yours, so your light may shine upon us every day. May brightness, color and fulfillment of life be seen whenever we walk by. We joyfully celebrate 50 years of our denomination, in the diversity we are, and through the voice manifesting to the world. This we ask you and give thanks, in every single name you are known and called. Amen! prayer submitted by REV. FRANCISCO FERREIRA JUNIOR Religion scientist Associate Pastor of MCC Fortaleza Ceará, Brazil


PRAYER FOR MCC O God Almighty, praise and honor are yours forever. Look upon the UFMCC with favor give good health to our founder Troy Perry, his successor Nancy and our present interim moderator, Rachelle. Guide all clergy and laity in their furtherance of inclusive Ministry. May your love embrace in all. In Jesus Christ is our prayer. AMEN PRAYER FOR THE WORLD O God of all Creation, you gave us this World to be a home for all. Look upon the many nations where strife and conflict abound. Help us to realize love for all. May the mighty and the low live in harmony. May your spirit always remind us of our duty to care for the environment and our neighbors. May we accept the call to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. Amen   prayer submitted by REV. MICHAEL KIMINDU Pastor Neema MCC, Kenya


Blessed be, God dwelling at the highest heavens, just as you dwell in our lives, our smiles and tears, blessed be as you dwell in our pain and the delight of Beingness. Blessed be God, in Whom we move and exist. Teach us to perceive your presence and praise you. Teach us that this brief, short existence does not require us to be small. Help us contemplate life as the unfathomable mystery that is. In boredom and pain, no less than in emotion and in joy – the joy of touching, tasting, smelling, feeling the sacred simplicity, because we are unique, precious and with a life and grace of our own at those times. Blessed God, dwell delightfully within us. So be it. prayer submitted by REV. CRISTIANO VALÉRIO Development Coordinator of MCC in Brazil


Creator of the Universe, we ask you today to share a strong, loving communion with us. We know your name is love and freedom, and to commune with you is to share your love and freedom, as you are the origin of all the universe. We ask you today to help us be as you are, love life, love and live in freedom. Help us love as you do, without conditions, bias or constraints. We find ourselves oppressed and we need to be liberated, help us love and release all of your creations, especially human beings, because when we oppress them, we oppress ourselves, and as we do so, we deny your gift of freedom. Help us love others just as they are, without conditions, help us accept them as they are without any judgement, clean our heart today from any emotional venom, and unleash our mind from all prejudice so we can live in a true love and peace, freely with all of your creation. Today is a very special day, we open our heart to love again, to say to each other -I love you, with no fear, a true and free ‘I love you’. Today, Creator, help us be like you. Thanks for everything granted today, especially for the freedom of being what we really are. Amen. prayer submitted by ISAI LOPEZ PAULINO PASTORAL LEADER ICM Veracruz, Mexico


Lord God, as mother and father of love and infinite grace, set us before You so we can ask once more, to lead us every day to the core of Your will. We want to do Your liberating and transforming will in this world, sharing with all people in suffering, that the fruit of injustice and intolerance will not prevail. Wear our feet, anoint our hands, so we can fight the good battle and promote peace and justice, at this land tarnished with the blood of the oppressed, the excluded and the marginalized. We wish to restate once more, our commitment to build your community here and now. We thank You for everything you have done, for all You will do, and we praise and adore You in Your many names, Amen. prayer submitted by TRANS PASTOR ALEXYA LUCAS EVANGELISTA SALVADOR Sao Paulo, Brazil


DEEP CALLS TO DEEP Listen to your soul’s cry Spirit’s longing Deep calls to deep Be attentive Slow to speak You’ll find what you seek Whispers of compassion Truth that heals Divine wisdom is revealed Be still my beating heart Do not panic or be in a rush Focus on God Pause… Breathe… Trust. prayer submitted by REV. BEULAH DURRHEIM SENIOR PASTOR Good Hope MCC, Cape Town, South Africa


God, in the light of this dawning New Year, we come to You, kneeling in reverence and awe. Help us to remember this year, all year, that You are our God, and You are One. There is none like You. We are dependent on You, every day, for breath and bread, for friendship, justice and peace. In this season of Epiphany, we ask questions of meaning. What do you want from us? What does it mean to follow Jesus in these times? What have you called us to in this hour, for this year – the year that You brought into being! — that stretches before us. Like us, it is filled with hope and dread, confidence and uncertainty. We say goodbye to a year that was filled with climate catastrophes, division and violence. At the same time, miraculously, more people than ever devoted themselves to peacemaking and to human rights. Help us breathe in Your dreams for us, and help us engage faithfully with communities, structures, and institutions, including Your Church, including MCC. When we fail, forgive us, and allow us to make amends. When we succeed, let us humbly acknowledge that it was a team effort. Let us know that You are with us in every encounter, and that we can make a difference right where we are, even in small ways. Let us never succumb to apathy or despair. Anchor us, this year, in Love, and in You. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. DR. NANCY WILSON CO-PASTOR SunCoast Cathedral MCC Venice, Florida, USA


