Revd Rex A E Hunt
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The Other Lectionary’ - a suggested ‘southern hemisphere’ Lectionary (with a few Resources added) offered in parallel to,
or even replacement of, the RCL which is in standard use by many.

12 January 2020. Baptism of Jesus A. (White).

Worth Pondering
“When people love unselfishly, God is present”
Ellwood "Bud" Kaiser)

Acknowledgement of Country/First Peoples
(An act towards reconciliation)

For thousands of years Indigenous people have walked
in this land, on their own country.
Their relationship with the land is at the centre of their lives.

We acknowledge the (NN) People of the (NN) Nation, past, present, and emerging leaders,
and their stewardship of this land throughout the ages.

First Peoples Statement to the Nation 2017 called “Uluru Statement from the Heart” HERE
A Response from Common Dreams5 Conference of Religious Progressives,
Australia/South Pacific 2019 HERE

(NN) is a safe place for all people to worship regardless of
race, creed, age, cultural background or sexual orientation


Rich and Striking Visuals
          “The function of beauty… is to make us aware of a reality which is richer and deeper
          and more marvellous than anything we can dream or conceive.” (Henry N. Wieman)
          Artwork OR Floral/Symbols display (cloths, candles, stones, wood, leaves, flowers, earth, water) OR projection of Film/Slides 

Gathering Music

Entry into the Celebration
The gong is sounded three times

In sacred times of word, wonder, and awe.
In ordinary days of work and play.
In every moment, Creativity is with us.  (Adapted.Thom Shuman/worship-rcl)

Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit

We light this flame and give praise for
the gifts that lift and inspire our living:
music, art, creativity and all beauty.

Note: (i) A suggested process for introducing new hymns, called Hymn of the Month, can be found HERE
(ii) Additional Special Purpose Hymns that cover major international events or themes can be found HERE  They include these categories: 1. Bush (Brush) Fire, 2. Tsunami, Storms/Cyclones, 3. Earthquakes, 4. War/Remembrance, 5. Caregiving, 6. God as Mother, 7. Human Trafficking, 8. Disabled, 9. Migration/Refugees, 10. Terrorist Attacks, 11. Science/Cosmology
(iii) PLUS some specific resources on Terrorism 

Hymn/Song The people stand as they are able, to sing
Celebrate Each Difference
(Tune: ‘Intercessor’,
We cannot make an easy, safe distinction,
all people are our neighbours, none denied.
The voices of all nations heard beside us:
all sisters, brothers, none we should deride.

The wall between the peoples has been broken.
In love of God divisions disappear.
As seen in Christ, we recognise our neighbours.
We greet unusual faces without fear.

We celebrate each difference God has given.
Each nation, black and white, both straight and gay,
the able and the challenged, God has offered,
that we might share together, learn and pray
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
As we enter into this sacred place,
put away the pressures of the world that ask us
to perform,
to take up masks,
to put on brave fronts.

Silence the voices that ask you to be perfect.
This is a community of compassion and welcoming.
All  We bring all that we are and all that we yet can be,
to this safe and holy place.

Act of Awareness
Break from the blossoms of the past
New tints, new pollens, then new flowers.
Only by changing we hold fast;
Break from the minds of humanity new powers.  
(Kenneth Patton/sscl)


We pray:
The Spirit of Creativity is all around us.
We are grateful for the possibility of being
ever more aware, human and alive.

Our world touches us in so many ways.
May we consider all that is - the beautiful,
and that which we don't want to read of
and think about.

May the joys and the concerns of this present day
move and jolt us to our greater selves
and our greater thoughts. (Adapt.Robert Kleinheksel/c3e)
May it be so.

Hymn/Song  (Cont. If not sung all verses above)  Celebrate Each Difference(Tune: ‘Intercessor’,
We meet with those who paint a different picture,
who value God in words not yet our own.
In dialogue we offer one another
a vision we could never find alone.

