Category Archives: Resources

A Progressive Worship Resource for Season of Creation

George Stuart has kindly made available to us a suggested liturgy, also leadership notes with biblical commentary as well as notes for the leader to follow when preparing, etc. We appreciate his ever generous gifting of his work and can expect more. This time the material is aimed at use on Humanity Sunday and he is working on further Season of Creation resources (September – October) including for Animal Sunday, Cosmos Sunday, and a few others.

Humanity Sunday – For leaders of the church service

These Sundays are Season of Creation Sundays, so, each different aspect of creation is the focus of each Church Service.  This Humanity Sunday gives the church a golden opportunity to celebrate the mysterious wonder and the beauty of humanity.  It is also important to take this opportunity to confront the challenges and responsibilities that fall on all humanity regarding our fragile and threatened environment.

Aims and objectives

 Main Aim.  To engender a sense of awe and amazement of humanity, to celebrate the complex unity as well as the potential of human beings and then to be thankful.

Other important aims are,

  1. To explore what ‘dominion’ and ‘made in God’s image’ mean, in the context of the Genesis readings, and in doing so, compare the 2 creations stories in Genesis.
  2. To prompt reflection on the different ways of living within our fragile environment.
  3. To acknowledge the godly dimension of all that is.
  4. To significantly discern the gospel’s Good News for the day.

Resources offered   (The leader is encouraged to choose from these resources and use them.)

  1. Background reading and commentaries on Bible readings.

 Quotations from Bible commentaries are included because, with more lay people conducting church services, they would probably not have the private theological libraries that many clergy have.

 Thoughts and information about the human being.

Background reading, some of which is used in the suggested liturgy.  Choose what you wish.

  1. Suggestions for congregational participation.

Dialogues, individual contributions, and a children’s game are all included in the suggested liturgy.

  1. Lyrics to traditional hymn tunes.

4 of my sets of original lyrics are used in the suggested liturgy.   Norman Habel has also written many lyrics that could be used. Some of these can be accessed in the Seasons of Creation services, on the internet. http://seasonsofcreation.org/

  1. Prayers and Prayer suggestions.

A Creation Prayer, and suggestions for other prayers are included in the suggested liturgy.

  1. A suggested liturgy.  

The suggested liturgy below takes about 45 minutes, which includes time for congregational participation, the children’s game and Prayers of the People, etc.  It is suggested that, without interrupting the flow of the service, short commentaries could be given, to explain some of the Bible readings.  The dramatized reading in the liturgy below has been taken from the Uniting Church’s Seasons of Creation services, on the internet.  My suggested liturgy follows the lead of the services on the internet, by giving opportunity for members of the congregation to participate, and by having dialogues and the dramatized reading.  Doing something a little different!

 Resources detailed

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REVIVING LITURGY WITH THE SENSUOUS TEXTURES OF LANDSCAPE…

A (Zoom) Presentation to a Group in Melbourne

from Rev Rex Hunt

Also available at https://www.rexaehuntprogressive.com/articles_collection/reviving-liturgy-beyond.html

BONEY AND SPINDLY! REVIVING LITURGY WITH THE SENSUOUS TEXTURES OF LANDSCAPE…

I have learnt much about liturgy from my three young grand children.

And wisdom from poets, among them being

Mary Oliver (1935–2019), Dennis McCarty, Catherine de Vinck,

and the Irish poet and philosopher, John O’Donohue (1956–2008).

 

Take any three year old for a walk, say… along a beach or bush track.

Don’t plan to be in a hurry.

 

Every twig or seashell.

Every muddy pool of water.

Every minnow, dragon fly, or small lizard to cross your path

will be an occasion for closer ‘looking’ and ‘excitement’ and ‘wonder’.

Children intuitively apprehend the truth that we are all part of nature.

 

So following the ‘advice for living’ from Mary Oliver…

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.

Such attention and experience comes from being immersed in what is,

and seeing the overlooked.

Such attention is scientifically informed.

Such attention is what helps shape good liturgy.

 

As natural beings among diverse other natural beings, we humans are at home in nature.

Not long home from post graduate studies in Germany—the year was 1931—

and still shaping his ‘mystical naturalism’, theologian Bernard Meland (1899–1993) wrote:

“Have you ever communed in the first person with this total wealth of living life about                             you? Have you ever stood with awe and wonder before the unbounded totality of all reality—this ongoing process we call the universe, feeling your own intimacy with all                               its life, thrilling with the realisation of the magnitude of that relationship, relating you to all the world’s life, past, present and future? If you have, you have experienced first- hand religion.” (Meland 1931:665; Meland 1934:234)

Meland suggests the natural world has the capacity to inspire a response,

an expression of our awe of nature, of our attraction to the mystery of existence,

to something intangible, called ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’ from humans.