Dear God, As this year comes to a close, we give thanks and praise for the many blessings You have bestowed upon us. We are grateful for those You have put in our path to guide us so we may continue the work You have called us to do. As we look forward to the new year, we ask You to be in the center of our lives and the focus of our churches. Help us to continue to reach out to those who need You, feed those who are hungry, and fight for those who suffer injustice. And we pray we have the courage to be a voice for those who have no voice and empower those who are weary. We pray for our denomination as it moves into its 50th year. Millions of lives have been changed by MCC, and there are countless lives yet to touch. We pray for our denominational leaders as they guide us into a changing world. Bless them and give them wisdom to see our future and the direction You would have us go. And God, most of all, we thank You for Your unconditional love so that we are able to live an authentic life in honesty and truth. Amen prayer submitted by PASTOR SUSIE BRENNER BEYOND THESE WALLS MCC Punta Gorda, Florida, USA


(Finnish Language) Me olemme Jumalan kansa, me olemme Pyhä kansa, me olemme yksi. Me olemme Jumalan luomia, me olemme erilaisia, kaikki samanarvoisia. Tänä aamuna aurinko nousi ja valaisi luomakuntaasi. Tänä aamuna sinun armosi ja rakkautesi on minulle tarjolla. Auta minua, että uskaltaisin heittäytyä koko sydämestäni niiden varaan ja luottaisin siihen, että sinä kannat. Anna rohkeutta avata suuni, kun näen sortoa ja epäoikeudenmukaisuutta. Anna viisautta, että en lietsoisi vihaa vaan rakentaisin ymmärrystä ihmisten välille. Auta näkemään sinut kaikessa luomakunnassasi. Yhdistä meidät niin, että me olemme yksi. Tätä pyydämme sinun nimessäsi Jeesus Aamen We are the people of God, the Holy nation, we are one. We are created by God, we are all unique, we are all equal. This morning sun rose and brought light to this world that is your creation. This morning your love and mercy are available for me and us all. Help me to throw myself with my whole heart to be supported by them and trust that you are there for me and us. Give me the courage to open my mouth when I see oppression and injustice. Give me wisdom so that I would not incite hatred and instead would be building understanding between people. Help us see You in Your creation. Unite us in You so that we may be one. This we ask in Your name Jesus Amen prayer submitted by TARJA PYYKKÖ PASTOR OF LIVING WATER MCC Helsinki, MCC Emerging Church


Heavenly God, My heart is filled with both sadness and joy as I take this moment with my family across the globe to still my mind and center on those around me. As I contemplate refugees in detention centers in my own country, I am filled with shame, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me. Witnessing the social imbalance between our Indigenous community and the non-indigenous community, leaves me bewildered, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me. Hearing our local politicians hide behind their fear through cruel statements, often directed at minority groups, makes me angry and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me. Knowing that our trans-family face dangers often daily in their lives, breaks my heart, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me. Watching our elderly become more fragile touches such a strong vulnerability within me, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me. I struggle seeing the class systems across the world widen the divide between the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have-Nots’, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me. When I allow myself to reflect upon the lives of those living in other nations, I witness their toils and suffering, I am filled with sadness, and yet, my heart is overflowing with joy and love for those around me. Loving Parent, you understand the conflicting feelings I carry each day and Your heart is overflowing with joy and love for me. May my pain be transformed into compassion and my joy and love be transformed into action. Wonderful Maker, please watch over our leadership teams, both globally and locally, to ensure their eyes remain on God. In all they do. In all they say. And in all they want. I acknowledge those forever-famous past MCC Leaders who have guided and shaped our global-church and we send wisdom and courage to the current ones – may they have the support they need to lead us into tomorrow in accordance with Your will. In You and with Your love of us, we are able to carry Your Word and Your love out into the world. May You continue to shower us with constant reminders, so that we honor and live out Your plan, daily. Finally, God, I send eternal gratitude to You. In Your many beautiful names, I am humbled and eternally grateful for the gift of faith. Amen prayer submitted by SARAH DE ROOY LAY DELEGATE MCC Sydney, Australia


A Prayer for the People of Puerto Rico My Dear God. My Precious Creator. It is with a broken heart that I render prayers for my beautiful land of Borinquén. Isla de mis padres. Puerto Rico of my heart. The Land of my ancestors has been destroyed by the winds of wrath and the drenching rains of despair. María has descended upon them with a fury that devastated the land we know as home. For once we sat down by the rivers in the Land of the Boricua and sang “Preciosa Preciosa Te llaman los hijos y hijas de Borinquén.” But today, we pray in the great words our poet and psalmist Rafael Hernandez (translated to English): The mourning is heard everywhere Through my wretched Borinquen, yes.   And sad, the peasant goes Thinking, saying, Crying like this -along the way: “What will become of Borinquen, my dear God, What will become of my children and my home?”   Borinquen, the Land of Eden Which when the great Gautier sung  He called “The pearl of the Seas” Now that you are dying from your sorrows Let me sing to you too Borinquen, my love”* Create in her a new land oh God and renew and right spirit in her. May her mountains once again flourish with the green pastures of your grace and may the valleys be filled with the promises of your love. Heal and restore my land of Puerto Rico and let my Boricuas rise with the love and pride that you have instilled in us. For when the Lord brought back the captive ones of Borinquén, we were like those who sang: “The Lord had done great things for us and we are glad… yes we are glad… For the Lord will do great things for us.” “Cuando el Señor trajo a los cautivos de Borinquén, éramos como aquellos que cantaron que el Señor hizo grandes cosas por nosotros… Y nos alegra que sí, estamos contentos.”  Amen.   *Rafael Hernández Marín, Lamento Borincano, 1929. Sony Publicación “Se oye este lamento por doquier,  en mi desdichada Borinquén sí. Y triste, el jibarito va, pensando así, diciendo así, llorando así por el camino, Qué será de Borinquén mi Dios querido Qué será de mis hijos y de mi hogar? Oh, Borinquén la tierra del Edén La que al cantar el gran Gautier Llamó la perla de los mares Ahora que tú te mueres con tus pesares Déjame que te cante yo también Borinquén de mi amor” prayer submitted by PASTOR STANLEY RAMOS, FOUNDING MINISTER OF ALABANZA MCC East Orlando Florida, USA


