Helpful links from the announcements:
- Looking for ways to help others? We've got a big list going and many things can be done from home.
- Second Helping continues. Read a call for new volunteers from our volunteer coordinator, Di.
- Connect Groups (virtual) are forming! Click here to learn more and sign up.
- Prayers of the Church are now happening during our Prayers & Fellowship Zoom on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. Learn how to join us for this brief service of scripture, song, and prayer.
- Fellowship Hour is happening right after worship today. Yay! Click to Zoom or call 1-669-900-6833 and dial meeting ID 606-107-240# at the prompt.
- Read more about One Great Hour of Sharing and make your contribution on or before March 29th.
- The Justice & Witness Board invites us to support the work of Renters Together MHK to advocate for and with those in our community who are economically vulnerable. Watch the video below and visit the Renters Together website.
View or Listen to this Week's Worship Service
- Watch the worship service video from Facebook Live (no login required)
- Listen to the audio of the service (audio begin at 13 seconds, sermon begins at around 12 minutes)
Read the Service
ONLINE WORSHIP, MARCH 22, 2020
GATHERING in the presence of God
Welcome and Centering Music
- Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here.
- Here at First Congregational in Manhattan, KS we join with ALL the congregations in the United Church of Christ in proclaiming that no matter who we are or where we are on life’s journey, we are all welcome here. So that means you….wherever you are today, whatever questions you might have, however your spirit is today, YOU are welcome here and we’re so glad you’re worshiping with us today.
- We start every Sunday at First Congregational by saying “happy Sunday!” Not because we always FEEL happy but because we want to remember that even when we don’t feel happy-clappy it is GOOD to be together on a Sunday morning. It is GOOD to have space to remember what matters most in life. It is GOOD to be connected to God and one another through the act of worship...especially in times like these. And so, let’s give it a try. I’m going to say “Happy Sunday!” and you say it back, even if it feels silly. “Happy Sunday!”
- A couple of folks said they lit candles at their homes last week during worship - what a great idea. We’re going to light some here and if you have any nearby, I invite you to do the same. If you have kids in your family, let them serve as acolytes, just like we do when we’re worshiping together in our sanctuary. The light reminds us that God’s Spirit is with us here and now. So as we light our candles and prepare our spirits to welcome the presence of God, we’ll enjoy some centering music.
Centering Music David Simmons Wood
Called in God's Presence
One: God is in the water that restores our soul.
All: And God is in the night when we lose our way.
One: God is in today and tomorrow, raising up leaders, prophets and dreamers.
All: And God is in the wilderness with us—every step of the way.
One: So with confidence we declare--
All: If God is in those spaces, then God is surely here.
One: Let us worship the God of creation.
All: Let us worship the God of wilderness spaces.
(written by: sarah are | sanctifiedart.org)
Exchanging the Peace
You are encouraged to share the peace of Christ! Take a moment and say hello in the comments if you’re joining us via Facebook Live. If you’re watching this with other people at home, say something like, “The peace of Christ be with you” or share another sign of peace.
LISTENING for our still-speaking God
Word for Children
As we move into the “listening” section of our service, it’s time for a special message for the kids out there. So if you’ve got kiddos in your family and they’ve wandered off, bring them up close so they can hear and see!
All around the world right now, people are working together to keep everyone safe and healthy. We all have different things we can do to help. One of the things many people are doing these days is washing their hands. I have a good friend named Eleanor McCormick who is a pastor in Germany. She used to be a pastor right down the road in Lawrence, but she moved to Germany and now she works with the Church there!
I am so thankful for technology that allows Eleanor and I to stay in touch. Earlier this week, she posted a beautiful prayer for washing our hands on Facebook and I want to share it with you today.
(Read Eleanor’s prayer and see the images she created here.)
This week, as you’re washing your hands at home, I want to invite you to write your OWN hand-washing prayer, just like Pastor Eleanor did. You can take a piece of paper and trace your hand. Then you can write a prayer in each finger space, like I’ve done here. When you’re washing your hands, you can pray for each person or thing.
If your parents say it’s okay, take a photo of your prayer or a video of you praying while washing your hands and send it to Brandy. She would love to see them!
Let’s pray together:
God, thank you for all the ways we are staying connected when we are physically apart. Help us to do our part to keep everyone safe and healthy. Help us to remember to pray when we are worried or scared or joyful or bored. Thank you for being with us all the time. Amen.