This God we seek is greater than each difference;
the source and ground of all variety,
the centre and the soul of all creation,
erasing hate with love, to set us free.  (Andrew Pratt/ea)
The people sit after the hymn


Womb of Life(Tune: ‘Hymn/Ode of Joy”, 87.87D)
Womb of life, and source of being,
home of every restless heart,
in your arms the worlds awakened;
you have loved us from the start.
We your children, gather ‘round you,
at the table you prepare.
Sharing stories, tears and laughter,
we are nurtured by your care.

Word in flesh, our brother Jesus,
born to give us second birth,
you have come to stand beside us,
knowing weakness, knowing earth.
Priest who shares our human struggles,
Life of Life and Death of Death,
Risen Christ, come stand among us,
send the Spirit by your breath.

Brooding Spirit, move among us;
be our partner, be our friend.
When our memory fails remind us
whose we are, what we intend.
Labour with us, aid the birthing
of the new world yet to be,
free of servant, lord and master,
free for love and unity.

Mother, Brother, holy Partner:
Father, Spirit, blessed Son:
We would praise your name forever,
one in three, and three in one.
We would share your life, your passion,
share your word of world made new,
ever singing, ever praising,
one with all, and one with you.  
(Ruth Duck)
The people sit after the hymn

In your own words

A warm welcome is extended to all.
Especially those who are worshipping at (NN) for the first time
or who have returned after an absence.

Your presence both enriches us and this time of celebration together.
Refer to printed liturgy.
Fellowship hour following worship.
Those visiting, please sign our Visitors book.

Centering Silence
Now let silence gently enfold us.

In this day made fresh,
In the chorus of birds,
In the scent of wild flowers,
We embrace this day in hope.

Music of Reflection


A Celebration of Baptism (Optional)
If you plan to offer a Celebration of Baptism, a progressive liturgy is HERE

Hymn/Song (If Baptism)
"In Water We Grow" (Tune: ‘Paderborn’,                                               494 TiS
In water we grow,
secure in the womb,
and speechlessly know
love's safety and room.
Baptizing and blessing
we publish for good
the freeing, caressing
safe keeping of God.

In water we wash:
the dirt of each day,
its trouble and rush
are carried away.
In Christ re-created
by love's cleansing art,
self-will and self-hatred
dissolve and depart.

In water we dive,
and cannot draw breath,
then surface alive,
rebounding from death.
Our old self goes under,
in Christ dead and drowned.
We rise, washed in wonder,
by love clad and crowned.

In water we dwell,
for by its deep flow
through bloodstream and cell,
we live, think, and grow.
Praise God, love outflowing,
whose well of new birth
baptizes our knowing,
and waters the earth.  (Brian A Wren)


Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
Two readings from our broad religious tradition
shall be read by (NN).

Reader:  May we open ourselves to the seeds of wisdom
that lies dormant in these readings.

And may our minds be fertile soil

in which it/they may grow strong and true. 
(Gretta Vosper/ab)

From the World Around us:
"My World of Mystery"
Norman Habel. Rainbow of Mysteries/28-29.

When I am home with Earth,
I am aware of two deep spiritual forces:
initiating impulse
and permeating presence.

I am always discovering new impulses in Earth,
spawned by deep initiating impulses.
to evolve and to explore,
to dance and to dine,
to mate and to nurture,
to commune and connect,
to celebrate and to empathise.

Quiet simply
I am surrounded by mysteries;
amazing impulses to be
in a billion blossoming ways.

I am also aware of
continuous expressions of a deap permeating Presence:
the presence
of alluring heights and horizons,
sacred sites and ecosystems,
silent mystery in hidden habitats,
the soul of Earth revealed in stillness.

When I am home with Earth,
I am acutely aware
Earth is there,
mystery is moving me
and Presence is present.


Extract from “A Letter to my Grandchildren”
By Noel Preston. Ethics With or Without God/129

…I must conclude now because I should not over-indulge my grandfatherly prerogatives.

I once saw an advertising billboard which exhorted: “Live life to the limit”.
What an irony that this sign was promoting a gambling casino,
for this slogan fits the human quest to transcend and improve our present circumstances -
a basic motivation of the ethical life.