Loving God, as we prepare to observe World AIDS Day we thank you for the multiple advances in care that have been made over the past 30 years.   We remember our brothers and sisters that have succumbed to the disease. We pray for all those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS who remain consigned to the margins.  Provide them comfort and remove the isolation and fear that creeps in and envelopes them.  Help them to remember that you love them just as they are, and that you are always there beside them, watching over them and guiding them. We ask that you break down the barriers of stigma and shame that leads to isolation and fear.  Help us to examine the intersections between poverty, immigration, class, race, sexism and other “isms” that contribute to new diagnoses. Give us the courage to confront these issues and their intersectionality and “live as people who are free, not using our freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” Amen prayer submitted by DR. DAVID WILLIAMS, M.D., M.P.H INTERIM PASTOR MCC CHRIST THE LIBERATOR Program Officer/Coordinator Health and Wellness Metropolitan Community Churches


Creator God, As we hear, see, feel, and perceive you, help us to emulate your grace. Show us that ability transcends the five senses and all human talents and abilities. Remind us of the words of Jesus that say, “Whatever you do for another person, you do it for me.” Guide us as we plan our services, meetings and events-to plan as if we are expecting your children who are deaf, who are blind, who have an intellectual disability or a mobility impairment or who have a food or environmental intolerance. Show us that, with planning and forethought, we can be more accessible and inclusive as a Church and Social Movement. Encourage us to seek out people in our communities and organizations who serve people with disabilities, who can answer questions and provide training for us as we travel the long and ever-widening road toward full access and inclusion for all of God’s people. Give our leaders and educators, who offer training and guidance, a creative mind and a heart of grace. Help us to be intentional as we work together to be accessible and inclusive. When we don’t get it right, bring us together in peace and forgiveness to learn from our mistakes, so we can be ready for the next opportunity to be even more accessible and inclusive to all of God’s people, and, as you invite all of us to your table, everyone can truly “come taste and see,” or “come accept and receive” the goodness of God’s inclusive love for all people. Amen. prayer submitted by JIM EAST LAY DELEGATE OF TRINITY MCC Gainesville, Florida, USA Officer of the UFMCC Disability Access and Inclusion Team Working Group General Conference Team Planner and LEAD 10 Cohort


Wonderful God, your creations are limitless.  And, our ability to comprehend your creation is limited by our humanness.  It is through unconscious, yet self-imposed, blinders that we judge others who are different from ourselves.  When we are given a chance to glimpse beyond our preconceptions, biases, and social constructs, allow us to comprehend that we have no idea of all that is possible.  So, at this time we ask You to remind us that differences are only part of Your creation.   Help us to spread this understanding to others, particularly at this time when we say the names of our transgender siblings whose lives have been brutally taken.  Help us to guide others to know that the vast diversity and variety of self-expression are all of your creation, and therefore, good.  Amen. prayer submitted by STACY SANDBERG MCC TRANS* AND DIVERSE GENDERS WORKING GROUP PROGRAM OFFICER


“Peace”

“It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart” (unknown) In the season of Remembrance let us draw together in prayer with a focus on the Mental Health and Wellbeing of all in our diverse and multi-layered communities. Creator God In a world, full of uncertainty and unanswered questions we look to you Oh God to be the one who keeps us steady. We ask that you let each one of us feel your presence as we come to you in prayer. We remember all who are affected by the challenges of mental illness and the struggle to stay well. Be the light that guides our way. We remember all with lived experience of recovery who are role models for their peers. Be the light that guides our way. We remember all those who care for their lovers, family and friends. Be the light that guides our way. We remember all who give their time to volunteer in support agencies and programmes. Be the light that guides our way. We remember all who follow their calling to work daily in mental health care. Be the light that guides our way. We remember all who did not make it to this day and those who may not see tomorrow. Be the light that guides our way. We remember all who rise up to challenge injustice, prejudice and stigma. Be the light that guides our way. We remember all who reach out to the stranger in the street with a smile of acknowledgment. Be the light that guides our way. We remember each other through the difficult days when minutes last for hours and hours last for days. Be the light that guides our way. We remember each other through the times of joy and happiness which we wish would never end. Be the light that guides our way. Transforming God, be the light that guides our way as we strive to make a difference, living with hope for peace in our hearts and minds. Amen prayer submitted by REV. MAXWELL REAY COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTHCARE CHAPLAIN National Health Service (NHS) Lothian, Edinburgh, Scotland.


