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On Sunday we will celebrate our Christmas liturgy at 10:00am in the Fellowship Hall of New Covenant Presbyterian Church and the readings are printed below. The theme for our liturgy is Peace through Justice and during the liturgy we will be singing familiar carols with added verses on a justice theme. Light refreshments follow liturgy and we remind you to please consider bringing a donation for Family Promise. Also, please bring a stole or scarf to wear during liturgy.
This liturgical year (C) focuses primarily on the Gospel attributed to Luke, who was thought to be one of St. Paul’s co-workers and also the author of the Acts of the Apostles. In his writing, Luke appears to be a master of detail and what appears at first to be a simple story, on further inspection, has hidden depth and complexity. Luke’s interpretation of the life of Jesus was probably written around 85-90 CE, after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, and expanded on Mark’s story incorporating many of the sayings of Jesus attributed to a source called “Q”.
As we listen to the readings, we will be asking ourselves, What did and do these stories mean? The stories about Jesus concern the conflict between an imperial theology (Caesar) and a theology grounded in the God of Israel. On Sunday, we listen to the parable of Jesus’ birth as told by Luke and we contemplate the hidden depth and complexity beneath what seems like a simple and sentimental story. Remember, parables are meant to be interactive and challenging.
To help prepare for our shared homily, we invite you to listen to an interview of John Dominic Crossan, one of the authors of The First Christmas, as he provides some background on the infancy narratives told by Luke and Matthew.
John Dominic Crossan’s The Birth of Jesus
We look forward to being with you on Sunday,
A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah 9:2-7a
In darkness, a light was born.
From deep darkness, a crest of dawn shines.
You enlarged life, and Your people were born.
Even though they knew pain and suffering,
You increased their joy.
They rejoice before You as with joy at the harvest,
as children exult at play, and delight in sharing gifts.
For You have shattered the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.
Every warriors boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
For unto us a baby is born.
For unto us a child is given
on whose shoulders our future rests.
The child will be called: Wonderful Counselor,
Strength of God, Everlasting One, Voice of Peace.
And of the peace the Child brings,
there will be no end.
These are the inspired words of the Prophet Isaiah.
A Reading from the Good News attributed to Luke 2:1-20
In those days, a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first census and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David and Bathsheba. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was pledged to be married and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. She gave birth to her firstborn and wrapped the babe in bands of cloth. She laid the newborn in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
In that region, there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. Then an angel, a messenger of God, stood before them. The glory of God shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. For I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people:
Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Messiah, the Anointed One. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, there was with the messenger a multitude of the heavenly beings, praising God and singing, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to all God’s people!”
When the angels had left them, retreating into cosmic splendor, the shepherds said to one another, ““Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which God has made known to us.” They went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.
Mary treasured all these words, and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned to their pastures, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, which was just as they had been told.
These are the inspired words of Luke, Disciple of Jesus.
All are invited to a Friends of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) informational meeting on Wednesday September 12 at 7:00 pm. The location is yet to be determined. Please RSVP to email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> if you plan on coming to the meeting. We would like to know how many people to expect. We will give a brief overview of the current status of our movement and will answer questions. Please pass this information to anyone you think may be interested in hearing more about our movement. Being a Friend of ARCWP is not necessarily a financial commitment. It is a way of supporting our work.
LYNN KINLAN, A MEMBER OF THE UPPER ROOM INCLUSIVE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY, WILL BE ORDAINED A ROMAN CATHOLIC WOMAN PRIEST ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2018, AT THE FIRST UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH AT 405 WASHINGTON AVENUE IN ALBANY AT 1:00PM.
Lynn Kinlan, area educator, and one of the pastoral leaders of the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community at 916 Western Avenue, in Albany, NY , will be ordained a Roman Catholic priest by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan of the Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests at 1:00 PM on Saturday, September 8 at the Unitarian Church located at 405 Washington Avenue in Albany, NY. Lynn is following in the footsteps of courageous women who are claiming their rightful place as equals in the Roman Catholic Church. In the words of Bridget Mary, ”We are leading the church, not leaving the church.”
Women priests are a major reform movement working for gender justice in inclusive communities like the Upper Room. In a recent letter to the editor appearing in the Albany Times Union, Rev. Mary Theresa Streck, a pastoral leader of the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community wrote, Roman Catholic Church members are forming small, inclusive faith communities of support where all are welcome at the Eucharistic table. The Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community in Albany is among the growing number of faith communities in the United States modeling a new church structure rooted in a theology of blessing. Pastoral ministers are women and men ordained through the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. Change is happening at the ground level. Roman Catholics who still wish to be part of a prayerful community are encouraged to join with these smaller groups. It may be the only way the church will survive. This is a public ordination. All are welcome to attend.
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests https://arcwp.org/
People’s Catholic Seminary https://pcseminary.org
Sunday, July 22nd is the feast day of Mary Magdalen, The Apostle to the Apostles
You are invited to join the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community of the Capital Region as we celebrate her life and unique role at our regular Liturgy:
Sunday, July 22nd, 10 AM,
In the Fellowship Hall of New Covenant Presbyterian Church
916 Western Avenue, Albany, NY (map)
joyfully invites you
to the Priestly Ordination
Saturday, September 8, 2018
First Unitarian Universalist Church
405 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12206
Our celebration continues following the ceremony in Lynn and Bernie’s backyard in Guilderland: 123 Kennewyck Circle Slingerlands, NY 12159.