Perhaps the casino’s advertising agents understand the inner desires of human beings,
even if their product does not satisfy those desires.

By all means, live life to the limit; go beyond the limits of self-centredness or narrow interests;
exercise your freedom with responsibility.
Life is a gift to enjoy with, and for, others.

And remember the good life is a balanced life:
give expression to urges of creativity,
invigorate your body as well as nourish your mind,
and above all else, care for the Earth for its own sake
and also for the sake of your generation’s grandchildren.

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 3:13-17 (Inclusive Text)

Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John.
John tried to dissuade Jesus.
'It is I who need baptism from you,' John said, 'and yet you come to me!'

But Jesus replied,
'Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way,
do all that righteousness demands.’
At this John gave in to Jesus.

As soon as Jesus was baptised and came up from the water,
suddenly the heavens opened up and Jesus saw
the Spirit of God descending like a dove
and coming down on him.

And a voice spoke from heaven:
'This is my Child, my Beloved, on whom my favour rests.'

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection


A Celebration of Faith (Optional)
In response to the word reflected on, let us stand
and share together a celebration of faith.
The people stand as they are able

The people of God have a human face.
All  We laugh, we weep,
we wait in hope.
We lift our eyes
All  and stub our toes,
we love,
and struggle,
we fail,
we stand
and always we stand
on trembling ground.

But God is God
and Jesus is the Christ
and the Spirit
will lift up our feet.
God is in the centre,
God is at our endings.
Nothing lies beyond
the love of God in Christ.  (Pitt St. Uniting Church/eoj)

Sharing 'The Peace
Let us take a moment to celebrate each other.

May a heart of peace rest with you.
All And also with you.  (David Galston/q)
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn/Song  "The Birth of a Boy-child…”  (Tune: ‘Away in a Manger’,              43 RP
The birth of a boy-child, the growth of a man:
his mother’s enigma; a part of God’s plan?
Uncertain, now standing a part of the crowd;
the still of the water foreshadows a shroud.

The death of an old life, the birth of a new,
as values are challenged, past choices askew.
Fierce currents of feeling, encounters of love,
a man by a river, a voice and a dove.

That voice stills the crowd at the slow river's rim:
‘My son, my beloved, now listen to him!
The birth of a boy-child, the growth of a man:
his mother’s enigma; a part of God's plan?   (Andrew Pratt/©Stainer & Bell) 


"Bring in your New World" (Tune: 'Salisbury Street')                                                      13 HoS
Bring in your new world, child of the sun,
God's shining Presence, bright in your essence,
Christmas begun;
bring to our sad world light and delight,
singing and laughter, hope as our shelter,
stars to our night.

Bring in your new world, child of the east,
dangerous leader, born to be pleader,
prophet and priest;
come with your judgement, voice for the poor,
born to collision, God's righteous vision
here at our door.

Bring in your new world, child of all time,
peace without border, peace the new order,
lion with lamb;
come in the healing, sharing of bread,
justice and freedom, signs of the kingdom,
everyone fed.

Bring in your new world, child of our earth,
 holding creation in your compassion,
 waiting your birth;
 come little human, cry your first breath,
 cry out God's kindness, light out of blindness,
 life out of death. 
(Shirley Erena Murray)


To Our Winters”  (Tune: ‘Echo Carol’. Louis Claude d'Aquin (1694-1772)
Arranged: David C Childs (1941-1999)
To our winters Jesus brings
Light and warmth and dancing,
Melting frozen lives and hearts,
Freeing and enhancing.
Christ proclaims each person’s worth
Spreading hope throughout the Earth.
Praise the Gospel Child,**
Praise the Word made flesh,
Praise Christ,
Praise God in Winter,
Winter and forever! 

Sound the trumpet, sing for joy,
God’s new world is dawning,
Bringing justice all can share,
Ending bitter mourning.
To the blind who cannot see
God in friend and enemy,
Christ brings light and truth,
God brings light and truth,
Brings light,
Brings light to people,
Light within their darkness.

