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Posted by on Dec 15, 2022 | 0 comments

“Star Words” A Service

Below is a complete order of worship created by Rev. Leigh McCaffrey for Sunday worship at Barre Congregational Church, Barre, VT on January 9, 2022 (The Feast of Epiphany).  The order ends with the distribution of “star words” to the entire congregation.

What are star words?  See description below from (accessed 12/8/22), written by Debbie Gline Allen, Commissioned Minister of Christian Formation, who serves as Minister of Faith Formation for the Southern New England Conference, and as the Director of its Faith Formation Leadership Program.

“Provide enough stars (made from card stock, wood, craft foam, or other material) for everyone present. Print a spiritual gift (such as the fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23) on each star and place them in a bowl near the candles. Create a separate bowl with simpler words (such as happy, love, quiet, rest, play, etc.) for young children. Send or deliver the Epiphany Stars to those attending virtually. Print the Epiphany Star instructions in the online bulletin in order that online visitors may be prepared to participate in this ritual.  Each person draws a star from the bowl and the word on it becomes their “gift” to ponder for a designated period of time. At the end of this specific time period, all are invited to share (in story, art, or digital form) how their Epiphany Star word shed light on their lives during that time.”

WORDS FOR CONTEMPLATION: “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Brene Brown






Leader:  Arise, shine; inheritors of God’s light. Bearers of God’s light to our darkened world,

People: The light of God has come into our world, and nations will come to its brightness.

Leader: Arise, shine; privileged ones who live in the light of Christ, bow before God, not in shame but in awe,

People: All is visible in Christ’s eternal light. In us God’s light never goes out.


SCRIPTURE Reading: Luke 2:19-24


HYMN SUGGESTION: “We Three Kings” (J. Hopkins, Jr.)



God who revealed yourself to wise men following a star,

Guide all who search and journey towards your light today,

God, whose light shines like a bright guiding star, have mercy on us.

God who unveiled yourself in the gift of a son,

Show yourself to all who seek after justice and righteousness today,

God, whose light shines like a bright guiding star, have mercy on us.

God who was baptized with those who declared their repentance in the Jordan river, manifest yourself to all who come with repentant hearts today,

God, whose light shines like a bright guiding star, have mercy on us.

God who fed the five thousand with a handful of fish and loaves,

Satisfy our hunger with your word of truth and love,

God, whose light shines like a bright guiding star, have mercy on us.

God who changed water into wine at a wedding,

Fill all who thirst with the free gift of the water of life,

God, whose light shines like a bright guiding star, have mercy on us.


SUGGESTED CAROL FOR REFLECTION  “Brightest and Best” (R. Heber)

(Please listen meditatively)

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning; Dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid;
Star of the East, the horizon adorning, Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Cold on His cradle the dewdrops are shining; Low lies His head with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore Him in slumber reclining, Maker and Monarch and Savior of all!

Say, shall we yield Him, in costly devotion, Odors of Edom and offerings divine?
Gems of the mountain and pearls of the ocean, Myrrh from the forest, or gold from the mine?

Vainly we offer each ample oblation, Vainly with gifts would His favor secure;
Richer by far is the heart’s adoration, Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.


Scripture Reading: Numbers 24:15-19




Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer (Please pray with whatever words are natural to you)

Suggested Response: “Emmanuel, Emmanuel” (Bob McGee)


Suggested Hymn: “As With Gladness” (C. Dix)


Distribution of Star Words




Benediction & Postlude

Rev. Leigh McCaffrey was born in Burlington, Vermont and was confirmed and ordained in the First Congregational Church of Burlington.  After working as a Christian educator at the Groton Congregational Church in Connecticut, she received a call to ministry that led her to Andover Newton Theological School in Boston, Massachusetts, where she graduated cum laude with a specialization in Liberation Theology. She was the 1988 winner of the Koinonia Preaching Prize.  Rev. Leigh has served on many Conference committees for Church, Ministry, and new church development. She worked as a staff organizer with the Naugatuck Valley Project in Waterbury, Connecticut, and MESA Coordinator (ministerial credentialing and training) with the Florida Conference. She also worked remotely as the clerk of the New York Conference School of Ministry. Most recently, she has been a patient care secretary at VITAS hospice and pastor of First Congregational Church of Lake Helen, Florida.  She is currently pastor at Barre Congregational Church in Barre, VT.

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