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Elements for Non-Church Settings

“Xmas Eve on Fire”

Posted by on Aug 31, 2016 in Advent, Arts, Christmas, Music, Non-Church settings, Slideshow, Special Sundays/Services | 0 comments

“Xmas Eve on Fire”

Imagine this: Christmas Eve Snow blanketing the ground Early/family service begins at 5:00 p.m. and the time is now 4:30 p.m. Portable firepit on the front lawn of the church with logs blazing Hot chocolate in vacuum pots on a table nearby Small Christmas tree with a box full of ornaments Families, individuals, couples, whoever, arriving, grabbing a cup of cocoa, hanging an ornament, warming themselves by the fire, giggling with Christmas excitement At 5:05 p.m. booklets with Christmas carols are handed out and people sing their favorites At...

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A Prayer for a Town Meeting

Posted by on Aug 1, 2016 in Non-Church settings, Prayers/Litanies, Slideshow | 0 comments

A Prayer for a Town Meeting

In Vermont, we have something called “Town Meeting Day.”  What’s that?  Well, it the day each year when many towns in our state hold their annual town meetings  (1st Monday in March).  Some towns still invite a local pastor to begin the meeting with a prayer of invocation.  Praying in this setting can be tricky.  What do we pray for?  How do we bring our authentic selves to the prayer while also recognizing the diversity that will be present in the room?  Below is a prayer that I have used in my town of Underhill, VT and...

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Prayer for a Legislative Session

Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in Non-Church settings, Prayers/Litanies, Slideshow | 0 comments

Prayer for a Legislative Session

In Vermont, our State House of Representatives begins each daily session with an opening devotional of some kind.  Often, this devotional is a prayer delivered by a Vermont pastor.  The first time I had the privilege of leading prayer in this setting I had no idea what to expect, what to do, or what to say.  Of course, many in the room are not Christians.  Certainly, some are uneasy with a Christian prayer, prayed to begin a secular legislative session.  No doubt, there is much to think about when writing and delivering a prayer like this....

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Prayer for a Food Shelf Distribution

Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in Non-Church settings, Prayers/Litanies, Slideshow | 0 comments

Prayer for a Food Shelf Distribution

The custom in our local food shelf is to begin our monthly distributions with announcements and a prayer led by a representative of one of our supporting churches.  Not all food shelf distributions begin with a prayer, few of us lead a prayer in this setting often (if ever) and so praying in this setting may be unfamiliar for both clergy and laypeople.  How does one lead a time of prayer that is meaningful and appropriate for a diverse group such as this? Below is a prayer that I have used and which I offer to you for your reflection and...

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Prayer for Cub Scout Blue & Gold

Posted by on Jul 25, 2016 in Non-Church settings, Prayers/Litanies, Slideshow | 0 comments

Prayer for Cub Scout Blue & Gold

Below is a prayer that was delivered at a Cub Scout “Blue & Gold” banquet.  It could be easily adapted to a variety of settings and circumstances. Pausing for a moment at the beginning of this Blue and Gold banquet let us still our bodies, quiet our minds, and let us be in a spirit of prayer. God of the journey…we invite you into our presence this evening… …to join us as we celebrate the labor…the commitment… …and the dedication of our young people and their families. As you have done all along…walk with us tonight… …as we...

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Shared Outdoor Summer Worship

Posted by on Jul 3, 2016 in Communion and Baptism, Non-Church settings, Offering, Pentecost, Slideshow, Special Sundays/Services | 0 comments

Shared Outdoor Summer Worship

Our church has a tradition of gathering with some of the other churches in our community for a shared (ecumenical) outdoor worship service.  For our worship space we set up a tent (a few of our churches own them or they can be rented) or worship in the gazebo in our town park.  byIt is a lot of fun and is well attended.  It also requires a good deal of coordination and planning.  So, below you will find an outline of our planning process followed by the liturgy we used in July of 2016. Planning Process After Easter each year, I send out an...

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Invocation for Advent Festival of Choirs

Posted by on Jun 22, 2016 in Advent, Christmas, Non-Church settings, Prayers/Litanies, Slideshow | 0 comments

Invocation for Advent Festival of Choirs

A few years ago I was invited to deliver a prayer of invocation to begin a local festival of choirs on the first Saturday of Advent.  This annual festival is now a little over ten years old and includes ~7 choirs (sacred and secular) from around our area.  It is well attended and brings in a wide cross section of our community members. Writing a prayer of invocation for such an occasion is not as simple as it might seem as there is much to do in a short time!  Below is a sample prayer which acknowledges the nature of the gathering, gives...

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Invocation for Annual Meeting

Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Non-Church settings, Prayers/Litanies, Slideshow | 0 comments

Invocation for Annual Meeting

Here is a prayer of invocation I wrote and delivered for a plenary session of the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Vermont Conference, UCC.  The theme was: “Diving In: The Living Waters of the Vermont Conference” which accounts for the water imagery in the prayer.  It could be adapted for use in a variety of settings. God…your life-giving water is everywhere. It flows from our faucets…it streams through our backyards… …it falls from the sky…it pools in our lakes…and it covers most of our world. Our bodies…God…are saturated with...

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