Hidden in the darkest night
Dwell the joys of Easter.
From the grave there springs new life
Rising from disaster.
Free us God to serve the world,
Let your love in us unfold.
Serve the Gospel Child,**
Serve the broken world,
Serve Christ,
Serve God in Winter,
Winter and forever!  (William L Wallace)

** For use in the Northern Hemisphere:  Consider replacing “Gospel Child” with “Christmas Child”.
Note: The second half of each verse can be sung antiphonally with the exception of the last verse which should be sung together.


Let our gratitude for life be expressed in our generosity.
Let our faith be expressed in good causes.
Let our belief in the future find full expression
in our daily attitude of mind.  (Francis Macnab/fwb)

Reflections and Prayers
Care Candle:
We are people of all ages who enter this space
bringing our joys and concerns.
Joys and Celebrations; Griefs and Concerns shared

Focused Thoughts:

Listening Response:
In this abundant blessing
We share the joy.
In this, our time of need,
All  May love abound (Gretta Vosper/wwg)

And so we take a flame and light our special Care Candle…
The Care Candle is lit

For ourselves, for those named or remembered, and in solidarity with those
who have not the freedom to express their concern or celebration
for fear of discrimination or condemnation.

In all our joys and in all our concerns, may we be ever mindful
of the presentness of the sacred among us,
and to see the new possibilities of the now.

The 'Abba' Prayer: (Optional)
You are invited to pray in the spirit of the Abba/Lord's Prayer, and in your original language, as that is appropriate

All  O Birther!  Father-Mother of the Cosmos
you create all that moves in light.
Hear the one Sound that created all others,
in this way the Name is hallowed in silence.

Your rule springs into existence
as our arms reach out to embrace all creation.
Let all wills move together
in your vortex, as stars and planets
swirl through the sky.

Grant what we need each day in bread and insight:
subsistence for the call of growing life.

Lighten our load of secret debts as
we relieve others of their need to repay.

Keep us from hoarding false wealth,
and from the inner shame of
help not given in time.  (Matthew Fox/ormw)


Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
Look in Wonder(Tune: ‘Look in Wonder’)                                                              29(v1-2) TEL
Look in wonder, hold in honour
all the beauty of the earth!
World, surrender to her splendor:
God's own blessing for her birth;
sense and savor every colour,
every season, sun to star,
see the measure of this treasure,
all we nurture, all we mar.

Every creature by its nature
shares the cycle, life's design,
every human, man and woman
joins the circle, moves the line;
look in horror, look in anger –
these are lifestreams we destroy!
Tree and river gone forever,
bird and flower dead to joy.
Remain standing

Reflection: “Now What” (Optional)
now what will you do
with those gifts?

now what will you do
with that love
God has given to you -
to share with those 
you don't like?

now what will you do
with that hope
God put under the tree -
can you pass it on
to a despairing neighbor?

now what will you do
with that joy 
you didn't expect -
hoard it all for yourself
or hand it to a grieving widow?

now what will you 
do with that grace
God stuck in your stocking -
leave it there
or find the stranger who needs it?

now what will you do
with all that forgiveness
God has given to you
in the Babe -
throw it out
with the wrapping paper
or offer it to the one
who has hurt you so much?

that Christmas is over,
what will you do?
(© Thom M Shuman, 2006)

Parting Words
Let us go in faith to ponder in our hearts
the mystery and the wonder of this season…

The Community Candle is extinguished

We have a calling in this world: 
All we are called to honour diversity, 
to respect differences with dignity, 
and to challenge those who would forbid it. 

We are people of a wide path. 
Let us be wide in affection 
and go our way in peace.  J.M.Rickard 

Words of Blessing
The world you go into is a world filled with
challenges, with crises, with pain, with disappointment.

You go as people who know these things intimately
because you have felt them, experienced them,
and railed against them.

