In response to the UN’s World Refugee Day (6/20), mindful that 1 in 110 people in the world is currently displaced for one reason or another, and in conversation with Scripture, our church held Refugee Awareness Sunday on 6/23/2019. Here is an outline of our liturgy to inspire you and to be adapted for your setting.
Words for Contemplation: “As far as I could tell, the world was not going to stop producing refugees. The plain, irreducible fact of good people being made nomad by the millions through all the kinds of horrors this world could produce seemed likely to prove the central moral challenge of our times. How did we want to meet that challenge?” – Helen Thorpe in her book, “The Newcomers,” 2017.
Prelude Dancing Into Worship – we were joined by a dance group from our local Nepalese/Bhutanese community
Scripture Reading 1: “When an alien resides with you…” – Leviticus 19:34
Greeting, Welcome & Announcements
Speaker 1 – 5-8 minute presentation by a member of our Refugee Welcome team who works with a local Somali family
Hymn/Song Prayer & Lord’s Prayer (unison): Psalm 46 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
Our (Mother) Father (Creator) who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
A Time for Children – “God’s Borders”- during this time, we spoke with our children about the Biblical mandate to welcome the stranger. To illustrate how God’s inclusive love transgresses all human borders and boundaries we ended this time by taking a large roll of jute twine and encircling the entire congregation. You may choose to have a few of your children/youth do this or assist you while you do it.
Hymn/Song Scripture Reading 2: “Do not oppress the alien…” – Zechariah 7:8-11
Prayers of the People Pastoral Prayer:
God, on this Refugee Awareness Sunday, we open our hearts and mouths to you in prayer this morning:
- Because 1 in 110 people in this world are strangers in strange lands;
- Because 13 million children will not sleep in their own beds tonight, and may never again;
- Because in the time it takes for us to pray this prayer, another 60 people in the world you created will be displaced from their homes due to famine, natural disaster or violence;
- Because those on the front lines who are working with refugees and migrants are overworked, understaffed and underfunded;
- Because the root causes that force people to leave their homes are complicated, politically divisive, and dangerous even to mention in a whisper;
- Because some of these root causes are convicting, because they are our own fear, racism, and hard-heartedness;
- Because, as bad as the refugee statistics are, we hold hope that together with our leaders, we can do much to change what is, into what can be for the good of us all;
- Because we are “embraced by the healing love of Jesus Christ; inspired by his teachings, and committed to prayerful, compassionate, and courageous action in the world.” [note: this is our church’s mission statement]
- And we pray this morning God, with open hearts and open mouths, because we are your church, called to welcome the stranger, to let love rule our lives and our actions, and to work always towards your vision of a world of peace and justice, where all are wanted, all are welcomed, and where all have enough. Amen.
Call to Offering, Offertory, Doxology & Prayer Of Dedication
Scripture Reading 3: “Love your neighbor as yourself…” – Galatians 5:13-14
Speaker 2 – 10-12 minute presentation by a representative of the Association of Africans Living in VT (aalv-vt.org)
© Rev. Kevin Goldenbogen, 2019