He was also highly critical of religion that fostered

a sense of strangeness toward the natural world.

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Reflecting in Song on COP26

“Blue Planet, Rising, Soaring through the Cosmos” (Tune: ‘Londonderry Air’, 11.10.11.10.11.10.11.12)

by Andrew Pratt See Hymns for our Planet

Blue planet, rising, soaring through the cosmos,

was lent in trust for us to tend and care

while children, young in wisdom, call in anguish,

for all they see now fills them with despair.

The wonder of the sky has drawn us upwards,

our eyes diverted by the moon and stars,

and as we dream we lose our moral compass,

and in our greed we grasp creation, call it ours.

 

Time runs away, our life on earth is finite,

young prophets calling, needing us to act

are crying out, lamenting for our planet,

while ‘adults’ sleep, denying fear and fact.

Still others stand, immune, ignore the future,

absolved from fault for all that comes to pass.

When will we grasp the need for urgent action,

see clearly, not net curtained, or through frosted glass?

 

While sands of time run down, are gone and finished,

in fear of change we hanker for the past,

but life on earth is threatened by inaction,

as lethargy and greed resist and last.

Good God forgive us for each fault and faction,

unwillingness to change to save this earth.

God give us ears to hear the words of wisdom

that we might save this planet, cradle of our birth.

(Andrew Pratt 29/10/2021 – Responding to Greta Thunberg ahead of and following COP 26)

Words © 2021 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk.

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A conversation about a progressive communion event

One of our subscribers, Karel Reus, is on a quest for progressive expressions in liturgy. Recently he has put together an introduction to the The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving (see “Approaching the Eucharist” below), and is wondering if a conversation is possible between like-minded progressive liturgists.

Please make suggestions, offer ideas, ask questions or give a personal opinion. We do have the work of Rex Hunt, see When Progressives Gather Together (2016) or William L. Wallace’s Sacred Mass, the Salt of the Earth Liturgy from St Mark’s Episcopal Church in Washington DC, the thoughts of T.Mark Dove in his Communion Invitation, or that including children by Ana Gobbledale, but your thoughts are as valuable as any, so please help Karel (and others) in his quest.

Approaching the Eucharist by Karel Reus

Pay attention, my friends!

Come with me!

We enter a darkened room –

just oil and candle light

and shadows.

A dozen or so homeless itinerant men

in a rented or borrowed apartment.

They sit on the floor –

cross-legged on threadbare rugs –

and the odd cushion.

The seder meal is laid out before them,

matzos, bitter herbs, taking pride of place,

and bread, no doubt,

and wine, for sure –

laid out by the women;

the invisible women out in the kitchen

sharing secret women’s business,

while the blokes share stories and yarns

about their travels,

and events along the way -88

and they also share the bitter herbs

of Passover – remembering –

while together they intone:

She-ma yisrael, adonai eloheinu, adonai echad.

Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One

Blessed is the name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day.

Impress them upon your children.

Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up.

Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a symbol on your forehead, inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Take note!

Their teacher, their rabbi, leans in.

There is something on his mind:

you can see it written on his face –

then with right hand only he deftly tears the bread

and lifts the piece.

We have it on good authority, by way of St Paul:

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

The bread is broken and lifted up

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’

The rabbi leans in again –

this time to raise a cup –

no chalice this, but common-or-garden kitchenware,

infused by his words:

The cup is raised

In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’

and Paul sums it up for all the ages:

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

No record is kept.

No one takes notes.

No motions are moved,

but they know that the earth has moved;

that the rabbi has set something in motion of immense importance,

and we watch and obey and remember.

The atmosphere has changed

as the contest of life with death plays out before them

and a tangible sense of betrayal

hangs in the air.

Rabbi Yeshua feels the walls closing in – tomblike;

he longs for fresh air and he suggests a walk in the garden….

With the benefit of hindsight, we know he will not return – in the flesh, that is.

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The Updated 8 Points of Progressive Christianity

Note: Progressive Christianity is inherently always evolving and progressing. Please take these lightly but seriously. They are not dogma, they are simply a starting point to establish conversations and a foundation of values and beliefs that we have observed Progressive Christians generally share. It’s ok if you don’t agree with all the words or all the parts. We support your authentic path. You can use these in your faith communities and with family and friends to talk about what it means to you to be a Progressive Christian in today’s world. Here is to always progressing!