As we prepare to hear God’s word through scripture and sermon, let’s sing together. We’ll sing “Stay with me” from the Taize tradition. Join in as you are able:
Stay with me,
Remain here with me,
Watch and pray,
Watch and pray. X 2
Sermon and Scripture Psalm 23 (read it here)
“And All Shall Be Well”
Rev. Caela Simmons Wood
(read the sermon by clicking here)
RESPONDING in hope and thanksgiving
While we may not be together on Sunday, the work and mission of First Congregational UCC continues. Please continue to financially support the church as we offer sanctuary and support to each other and the wider community. We also have a list of things you can DO right now (even from home!) available on our website and we’ll drop that link in the comments.
Options for giving:
- Mail your contribution to 700 Poyntz Ave., Manhattan, KS 66502.
- Donate online via PayPal (no login required)
- Setting up a recurring online gift is a convenient way to provide consistent financial support to the church. Your bank may be able to do this for you OR you may mail a copy of this authorization form to the church office.
Music at the Offertory HYMN My Shepherd is the Living God
Text: Isaac Watts, 1719
My shepherd is the living God,
I therefore nothing need;
In pastures fair, near pleasant streams
you settle me to feed.
You bring my wandering spirit back
when I forsake your ways,
And lead me for you mercy's sake
in paths of truth and grace.
When I walk through the shades of death,
your presence is my stay;
A word of your supporting breath
drives all my fear away.
Your hand, in sight of all my foes,
does still my table spread;
My cup with blessing overflows,
your oil anoints my head.
The sure provisions of my God
attend me all my days;
O may your house be my abode,
and all my work be praise.
There would I find a settled rest,
while others come and go
No more a stranger or a guest,
but like a child at home.
Doxology - we bless our gifts together by singing
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise God all creatures here below;
Praise God above, ye heav’nly host:
Creator, Christ and Holy Ghost. Amen.
GOING FORTH to be messengers of Good News
Sharing Opportunities to live into our mission - Love unconditionally. Challenge spiritually. Minister fervently.
- As we mentioned a few moments ago, we have a link on our website where you can see ideas for how you can reach out and help your neighbors, community, and world. Many of these can be done from home. We are currently seeking new volunteers for our free Sunday evening meal who are NOT in the high-risk category so our volunteers who ARE high-risk can opt out. Our Blessing Box also needs some love and we made a special video this week to invite you to join with Renters Together MHK in advocating for those among us who are struggling economically.
- As many of us are caring for the world by staying at home right now, we need to be sure we’re staying connected! We are currently setting up Connect Groups for our congregation and we invite you to consider joining one. These will all be virtual gatherings and you can learn more at uccmanhattan.org.
- Living Room Worship is still ON (but not happening in-person) for this upcoming Saturday, March 28th. Details will be shared via our social media and e-news list, so watch for that info later this week.
- One of the important parts of our weekly worship at First Congregational UCC is “prayers of the church” which we share aloud. We’ve moved these to Thursdays at 7pm and they are happening via Zoom. You can find the login information at uccmanhattan.org.
Charge and Benediction
Beloveds, as we go into this week, take courage and strength in these ancient words from scripture: (read using Hoberman sphere for breathing)
God is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
For thou art with me,
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me,
All the days of my life.
And I shall dwell in the house of God,
My whole life long.
We close our service by singing together. Oh! And here’s something fun and new. This week we will also be gathering for a virtual fellowship hour right after the service! So join us via Zoom as soon as the service is over. You will find the link and call in information in the comments on this live feed and also as a separate post on our Facebook page.
Let’s sing together now as we go forth to be bearers of God’s light and love in the world:
Let us live in the light,
Let up love in the light,
And let the Spirit do its work in us. X 2
- Call to Worship written by: sarah are | sanctifiedart.org
- My Shepherd is the Living God, public domain.
- “Stay With Me” by Jacques Berthier. © 1984, Les Presses de Taize, GIA Publications, Inc. Reprinted with OneLicense #A-710121.
- “Let Us Live in the Light” Words and music by Barbara Hamm. © 2002, Abingdon Press. Reprinted with OneLicense #A-710121.
- Permission to print and stream the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-710121.