What is your prayer for the women of MCC? Holy One, Giver of life. Our ravaged spirits cling to You As waves of Injustice and hate overwhelm Your children. Instill in us the capacity to hold within our hearts and souls Your peace and your hunger for justice. Equip us with courage and strength that we might bring into existence Peace over the land and amongst your children.  Burn into our hearts the desire To drive justice over the mountains of injustice and to foster care for all of your creation that longs for enough. Empower us to speak for those who have been silenced and to bring with us those who have lost the step of their march. We pray knowing that our hearts are changing as we ask. In your many names. Amen. prayer submitted by JACKIE CARTER SENIOR PASTOR AT TABLE OF HOPE MCC Wichita, Kansas, USA Program Director for the Women Working Group


Veritable Real I love you passionately in the heavens, the moon, the stars, in the wind, in the land and in the sea. Veritable Real I love you passionately in my breathing, in the touches on my flesh, in the trembling of the orgasm, in the energy that unfolds, runs through my spine, explode in You. Veritable Real I love you passionately in joy with the other, in favor of others, in the embraces of the latter, in the glow of the eyes of the humble. Veritable Real I love you passionately in the revelation in Jesus, the Christ, who welcomes me in love, teaches me to love, expands my existence and turns my ultimate concern into You, into me, in the other and in us. So be it, for so it is. prayer submitted by SANDRO AURELIO S. BRASILEIRO PASTORAL LEADER OF MCC BELO HORIZONTE Specialist in Contemporary Theology.


The theme is light in the houses of God. In this case the chandelier is located in a mosque. You find precious chandeliers in most of the mosques all over the world. The pictures invite to meditate. Mediate about light. The light of the sun. The light of bulbs. The light in our hearts. Mediate about being the light of the world. One of the pictures invites to have a second glance. Then you will discover the calligraphy painted at the cupola of the mosque. prayer submitted by JOCHEN GEWECKE LAY DELEGATE Salz der Erde MCC, Stuttgart MCC’s Europe Network Leader. Art photographer, freelance graphic designer and author in Mössingen, near Stuttgart/Germany.


Tēnā koutou !!! This week I wanted to share with you a spiritual practice that our local MCC really loves, ‘Prayer Doodling’. I was thinking/praying about Exodus 20 and doodled as I let my thoughts wonder. I won’t explain my scribblings but I do encourage you to doodle your own. https://youtu.be/CpBZaQsq-zc  Enjoy your time with God – who knows what conversation you’ll have? Ngā manaakitanga Blessings prayer submitted by REV. EMILY WORMAN PASTORAL LEADER Church in Progress MCC, South Auckland, New Zealand


Holy, Eternal and Wonderful God, We are grateful to You for Your wonderful calling to our lives and for the opportunity we have to follow Your voice, as did our dear brother, Rev. Troy Perry. In the same spirit of radical inclusion, we invoke Your Holy Presence over all the congregations of the Metropolitan Community Churches throughout the world this week, when we have completed 49 years of existence. Blow Your Holy Ruah on the laborers selected by You in the ICM’s to preach love, grace and mercy to all people. Bless our lives and our local ministries, as well as our particular charismas. May all of us, in our diversity, from Pentecostals to traditional, spread the beautiful colors of the diversity of Christ Jesus on Earth. Help us also, Holy God, to be inspired by the ministry and spirituality of Francis of Assisi, whose memory we celebrate in these days, may we learn to honor and care for Your Earth, as well as the creatures you have delegated to our care. Pour Your peace in a troubled world that is full of hate. May we be sowers of Thy peace, bearing love where hatred abounds and forgiving to be forgiven, as taught by the brother of Assisi. In the precious name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, Amen prayer submitted by DIAC. LUIS GUSTAVO SILVA PASTORAL LEADER – ICM Baixada Fluminense Vice President – ICM Rio de Janeiro Historian, Master in Social Sciences from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro


God can be found in beauty and artistic expression, and in dance, love-making, drumming and poetry. God is in a church and a garden and the back of a cab. We pray to God to live a life of joy, to receive blessings, to find comfort in humbleness. We find God when we seek forgiveness, when we bring mindfulness and celebrate beauty; When we find-or create-comfort, hope and protection in times of our own-or other’s-grief or pain; When we bring peace in times of violence or find hope when mired in disillusionment or anxiety. God is what we do. God is how we treat each other. God is what we focus on and strive to understand when we seek Love and understanding. . .and salvation. God is mystery and God is also in plain view. God can be found in every language. . .and utterance-in some hugs and smiles And in every spoken and unspoken yearning for understanding. . . God is in prayer and faith-practiced and pursued, challenged and found. On and On. . . prayer submitted by   TODD CLARK Founder of www.theDCPLACE.com (A Progressive online video magazine) Washington, DC USA