Go now as those who would see not only what the world is
but what we can make it be, and
may your hands, your heart, your voice
be turned toward making it so.

Go in peace! (Gretta Vosper/wwg)
All  In peace!
Amen! May it be so!

Hymn/Song  (Cont)Look in Wonder(Tune: ‘Look in wonder’)                                29(v3) TEL
In this garden, Eve and Adam
still are given time and place,
ours to cherish, ours to nourish,
ocean, water, land and space;
God, unnerve us, God, forgive us:
how we plunder, waste and war!
Give new meaning to earth's greening,
that the beauty thrives once more.  Shirley Erina Murray 
The people sit after the hymn


Whispering Gently”                                                                                                  77 FFS
Whispering gently the breeze from the mountain
beckons our senses to what it may say;
fresh from the snows that are melted by sunshine,
stirred by the kingfisher flying away.
Blue sky, Lord of creation,
freshen our faith,
blossom our love.
Deep green, Lord of creation,
springtime of faith,
the Spirit of love.

Bursting with colour the orchards surround us,
grasses that grow in the warmth of the green;
heralds of gold in the flowers of the bushland,
nature announces that spring should be seen.

Birth of the new is a sign of your Spirit,
God the creator and Jesus our Lord;
lambs on the hillsides and calves on the pastures,
leaping in sunshine and dancing your word.

Spirit of hope in the Christ who renews us,
lighten our winter of anguish with spring;
washed with the showers of loving forgiveness,
warmed by the rays of the love that you bring.  (Bill Bennett/Adapt)

'This Week' at (NN)
Birthdays and anniversaries
Significant events
Journey candles


Morning tea is now served.
You are invited to share in this time of fellowship

You are invited to keep this copy of the liturgy and take it home with you
to share with another member of your family, or with a friend

I recommend the use of
LicenSing - Copyright cleared music for churches

Some of the Resources used in Shaping this Liturgy:
Dobson, M. Multi-coloured Maze. Drama, Hymns, Prayers and Poems for Worship and Everyday Living. London. Stainer & Bell, 2004.
Duncan, G. (ed). Entertaining Angels. A Worship Anthology on Sharing Christ’s hospitality. Norwich. The Canterbury Press, 2005.
Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
Habel, N.
Rainbow of Mysteries. Meeting the Sacred in Nature. Kelowna: Copper House/Wood Lake Publishing, 2012.
Hope is Our Song. New Hymns and Songs from Aotearoa New Zealand. Palmerston North. The New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2009.
Fox, M.
One River, Many Wells. Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths. New York. Tarcher/Penguin Publishing, 2000.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
McRae-McMahon, D.
Echoes of Our Journey. Liturgies of the People. Melbourne. JBCE, 1993.
Macnab, F.
A Fine Wind is Blowing: Psalms of the Bible in Words that Blow you away. Richmond. Spectrum Publications, 2006.
(TEL) Murray, S. E.
Touch the Earth Lightly. New Hymns Written between 2003 & 2008. Carol Stream. Hope Publishing, 2008.
Patton, K.
Services and Songs for the Celebration of Life. Boston: Beacon Press, 1967.
Preston, N. Ethics With or Without God: Christianity and Morality in the 21st Century. Preston. Mosaic Press, 2014. (Reissued by Morning Star Publishing, 2015)
(RP) Pratt, A. Reclaiming Praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd., 2006.
(TiS) Together in Song. Australian Hymn Book 2. Sydney. HarperCollins Religious., 1999. 
Copyright enquiries:
Vosper, G. With or Without God. Why the Way we Live is more important than What we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.
Vosper, G.
Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane: The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.

Web sites/Other:
Hewitt, Rickard. UUA Worship Web. Boston.
Thom M Shuman.  [w-rcl] Liturgy web site.
C3Exchange, Spring Lake. MI.  <>
"Womb of Life".
Ruth Duck. From the book “Circles of Care: Hymns and Songs” Pilgrim Press.
David Galston. Quest Learning Centre for Religious Literacy. <
William L Wallace. “To Our Winters”.