Revd Rex A E Hunt
eMail: rexae74@gmail.com  OR  Rexae@optusnet.com.au
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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.

9 February 2020. Epiphany 5A. (Green).
Children's Ministry

Worth Pondering
“Don’t let life scare you”
(Josephine Lawrence)

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, emerging,
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)
          Multi-sensory 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

Creativity God fills this place of gathering.
The whole earth is full of God's glory.
Amen. Again I say Amen.

Let us then celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Lighting of the Community Candle
The Community Candle is lit in silence

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
"Ever Wondrous(Tune: 'Vesper Hymn’)                                                                                1 SiF
From the land and sea ascending
rises yet another day;
rays of sun shine bright upon us
waking life along our way.
Ever wondrous, ever glorious,
ever awesome, Amen.
Hearts are filled with humble worship,
Songs of praising without end.

Now on land and sea descending
closes yet another day;
moon and stars shine bright upon us,
darkness has its velvet sway.

Through the ages, earth and ocean
team with life both great and small;
let us take our place with honour
humbly live as part of all.
Refrain:   (Words © Scott Kearns 2008, Inspired by those of Samuel Longfellow, 1859)


We Thank You God…” (Tune: ‘Wareham’, 88.88)                                                         19(v1-4) WNC
We thank you God for those who know
your depth of wisdom in their lives,
whose pride or power do not prevent
the love of Christ from being shown.

We thank you for the scholar's skill,
the learning that is honed and trained,
the gifts, that given, now are used
for good, for care, for love, for all.

We thank you for the poet's art
that offers prophecy and light,
which through the rhythm of the words
remains with us when thoughts depart.

We thank you for the dancing form
that pirouettes with grace and skill,
that weaves a pattern through the air
and challenges our static norm.
Remain standing

Opening Sentences
We are called to celebrate and worship,
not just by words spoken, 
but also by miracles recalled: 
a baby's first cry,
the petals of a rose,
mist-covered hills,
the restless tides of the seas,
human love,
human hope.

We respond:
All  with gratitude,
with joy,
with wonder,
at life's boundless possibilities.  (Adapted. Gordon B McKeeman)

Act of Awareness
Each morning brings a newness that we need but step into.
It can wash us,
lift us,
heal us,
hold us
just as each of us has need.

May we be open to the power that lies dormant within us.
May we be full with a confidence in our own strength.
May we move from the routines that we follow
to the fullness of life that we might live.  
(Gretta Vosper/hb)


We pray:
Creativity God, you have made us one with this earth,
to tend it and bring forth fruit;
may we share in the labour of all creation
to give birth to your hidden glory.
May it be so.

Hymn/Song   “The World-tree”  (Tune: ‘Ygdrasil’,                                           197 HCL
The sky has gathered the flowers of sunset.
The earth is red with the dew of slaughter.
The shores are ringed with the steel of onset.
And darkness covers the weaponed water.

The world-tree sickens beyond all knowing.
The worm is wasting the leaves that wreath it.
The bough is drying; the sap is slowing;
For hatreds gnaw in their hells beneath it.

On one sole ground will the world-tree flourish,
On earth unarmored against its bearing,
Its glories free and it strength to nourish
The world-wide lands in a common sharing.

In kinship only, with all earth gardened,
The ravished leaf may be stayed in thinning
The stony ground at the root unhardened,
The boughs be green for a new beginning.  (Ridgely Torrence, 1952)


Hymn/Song  (Cont)  We Thank You God… (Tune: ‘Wareham’, 88.88)                               19(v5-8) WNC
We thank you for the singing soul
that soars to some harmonious height
above, beyond our human sense,
and glimpses heaven, almost whole.

We thank you for incisive sight
that analyses and discerns,
through science, patterns that inform
predictions, actions we repeat.

We thank you, God, for light and sound
with which we interact and move;
for singing colours, thrumming beat,
that thrill, that shake the solid ground.

We thank you, God, for all the gifts
of human spirit, skill and mind;
O may indifference never numb
our sense of awe at love so deft.  (Andrew Pratt)
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.


“Meditation for a Beautiful Day”
By Sara Campbell

Ah, how beautiful is this day.
How crisp and clean the air.
How clear the sky.
How full of life the teeming earth.
And we are alive!

Yes, we feel the beat of our own hearts,
the pulsing of life in our veins,
the rhythm of our breathing.
We come into the silence of this time with gratitude for this day.
We come also with our needs.

Our gratitude stirs us to praise and sing our thanksgiving.
Our loneliness draws us into the company of others.
Our restlessness draws us into these moments of quiet.
Our longing for the spirit brings us before the mystery of the holy.
Our desire to heal our own wounds and the wounds of our world
brings us here to renew our strength and hope.