In this time of rhetoric and chaos, we need to remember that God has a feminine side.  I want to share this prayer that is always close to my heart.  It was taught to me by my father, a non-practicing Jew. Certainly, the concept of the Holy Spirit as feminine is not a new one, and it’s not without historical and scriptural support. Currently, the tradition of associating the Wisdom of God (Sophia literally means “wisdom” in Greek) with the Holy Spirit and to think of that Spirit as feminine is a minority view, but I’ve never been afraid to be in a minority.  I love the idea of a Mother God, of a feminine Holy Spirit. It’s comforting, and has Biblical support. “So God created humankind in God’s own image, in the image of God they were created male and female.”  (Gen 1:27 NIV) “Mother God, there are so many decisions to make.  I don’t know what is best for now or the future.  You said if we lack wisdom, all we need to do is ask you. I really need you to put wisdom into my mind, heart and soul today.  I need the peace of your nurturing love.”   Amen. prayer submitted by CAROLE WEISSMAN ST. JOHN THE APOSTLE MCC Fort Myers, Florida, USA


You are here, Holy One, wherever we are You are already present. We want to be here, too, with You, in You, breathing in the dark luminosity of holiness, knowing we dwell, no matter continent or archipelago, nation, tribe, age, or faith, in the deep womb, the web of life, You created for us at conception, from which our body emerges and grows cell by cell, muscle by muscle, where our soul finds, draws, rest and refreshment. For life, we give You thanks, and more even for the love from which all life grows, praying earnestly to live each moment in the fullness of You, knowing Your desire for humanity and all creation not only to survive but also thrive. May it be so. Amen. prayer submitted by   REV. DR. ROBIN GORSLINE WRITER-THEOLOGIAN IN RESIDENCE Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, D.C. Greenbelt, Maryland, USA


“O God, our Help in ages past, Our Hope for years to come, Our Shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal Home! O God, our Help in ages past, Our Hope for years to come, Be Thou our Guard while troubles last, And our eternal Home!” ~”Our God, Our Help in Ages Past” by Isaac Watt

Gracious and present Holy One who is actively engaged with all of your created order, thank you for your presence. Thank you for being available to each one in the here and now, and in the great beyond. Your Spirit comforts us in times of grief, supports in times of faltering, provides stability in times of uncertainty, and hope in times of hardship. As we move in this larger world and in each of our small worlds, shelter and guide us for the work of justice that is before us. Demanding One, help us to remember and learn from the joyful and painful past. Sheltering One help us to fix our hearts upward and inward for guidance and to co-create solutions. Provocative God, help each of us to be moved to action outward in service to you. Challenging God, assist each one to develop compassion and forgiveness. We need your help to work against injustice and systems of oppression. Strengthening One, as the journey continues, thank you for attending to each of your creations. In your many names we pray. Amen, Ashe, and so it is. prayer submitted by REV. CATHY ALEXANDER ASSOCIATE PASTOR Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, DC Arlington, Virginia, USA


Jesus Prayer Applied To Our Churches Our Creator who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. God, you are the one who has called us into existence – our MCC Movement, each local MCC, and each of us as individuals. Thy dominion come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We long for Your fondest dreams to come to pass for our churches, for our movement, for each of us – Your dreams, not ours. Give us this day our daily bread. Every one of us is facing some immediate, pressing need.  We look to You to supply exactly what we need right now.  We trust You to supply exactly what we need right now. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Help us to let go of the grievances we have against one another with the same ridiculous grace we hope to receive from You. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. We are keenly aware that, if we’re not careful, we can end up doing harm, instead of good.  Help us to do good! For Thine is the dominion, and the power, and the glory forever. Regardless what happens, we remind ourselves that Your power and glory will prevail.   Amen. prayer submitted by REV. JEFF MINER SENIOR PASTOR LifeJourney MCC Indianapolis, Indiana, USA


Source of all love, Fount of all mercy, In these turbulent times reveal yourself as anchor. Remind us you are They who never changes even in the midst of tumult. Empower us to stand grounded in the foundation of your hope. Guide us to the secure shelter of the permanence of your peace. Propel us forward even when standing our ground feels like the most we can manage. Spur us to work when labor is needed and to pause when rest is due. Help us to arm ourselves with compassion and to be fueled by the legacy of those who fought before us. Compel is to be courageously honest in our dealings with one another. Let us rise each morning clothed in justice with full equality fixed in our minds and radical love fixed in our hearts. Holy Spirit, breathe on us the fire and the fervor of what is right. Then, may our every inhalation be a prayer and may our every exhalation be an Amen. prayer submitted by ANNETTE BILLINGS Poet, Playwright, Actress, Nurse MCC of Topeka Topeka, Kansas, USA