[from ProgressiveChristianity.com 2020, co-created with Progressive Christian pastors, theologians, scholars and visionaries]

By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…

1. Believe that following the path of the teacher Jesus can lead to healing and wholeness, a mystical connection to “God,” as well as an awareness and experience of not only the Sacred, but the Oneness and Unity of all life;

2. Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience “God,” the Sacredness, Oneness and Unity of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom, including Earth, in our spiritual journey;

3. Seek and create community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:

Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
Believers and agnostics,
Those of all races, cultures, and nationalities
Those of all sexual orientations and all gender identities,
Those of all classes and abilities,
Those historically marginalized,
All creatures and plant life;

4. Know that the way we behave towards one another and Earth is the fullest expression of what we believe, therefore we vow to walk as Jesus might have walked in this world with radical compassion, inclusion, and bravery to confront and positively change the injustices we experience as well as those we see others experiencing;

5. Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning with an open mind and open heart, than in absolutes or dogma;

6. Work toward peace and justice among all people and all life on Earth;

7. Protect and restore the integrity of our Earth and all of Creation;

8. Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love on this journey toward a personally authentic and meaningful faith.

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Kairos for Creation

Kairos for Creation – Confessing Hope for the Earth
The Wuppertal Call


If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face,
and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their
sin and heal their land
” – 2 Chron. 7:14.
If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is
here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us
the ministry of reconciliation
” – 2 Cor. 5:17-18
Preamble
From 16 to 19 June 2019, 52 participants from 22 countries and from different confessional and faith traditions gathered in Wuppertal, Germany for a conference entitled “Together towards eco-theologies, ethics of sustainability and eco-friendly churches”.

In Wuppertal we were reminded of the courageous confession of faith articulated in the Barmen Declaration (1934) against the totalitarian, inhuman and racist ideology of the time. Barmen continues to encourage us today for “a joyful liberation from the godless ties of this world for free grateful service to his creatures” (Barmen 2).
We shared stories from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and Oceania. We heard the cries of the earth, the cries of people vulnerable to the effects of climate change, especially children and the elderly, the cries of youth demanding intergenerational justice and the concerns of experts over current trends.
We recognize the urgency of the years that lie ahead, nevertheless express the courage to hope and are compelled to call the global ecumenical movement towards a comprehensive ecological transformation of society.

Kairos: A decisive turn in the pilgrimage of justice and peace
The ecumenical movement has long committed itself to a pilgrimage towards justice, peace and the integrity of creation. These goals will require urgent steps on the road ahead. The urgency of the crisis calls us to read the signs of the time, to hear God’s call, to follow the way of Christ, to discern the movement of the Spirit and, in response, to recognize the positive initiatives of churches all around the world.
The symptoms of the crisis touch on all the building blocks of life and are there for all to see:
• Fresh water is contaminated; glaciers are melting; oceans are polluted with plastics and are becoming acidic so that corals reefs are bleached (water).
• Land is degraded through unsustainable agriculture and unhealthy eating habits, extractive economies ruled by global financial powers, deforestation, desertification and soil erosion;
animals are groaning and creatures are being genetically modified; fish populations are
depleted; habitat loss leads to the unprecedented loss of biodiversity (earth). Both the land and the health of people are being poisoned by industrial, agricultural, municipal and nuclear forms of waste and by pesticides and chemicals. An increasing number of people is forced to migrate and to become climate refugees.
• Global carbon emissions are still increasing, greenhouse gases are accumulating in the
atmosphere and climates are disrupted (air).
• It is the still increasing use of energy from fossil fuels that is driving such changes (fire). The delicate systems of balances in creation has been disturbed to an unprecedented extent in the Anthropocene. We have transgressed planetary boundaries. The earth seems no longer able to heal itself. Creatures are groaning in travail (Rom. 8:22).

For the full statement go to: Kairos for Creation

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Centre for Radical Christianity

CRCOnline

CRCOnline provides theological, liturgical and spiritual resources for anyone who wants to live with the questions rather than being told definitive answers; be rooted in the life, work and radical values of Jesus of Nazareth; celebrate the diversity of the Jesus community and engage with issues using the discourses of the contemporary world.

Explore the latest resources below and browse/search all resources using the menus. Find the resources that suit you: from prayers and spiritual reflections to in-depth theological articles, sermons to book reviews, media links to liturgies.

CRC was established in 2003 and based at St Mark’s Church Broomhill, Sheffield, UK. Its purpose was to explore the meaning of the Christian faith in the 21st century and to offer a fresh vision of an open and inclusive church, unafraid to ask the big questions.

St Mark’s CRC was committed to:

  • living with questions rather than finding answers
  • being rooted in Jesus of Nazareth
  • including and celebrating diversity in the community of Christ
  • engaging with issues using the discourses of the contemporary world.