And we come into this space because we have gifts to share:
words of healing and encouragement for those who are burdened;
 songs of praise and hope;
smiles of comfort and affection;
deeds of love and kindness.

Each of us comes to dip into the well that nourishes our hungry spirits.
Each of us comes with our own cup of goodness to pour into the well.
We drink together.

May we be strengthened in our bonds of love and peace.

Centering Silence
A period of silence is kept

Music of Reflection


Readings from our broad Religious Tradition
From the World Around us:
“Our Highest Aspiration”
Anonymous. Singing the Living Tradition/434.

May we be reminded here of our highest aspirations,
and inspired to bring our gifts of
love and service
to the altar of

May we know once again that we
are not isolated beings
but connected,
in mystery and
to the universe,
to this community and to 


A Reflection on Drought, and the Rain in parts of Australia:
“Rain from Nowhere”
By Murray Hartin. (Written in February 2007)

His cattle didn’t get a bid, they were fairly bloody poor,
What was he going to do? He couldn’t feed them anymore,
The dams were all but dry, hay was thirteen bucks a bale,
And last month’s talk of rain was just a fairytale,
His credit had run out, no chance to pay what’s owed,
Bad thoughts ran through his head as he drove down Gully Road.

“Geez, great grandad bought the place back in 1898,
“Now I’m such a useless bastard, I’ll have to shut the gate.
“I can’t feed my wife and kids, not like dad and those before,
“Crikeys, Grandma kept it going while Pop fought in the war.”
With depression now his master, he abandoned what was right,
There’s no place in life for failures, he’d end it all tonight.

There were still some things to do, he’d have to shoot the cattle first,
Of all the jobs he’d ever done, that would be the worst.
Then he’d shower, watch the news, they’d all sit down for tea,
Read his kids a bedtime story and watch some more TV,
Kiss his wife goodnight, say he was off to shoot some ’roos
Then in a paddock far away he’d blow away the blues.

But he drove in the gate and stopped – as he always had
To check the roadside mailbox – and found a letter from his Dad.
Now his dad was not a writer, Mum did all the cards and mail
But he knew the writing from the notebooks that he’d kept from cattle sales.
He sensed the nature of its contents, felt the moisture in his eyes,
Just the fact his dad had written was enough to make him cry.

“Son, I know it’s bloody tough, it’s a cruel and twisted game,
“This life upon the land when you’re screaming out for rain,
“There’s no candle in the darkness, not a single speck of light
“But don’t let the demon get you, you have to do what’s right,
“I don’t know what’s in your head but push the nasty thoughts away
“See, you’ll always have your family at the back end of the day

“You have to talk to someone and, yeah mate, I know I rarely did
“But you have to think about Fiona and think about the kids.
“I’m worried about you son, you haven’t phoned for quite a while,
“And I know the road you’re on ‘cause I’ve walked every bloody mile.
“The date? December 7 back in 1983,
“Behind the shed I had the shotgun rested by the brigalow tree.

“See, I’d borrowed way too much to buy the Johnson place
“Then it didn’t rain for years and we got bombed by interest rates,
“The bank was at the door, I didn’t think I had a choice,
“I began to squeeze the trigger – that’s when I heard your voice.
“You said ‘Where are you Daddy? It’s time to play our game’
“'I’ve got Squatter all set up, we might get General Rain.’

“It really was that close and you’re the one that stopped me son,
“And you’re the one that taught me there’s no answer in a gun.
“Just remember people love you, good mates won’t let you down.
“Look, you might have to swallow pride and take that job in town,
“Just ’til things come good, son, you’ve always got a choice
“And when you get this letter ring me, ’cause I’d love to hear your voice.”

Well he cried and laughed and shook his head then put the truck in gear,
Shut his eyes and hugged his dad in a vision that was clear,
Dropped the cattle at the yards, put the truck away
Filled the troughs the best he could and fed his last ten bales of hay.
Then he strode towards the homestead, shoulders back, head held high,
He still knew the road was tough but there was purpose in his eye.

He called his wife and children, who’d lived through all his pain,
Hugs said more than words – he’d come back to them again,
They talked of silver linings, how good times always follow bad,
Then he walked towards the phone, picked it up and rang his Dad.
And while the kids set up the Squatter, he hugged his wife again,
Then they heard the roll of thunder and they smelt the smell of rain.


“Last Night the Rain Spoke To Me”
By Mary Oliver

Last night
the rain

poke to me

slowly, saying,
what joy
to come falling

out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way

on the earth!

That’s what it said

as it dropped,
smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.

Then it was over.

The sky cleared.

I was standing
under a tree.