Loving God, teach us your wisdom through stories of peoples, communities and our lives. Teach us the wisdom of our MCC heritage and from our forbearers. Speak to us through our worship, our fellowship and our conversations. May we have the silent and discerning heart to listen to you and one another, but most especially to the cries, laughter and hopes of the poor, the marginalized and the rejected of our world. We pray for those whom you have called to study theology and ministry in preparation for ordained ministry. We pray for lay leaders who continue to learn and teach in our churches. We ask this prayer for the continuing learning and development of our leaders, members and communities so in doing we may continue to participate in the work of justice and love in the world. For it is only in the realities of life, the use of our critical thinking and the sincere opening of our hearts that we truly learn, grow and are formed by and through your Spirit of truth and compassion.  These and many other things we pray in all that is Holy and Loving and through Jesus whom we follow. Amen. Mapagmahal na Diyos, turuan mo kami ng iyong karunungan na masusumpungan sa mga kwento, sa mga kumunidad at sa aming mga buhay. Turuan mo kami ng karunungan mula sa kasaysayan ng MCC at ng aming mga na-una at nanguna sa amin. Mangusap ka sa amin sa pananambahan, sa pakikipagkaisa at sa aming mga pag-uusap. Nawa’y magkaron kami ng tahimik at mapanuring puso upang marinig ka at ang bawat isa, at higit sa lahat sa mga pagtangis, sa mga pagtawa at sa mga pangarap ng mga mahihirap, marginalized at mga itinatakwil ng mundong ito. Aming dinadalangin sa iyo ang mga lingkod mong tinawa upang mag-aral ng teolohiya at ministeryo para sa ordinasyon ng pagpapastor. Gayun din pinagdadasal namin ang aming mga layko na patuloy na nag-aaral at nangangaral sa aming mga simbahan. And aming mga dalangin na ito ay nakatuon at naka-ugat sa patuloy na pag-aaral, pagyabong ng aming mga leaders, members at mga kumunidad upang sa pagkatututo kami ay patuloy na makibahagi sa gawain ng katarungan at pag-ibig sa mundo. Pagkat sa realided lamang ng buhay, sa pagkamit ng ating kritikal na pag-iisip at pagbubukas ng aming puso lamang kami tunay na natututo, lumalago at nahuhubog sa pamamagitan ng iyong Espirito ng katotohanan at habag. Eto at marami pang ibang bagay ang aming ipinapanalangin sa ngalan ng lahat ng banal at mapagmahal at sa panngalan ni Hesus na aming sinusundan. Amen. prayer submitted in English and Tagalog by JOSEPH SAN JOSE LAY PASTORAL LEADER MCC Quezon City Philippines


Find a tree, find one quickly.  Put your hands on the trunk, or lean your aching head in and rest your third eye on the bark, you could sit down and lean your heart against the wood, maybe if appropriate (or not) and possible…climb up and have a seat.  However you connect with this creation that is simultaneously rooted and playing in the wind the one thing you must absolutely do is… Breeeeeeeeathe Breeeeeeeeathe Breeeeeeeeathe “After saying this, Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit…” (John 20:22). Let the Spirit come and live in us so that every breath is a prayer. Find a tree, find one quickly. Repeat daily. prayer submitted by   REV. S. DAVID WYNN LEAD PASTOR Agape MCC Fort Worth, Texas, USA


Holy Ruah, You who are the air that drives us, The wind that blows our bodies, To thee we pray, breathe in us! Holy Ruah, You who are the invisible mystery of the Trinity, Force that can not be contained, To thee we pray, move on us! Holy Ruah, You who are the maternal power of creation, Who makes living beings give birth, To thee we pray, bear in us! Holy Ruah, Embrace the Metropolitan Community Churches, Dispel us from what separates us, Kiss us with compassion, Involve us in the power of your love, Penetrate us with sorority, To thee we pray, Sweet Holy Ruah, find pleasure in us. prayer submitted by ANA ESTER FREIRE Feminist Theologian Religious Studies Doctorate Student MCC BELO HORIZONTE Brazil


Holy God, the Almighty Creator, the settler of the displaced. May you raise up and listen to the cries of the suffering and hungry people that have been thrown into seeking asylum and being refugees in foreign lands. O God, you created this world to be self-replenishing in its own resources to be able to feed every creature of your creation that walks the lands, but why God have you let your children be so spiteful, resentful and grow cold hearts towards those that are lacking in one way or other? Why God do you let your people fear the unknown about their fellow brothers and sisters that have managed to migrate and escape brutality or persecution? And lastly God, why do you let humanity, your best creation, make some people refugees? O Holy God Almighty, I call upon your loving grace to calm down the anger that’s bottling up into people’s hearts and also turn every negative and evil thought towards asylum seekers and refugees into cool heads and loving souls. Please God, I raise my prayers unto you that this world may find a way to live in harmony and peace without both natural and artificial disasters that push humanity into diaspora. Dear God, may you touch the hearts of all the leaders in those countries that are either harbouring brutal regimes holding their people hostage into unending crisis like Sudan, Syria, and Somalia or facing dictatorship, like my own country Uganda, to disown the evil acts of LGBTI persecution and brutal treatment and torture of political opponents. I pray for an end to the violence perpetuated by all those rebel groups like Isis, Al-Shabaab, ADF (Joseph Kony) etc. Also, God, may you continue to bless and provide for first world countries like America, Great Britain, Australia etc. that offer a warm-hearted welcome towards refugees. Help them to overcome any political opponents with cold hearts spreading malevolent propaganda into the public for their own selfish political gains. Dear God, in your hands, I place my cries and thoughts towards goodness, better settlement, refugee integration and an ultimate ending of wars and disasters on our planet, so that peace, happiness and love may prevail and prosper. prayer submitted by ALEX MATOVU MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND FUNDRAISING COORDINATOR MCC North London, England