CRCOnline promises to carry on exploring, commending and understanding the Christian faith and living in this spirit, engaging in critical yet creative dialogue between a living tradition reaching back to Jesus and the challenges and opportunities of our contemporary world, with the aim of helping people understand more what being followers of Jesus means today.

Go to: CRCOnline to examine the Resources around – Mysticism and Contemporary Spirituality, Embracing the Other (Jesus inclusivity), Eucharistic Prayers, Easter and Epidemics, Heaven is a Hologram, Prayers in time of Pandemic, etc.

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“The Trail” – A song for difficult times

The Trail is a song of comfort for difficult times.
It gives new words to a familiar hymn and provides a modern, progressive interpretation of the 23rd psalm.

Words and musical arrangement by Keith Sanford. Performance includes Keith Sanford on drums, percussion, keyboard synthesizers, and vocals.

The tune is Resignation (the tune for, My Shepherd Will Supply My Need), an anonymous melody found in Freeman Lewis’ Beauties of Harmony, 1828.

My feet they tamp the earth and stones that lay upon this trail
And in wide meadows there I find a hope that will not fail
I feel a touch upon my hand that pulls me to proceed
To see the splendor, oh, so vast, there’s nothing more I need

To mountain streams, this trail does lead, with water splashing clear
And there I rest upon the rocks and feel the goodness here
I feel a touch upon my hand that pulls me to engage
To seek the mysteries of the world, long pondered age to age

At times this trail may lead me down to valleys dark and low
Where shades of death may chill the skin and nothing there will grow
But then that touch upon my hand it causes me to rise
And still I hope for goodness here, as stars light up dark skies

For more information and music lead sheet go to The Trail

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Inclusive Spiritual Christian Curriculum

Several progressive congregations are now using A Joyful Path which is a truly progressive children’s curriculum. Today, children are seriously undernourished when it comes to spirituality. They are either taught dogma or secularism. Children need to know that they are Divine beings and that following the path of Jesus in today’s world means being a spiritual warrior of radical inclusion and deep reverence. 

The program has been written by Deshna Shine for ProgressiveChristianity.org. You can help spread this curriculum to children all around the world by supporting a GOFUNDME project that Deshna has started.

For information go to: Joyful Path

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Inclusive Catholics: Resourcing Progressive Ministry and Worship No.13

A welcoming and inclusive community of committed Christians, based in Victoria, true to their faith, who have become disillusioned with the institutional Catholic Church and other churches.

Go to: Inclusive Catholics

“Given the clericalism, abuse, discrimination and lack of proper governance within the Catholic Church, in 2011 Fr Greg Reynolds, a priest of the Melbourne Archdiocese for 31 years, set up a new community, called Inclusive Catholics to embrace those disillusioned with institutional churches. In this community all are welcome without question, especially lapsed Catholics as well as survivors of clerical abuse, divorcees, those who support women’s ordination and LGBTIQA+ people.

This community strives to let all voices be heard and equally considered when planning and celebrating worship and other events. It is now a democratic organisation led by an elected Stewardship Team with Greg Reynolds as pastor. Inclusive Catholics holds fortnightly Eucharistic celebrations at Glen Iris Road Uniting Church Community Centre, monthly lecture-discussions in member’s homes, social dinners, silent retreats and luncheon gatherings where personal stories can be shared.”

Social Justice

“We are all deeply committed to Gospel values and caring for the needs of the poor and vulnerable in our society and the world. We each respond to the call in our own personal way, as we accept and support each other’s approach, gifts and priorities. Above all, our hearts and prayers go out to those who suffer abuse, injustice and oppression. We are a diverse range of personalities, with a wide range of social justice priorities. Early on we decided not to set up our own separate social justice group, but rather to support individual members in the various organisations and activities that they are involved in. For example members are involved in or connected with groups such as IPAN (the Independent & Peaceful Australia Network), Pax Christi, WATAC (Women and The Australian Church), St Mary’s in Exile, Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Acceptance, BASP (Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project), Love Makes a Way, ARRCC (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change), Catholics for Renewal, ACCCR (Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform), Quakers, and various Christian Churches especially Glen Iris Road Uniting Church and St Oswald’s Anglican Church. “

Eucharist

This is an open table and any believer who wishes to receive Holy Communion is welcome. Eucharist is celebrated on the first and third Sundays of each month at Glen Iris Road Uniting Church, 200 Glen Iris Road, Glen Iris at 5.00 pm, preceded by optional quiet meditation at 4.40pm

1ST & 3RD SUNDAYS OF EACH MONTH, 5PM
GLEN IRIS UNITING CHURCH

Contact details – About us

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