The tree was a tree

with happy leaves,

and I was myself,
and there were stars in the sky

that were also themselves

at the moment,

at which moment
my right hand

was holding my left hand

which was holding the tree

which was filled with stars
and the soft rain—

imagine! imagine!
the wild and wondrous journeys

still to be ours.

Traditional Gospel:
Matthew 5:13-16 (Inclusive Text)

Jesus said to the disciples:
You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again?
It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out
to be trampled underfoot.

You are the light of the world.
A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden.
No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub;
they put it on a lamp-stand where it shines
for everyone in the house.

In the same way your light must shine in the sight of all,
so that, seeing your good works, they
may give praise to God in heaven.

Contemporary Exploration

Silence for Personal Reflection


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

We celebrate a God
All  who lives and speaks in sunsets,
in love-wrapped gifts,
and fleeting butterflies.

We celebrate a Christ
who honoured our humanness,
who climbed trees,
skinned knees;
who laughed and cried,
loved and wept, bled and died.

We celebrate a Spirit,
who mystically joins us
to people everywhere,
and incorporates us into Christ.

We celebrate a church,
seeking, however imperfectly,
to act justly, love mercy,
and walk humbly with our God.  (Adapted. Dorothy McRae-McMahon/eoj)


v1  In the centre of the whirlwind
lies an eye.
v2  Before we come into the world,
it is as though we live in that centre —
no worries,
no storms;
only peace.
All  As we find our way in life,
even in the midst of chaos,
may we remember that centre and,
as the need arises,
and it must,
may we hold
to the calm, open, stillness,
knowing it is home.

v1  As those who walk the winds,
v2  we journey on.  (Gretta Vosper/wab)

Sharing 'The Peace
Let us greet another as a sign of God's peace
and of our shared friendship.

The peace of God is here... to stay.  (Iona)
All  Thanks be to God.
You are invited to share the peace with your neighbours.

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
When All the Good…(Tune: ‘Killibegs’, William Davies)                                       43 PaT
When all the good is gathered up,
when all the pain is gathered, too,
then will an energy be born
to spark a world alight and new!

When all the spirit of the good
absorbs our sufferings and fears,
then will an energy arrive
that grows creation out of tears.

Within a chemistry of change,
within the heart of all that beats
will be the energy of love
that nothing quenches or defeats.

Where all the elements combine
to fire new truth, to foster joy,
set loose that energy of love
to be in us God’s strong alloy!

When goodness takes the place of gold,
when pain of war, of word and fist
becomes the energy of hope,
then peace and justice will have kissed.  
(Shirley Erena Murray)



In our giving, may our hearts be opened,
our hands unclenched, our ears unclogged, and our eyes opened
that we may feel and touch and taste and see
the breath and play of Creativity God in our midst.

With the Children
Children gather on the conversation mat


"Somewhere someone"

The kingdom of love is coming because:
All  somewhere someone is kind when others are unkind,
somewhere someone shares with another in need,
somewhere someone refuses to hate, while others hate,
somewhere someone is patient - and waits in love,
somewhere someone returns good for evil,
somewhere someone serves another, in love,
somewhere someone is calm in a storm,
somewhere someone is loving everybody.
Is that someone you?  (Binkley & McKeel/jke)

Teachers/helpers/come forward.
Children/parents form a circle around them.

v1   Once upon a time, in the beginning,
a labour of love was undertaken.

And a place was established where children
might find learning and love and acceptance,
and it was called Children's Sunday Club.

And the labour of love progressed.
And it was very good.

“It Takes a Universe”
By Thomas Berry 

The child awakens to
a universe. The mind
of the child to
a world of wonder.
Imagination to a world
of beauty. Emotions
to a world of intimacy.
It takes a universe
to make a child both
in outer form and inner spirit. 

It takes
a universe to educate
a child. A universe
to fulfill a child.
Each generation presides
over the meeting of these
two in the succeeding
So that the universe
is fulfilled in the child,
and the child is fulfilled
in the Universe.

While the stars ring out
in the heavens! 

v2   Let us reflect on he importance of what we are doing today... 
We celebrate and give thanks for all teachers, helpers, musicians, community
workers, children and parents,
who are part of (NN) Sunday Club this new year.

May they be blessed in their ministry.
May we always be prepared to offer our support,
that they may never feel alone in their work.

And we celebrate the children in our midst…
We wish you a sense of wonder.
We wish you companionship that you may appreciate solitude.
We wish you a friend who will understand you, and
understanding so that you may have a friend.

We wish you may become all that you wish to be, and
more than you hope that you can be.  (Adapted. B Kaufmann)

v1 And the labourers looked at all that had been accomplished,
and the people rejoiced,
for it was very good.