Dear God and dear Lord Jesus, Please take away all illness, sorrows and fears. Make that no houses are burnt anymore. And make peace on Earth and take away war and injustice. We thank you for the beautiful community we have through MCC. We thank you that we all got a bed and something to eat. We pray for the poor all around the world, who have no home nor something to eat. Feed them with all that they need. I want to ask you, Lord Jesus, for forgiveness of all of my sins, and thank you that you died for our sins on the cross. In the name of Jesus, Amen. prayer submitted by NASCHI-JOHN ROSS MEMBER MCC Cologne, Germany


The Zulu greeting used in South Africa, “Sawubona” simply means “I see you” and the response “Ngikhona” means “I am here”, and so we pray together this week: God, when we gather for communal worship, we dance and praise to the rhythm of the beat singing: Sawubona – “I see You” And You respond: Ngikhona – “I Am Here” When we look at the mysteries and wonders of all creation, we declare with deep admiration: Sawubona – “I see You” And You respond: Ngikhona – “I Am Here” When rain softly soaks the dry, drought driven earth, our thoughts quietly proclaim: Sawubona – “I see You” And You respond: Ngikhona – “I Am Here” When we observe one human gently and generously helping another, we whisper: Sawubona – “I see You” And You respond: Ngikhona – “I Am Here” When we look to the cross and see the compassion driven sacrifice, our forgiven souls humbly respond in gratitude: Sawubona – “I see You” And You respond: Ngikhona – “I Am Here” When we breathe in Spirit who searches all things, even the unfathomable things of You oh God, our hearts cry out: Sawubona – “I see You” And You respond: Ngikhona – “I Am Here” When we pause long enough to meditate and pray, to honour our soul’s longing, we will hear Your tender voice saying to us: Sawubona – “I see you” And we respond: Ngikhona – “I Am Here” Selah….. prayer submitted by REV. BEULAH DURRHEIM PASTOR Good Hope MCC Cape Town, South Africa


Sometimes I pray quietly and reflect about a few moments of Mary’s life that surely happened, and that I like because it happened in silence. At the end, it is true prayers that are hidden in our room or in the monastery of our heart. I want to remember the moment when Mary’s parents made love and conceived their daughter in silence. I want to remember the whole life of Mary, who spent it  in silence, she did not travel like Paul, but was much more humble and greater than Paul. I want to remember the day Mary was born from the womb of her mother. I want to remember the moment when Mary decided to give herself to God. I want to remember Mary’s engagement with Joseph. Notwithstanding the normality of these acts and the fact that none of the important people of that time realized anything, God was preparing His Revelation among us. prayer submitted by Daniele Pertici Il Cerchio MCC Milano, Italy


We are alive but a small moment in infinite time. You, God, are the creator of time. We claim this when we affirm that you set the universe in motion and separated day from night. We also claim that every life is precious in your sight, no matter how long or how short in our calculating of time. So, we thank you for those who have come before us, especially in MCC. Thank you for the lives that have been touched and changed by MCC’s message of Your love for every person. God, help us to live each moment we are alive. Empower us to see the capacity that our lives have to make a difference in someone else’s life. May we know that our prayers join the prayers of all your people in this moment. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. ELDER DR. CANDACE R. SHULTIS Senior Pastor, King of Peace MCC, St. Petersburg, FL, USA MCC Council of Elders


God of love who made us in your own image, We thank you for the diverse tapestry of your creation. With the stars, moon, sun, and sky, We praise you in glory and uncertainty. With the flowers that bloom with vigor and fragrance, We strive to live our lives as brilliantly and beautifully as we can. With the leaves that turn from green to yellow, orange, and red, We marvel at the stunning power of change. God, today be with us as we dwell in the tension between peace and conflict, Love and loss, birth and death. Grant us opportunities to be your voice of justice and mercy today. Allow us to notice ways you are present in our world. Challenge us to find you in difficult people and places. With the breath between our lips that cools upon entry and warms upon exit, Bind us together as a global community that works in your name. As we start our day, we offer these prayers of our hearts: –          For the tasks of our day and the people in our lives… –          For Metropolitan Community Churches… –          For our global community… God, hold these prayers in your tenderness and grant us assurance that you are at work within, around, and between us. Amen. prayer submitted by LAUREN BENNETT MCC Conference Coordiator and Divinity Student at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC


Oh Glorious God – through your manifest Grace we begin this day anew, overflowing with your Divine Love.  We celebrate and give thanks for your Church, that in and with and through MCC we find community, solace, forgiveness and the succor of ultimate acceptance and love. Now filled with Your Spirit, guide us to share that radically inclusive love and acceptance with everyone we encounter today, for while their journey is different, we all share the same path.  Let our example to our fellow sojourners reflect the Gospel of Our Savior, that they may see that Light Immutable that shines in our hearts.  And may you bring us to the end of this day enveloped by that Peace which passes all understanding.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. prayer submitted by Craig Cranston Member of King of Peace MCC, St. Petersburg, FL USA


God of Justice and Mercy, as we enter this month of Pride celebrations, we are mindful that though we have come a long way, we have a long way to go. We especially give You thanks for those who may have felt marginalized by our own community, including drag queens and leather-people, who were the first to step up and out and made the way for our liberation. We give You thanks for those who gave of their financial resources to give our movement momentum. And we give you thanks for the ordinary TLGB people who marched, made phone calls and in other ways made their presence known and changed history. During this month, may we remain strong in Your Spirit as we celebrate and remember all of those who have made a way for us out of no way. May Your Justice and Mercy remain ever before us as we continue the struggle for all of Your people. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. ELDER DR. CANDACE R. SHULTIS Senior Pastor, King of Peace MCC, St. Petersburg, FL, USA MCC Council of Elders


God of Life, Jesus, King of Peace, Holy Spirit, Lord of Dance and Music, the assassin at the concert in Manchester killed 23 people including himself. Help us pray. Comfort everyone who lost their children, relatives, loved ones and friends. Revive everyone who lost their hope. Touch everyone who lost their belief in a common future and the means of peace. Heal everyone who lost their respect for people with religions and life-styles other than their own. Attacks and bombings often are supposed to kill cultural values as well. Bless everyone who opened their doors and their hearts in the midst of tears and fears. Bless everyone who shared money, food, blood, homes and time. Bless everyone who hold up signs stating “Fear divides, love unites” and “Love for all, hatred for none”. Bless everyone to understand these actions and words as an encouraging example. Help us continue to tearing down walls and buliding up hope – for and with people both inside and outside of Europe. In your many names we pray. Amen. prayer submitted by REV. ELDER INES-PAUL BAUMANN MCC COUNCIL OF ELDERS


Holy Creator, We come before you as your beloved children wandering often in a world of uncertainty and chaos, but resting in the assurance you have provided that we do not do this alone for you are always with us. May we each know your peace that fills our souls even when we do not recognize it. We ask that your Divine Spirit guide us as we walk each day in the knowledge that you will never forsake us and may we be reminded that Jesus walked on this earth and experienced much of the turmoil and suffering that we face. May we live each day by the example that has been given to us through that walk and not become discouraged. We lift up our churches across this world asking that each may find blessings in sharing together in this movement for inclusivity, empowerment of the disenfranchised and seeing love win out over hate daily. Remind us, as only you can do, that miracles are not just found in the writings of the sacred texts but also in our daily lives as seek your will. Amen prayer submitted by PHIL GRIFFIN MCC of Topeka, Topeka, KS, Lay Delegate and Co-Coordinator of the MCC LEAD (Laity Empowered for Active Discipleship) Program in North America


Most loving and gracious God, We Your children come here, first and foremost, to say “Thank you” for being our God. We ask You to go with Your people. Lift them up, strengthen them, guide them, let them know that as long as they keep You at the center of their heart, You will guide and direct their path. God, even though the path may seem dark for some of Your children, we pray Your ever-burning light will shine through. Help them to realize it is just a cloud passing over their horizon, and Your radiant beams of light will once again shine through. Now God, as we look to Your nation and world, we ask You to wrap your arms around those who have said “Yes” to leading. Remind them it doesn’t matter if they are leading a small social club or a large nation or country, that their Number One focus should be the uplifting of the people You have put in their charge. Let them know that together, and with You, we are strong, but separated from You, we shrink to nothing. Finally, God, be with our Interim Moderator, Senior Leadership Team, Governing Board and Council of Elders as they persevere, for they have been called for a time such as this. prayer submitted by BARRY HUNDLEY City of Light MCC, Co-Coordinator of the MCC LEAD (Laity Empowered for Active Discipleship) Program


Wonderful Creator Standing in the red ochre sand of the Simpson Desert, I hear a song A song being sung by people all across the globe I walk in faith towards the singing To the north, towards the tropics and into Asia and Europe To the west, towards the coast and across the Indian ocean to Africa and the Middle East To the south, to the Antarctic winds as they meet the Great Australian Bite To the east, where the golden sands disappear into the waters of the Pacific Ocean Open us to this connection Encourage us to LEAD Inspire all to sing the song We pray in your many beautiful names Amen

prayer submitted by PJ DWYER MCC LEAD (Laity Empowered for Active Discipleship), Coordinator for Australasia

Holy Spirit, we acknowledge Your presence with us always. We worship You and are grateful for Your wise counsel, Your healing power, and Your desire for the realm of heaven to be manifest in Your world today. We lift up Your denomination, Metropolitan Community Churches, as we stand in the “tragic gap”[1] of what is and what might be. Be with us to build communities to sustain ourselves, to balance us between cynicism on the one side, and idealistic irrelevancy on the other side, which border the “tragic gap”. Lead us in paths of personal integrity, remembering the words of Isaiah, which Christ took up as his personal call: “The Spirit of the Holy is upon me, because the Holy has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. The Holy has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, . . . to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of God’s favor.”[2] May it be so.[1] See Parker Palmer, https://www.couragerenewal.org/democracyguide/v36/ [2] Luke 4:18-19

prayer submitted by ELDER NANCY MAXWELL Convener of the Council of Elders, Co-Coordinator of the MCC LEAD (Laity Empowered for Active Discipleship) Program