Teachers/children return to their seats

Hymn/Song  People stand as they are able, to sing
Today We Celebrate  (Tune: ‘St. Peter’. 86.86) 
Today we come to celebrate 
the start of a new year. 
With joyful hearts we dedicate 
the faith we hold so dear.

 With each new year our children grow, 
they blossom in our sight. 
They live with zeal and help to show 
love's joy and deep delight. 

With understanding and in trust
we've built a sacred space. 
Through learning, teaching, sharing too 
our children we embrace.

 In gratitude we name our thanks 
for smiles and fun and play. 
We pray for young hearts in our midst, 
for love to guide their way. 

With trusting hearts and eager minds 
we welcome this new day, 
to celebrate community 
and love that guides our way.   (© Rev. Peggy McDonagh, 2003 All rights reserved)

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:
May our thoughts be filled with transformation,
May our words reflect the yearnings of our hearts.
And may the spirit that binds within us as we gather
All  Hallow each and every passing moment
we know here together.  (Adapted. Gretta Vosper/ab)

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  God - heart of the world: 
revealed through every aspect of creation:
understood through our awareness.

May we honour the holiness of creation and act accordingly
so that your love is reflected in the way we live.

May we always be thankful for the food we eat
and the friends we have.

May we forgive those who transgress against us
and be forgiven for our own.

In the freedom of love may we live as your heartbeat
and not be compromised by hesitation.
Through our freedom, may your justice
be seen and heard and experienced
forever and ever. Amen.  (Sherri J Weinberg)


Hymn/Song  The people stand as they are able, to sing
"The Sound of History Humming" (Tune: Aurelia', 76.76D)                                   5(v1-2) RP
The sound of history humming,
the origins of time,
as galaxies are clustered,
as light and matter rhyme:
philosophers imagine
while science gathers facts,
we reach for understanding,
yet what we know contracts.

We delve beyond the present
through interstellar gas;
we fathom, seek to measure,
a sub-atomic mass.
The God that we conceive of,
a thief within the night:
we cannot gauge this treasure,
beyond the scale of light.
Remain standing

Parting Words
Let us take on this week’s life
with renewed hope and imagination...
The Community Candle is extinguished

And now we take our leave.
Before we gather here again:
may each of us bring happiness into another's life;
may we each be surprised by the gifts that surround us;
may each of us be enlivened by constant curiosity.
And may we remain together in spirit
til the hour we meet again.  BCheatham

Words of Blessing
May the God who dances in creation,
who embraces us with human love,
who shakes our lives like thunder,
bless us and drive us out with power
to fill the world with her justice.
Amen! May it be so!

Hymn/Song  (Cont) "The Sound of History Humming" (Tune: ‘Aurelia', 76.76D)                           5(v3) RP
As yet the mystery blinds us,
confined by birth and death,
but human exploration
will not discard the quest;
as yet we live in tension:
the only earth we know
is where all skill and science
must help our love to grow.  (© Andrew Pratt)
The people sit after the hymn

'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:
Binkley, C. G. & J. M. McKeel. Jesus and his Kingdom of Equals. An International Curriculum on the Life and Teaching of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press, 2001.
(FFS) Faith Forever Singing. Songs for a New Day. Raumati. New Zealand Hymnbook Trust, 2000.
Inclusive Readings. Year A. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2004.
Iona Community.
Iona Abbey Worship Book. Glasgow. Wild Goose Publications, 2001.
(SiF) Kearns, S. (ed). Sing it Forward. Traditional Hymns Recast and Rewritten for Non-Exclusive Communities. In circulation from the author, 2009.
(PaT) Murray, S. E. A Place at the Table. New Hymns written between 2009 and 2013. Carol Stream: Hope Publishing, 2013.
(RP) Pratt, A.
Reclaiming Praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2006.
(WNC) Pratt, A.
Whatever Name or Creed. Hymns and Songs. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2002.
(SNS) Stuart, G. Singing a New Song. Traditional Hymn Tunes with New Century Lyrics. Volume 2. Toronto. G Stuart, 2009.
(SLT) Singing the Living Tradition. Boston. UUA, 1993.
Vosper, G.
We All Breathe. Poems and Prayers. Toronto. PostPurgical Resources, 2012.
Vosper, G.
Holy Breath. Prayers for Worship and Reflection. New & Revised edition. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2004/2010.
Vosper, G. 
Another Breath. Prayers for Celebration and Reflection. Brisbane. The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought Brisbane, 2009/2010.

Web sites/Other:
Campbell, McKeeman, Cheatham, UUA Worship Web. Boston. <www.uua.org/spirituallife/worshipweb/>
Sherri Weinberg. St Paul's Presbyterian Church. NZ: Devonport. (2004)
Mary Oliver.