As the party will be catered, we will need your RSVP by August 28th
by email to Joan Chesterfield at email@example.com
Out of Town Guests:
A block of rooms has been reserved at The Fairfield Inn located at 1383 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12206. These rooms will be held for Friday 9/7 and Saturday 9/8 at a rate of $109.00 per night inclusive of breakfast. Reservations may be made online at Book your group rate for The Upper Room Guests may also book a room by calling The Fairfield Inn at (518) 435 – 1900. The block of rooms will be held until 8/17 /18.
The Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community and the People’s Catholic Seminary’ sponsored a weekend retreat lead by Michael Morwood from June 1-3, 2018 in Albany, NY. The liturgy below concluded a weekend on God, Jesus and Prayer for the 21st Century Christians.
Michael has over 40 years’ experience in retreat, education, parish and adult faith development ministries, and is the author of 10 books, the most recent being Prayers for Progressive Christians. Michael’s particular interest is in helping adult Christians examine what we believe and why we believe it, what we imagine and why we imagine the way we do.’
In his prophetic voice, he is raising the right and obvious questions that all Christians must face. In his response he provides fresh and perceptive possibilities for a modern and relevant faith.Like many of the prophets before him, he has paid a very high price for articulating Christian faith in ways that resonate with a contemporary understanding of our place in the universe.*
*Click on the links below to get a glimpse of what we experienced this weekend. “Jesus through a 21^st ‘ century lens (Part 1-3).’ ‘ https://youtu.be/ghdcvoT2VZQ* *https://youtu.be/qGV3X2Oay80*
*To learn more about Michael, visit his website at’ www.morwood.org <www.morwood.org/>.’ Bring him to your progressive Christian Community!!!*
*Liturgy: ‘The Gifts We Are*
*Michael: Welcome and Theme* *’ ‘ * *Opening Prayer*:*’ In the Name of All That IS* *https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR38ZBpAXZ8&sns=em* by Jan Novotka
*In the name of all that is we come together.’ * *In the name of the stars and galaxies; in the name of the planets, moons and the sun;’ * *in the name of all that is we come.*
*In the name of all that is we come together.’ * *In the name of the ocean and the sea; in the name of the mountain, desert and plain;’ * *in the name of all that is we come.*
*In the name of all that is we come together.’ * *In the name of the buffalo and bear; in the name of the turtle, eagle and whale;’ * *in the name of all that is we come.*
*In the name of all that is we come together.’ * *In the name of the cactus and the fern; in the name of the flower, tree and the herb;’ * *in the name of all that is we come.*
*In the name of all that is we come together.* *In the name of the elements of life; in the name of the soil, water and air;’ * *in the name of all that is we come.*
*In the name of all that is we come together.’ * *In the name of the children of earth; in the name of the Spirit breathing in all things;* *in the name of all that is we come.*
*First Meditation:’ We Who Are Alive Today by Jan Phillips*
*We who are alive today are the eyes and ears,* *the hands and feet of the Creative Force.*
*We are Thought Incarnate, Word made Flesh, Love materialized.* *We are the consciousness of the earth:*’ *the universe knowing itself, seeing itself, singing to itself.*
*We are prophets of a new time, makers of a new myth,* *where our Source dwells not on some heavenly throne* *but in the very breath of living things: among us and within us.*
*We are made of heaven and earth, starlight and clay,* *minerals and meteor dust.*’ *We are the Infinite Wave transformed into finite particles,’ spacetime compressed into the spec of a lifetime.*
*As the Cosmos multiplies and expands forever outward* *so does it expand forever inward*’ *evolving us into beings of higher consciousness.*
*We who are alive today came here with a purpose,’ * *are in service to a mission: to extend mercy, to bring forth justice,* *to re-member ourselves and converge as one.*
*We are creating’ tomorrow’ with our thoughts and words.* *We are shaping ourselves and families, our communities and cities,* *our cultures and civilizations by what we do and failed to do.*
*We are ascending into our potential, evolving into our God-ness,* *co-creating the Whole that is the sum of our parts.*
*We who are alive today; let us sing out that the heaven we seek* *is already around us, that wherever we look,* *the Holy One is there, looking right back.*
*No matter what storms batter and buffet us, let us not lose heart,* *for we are One with All and life holds us firmly in the palm of its hand.*
*These are the words of Jan Phillips and we affirm them by saying, AMEN!*
*’© Jan Phillips 2013*
*Second Meditation: ‘The Gift You Are’ by John Denver* *https://youtu.be/RG31OE6tKRY*
*Imagine a month of Sundays Each one a cloudy day Imagine the moment the sun came shining through Imagine that ray of sunshine as you Remember your darkest hour With dawn still far away Remember the way that you longed for morning’s light And think of yourself as a candle in the night Make believe this is the first day Everything all brand new Make believe that the sun is your own lucky star And then understand the kind of gift you are
* *[Chorus:] The gift you are Like the very first breath of Spring The gift you are All the joy that love can bring The gift you are All of our dreams come true The gift you are The gift of you
* *You are the promise of all the ages You are the Prodigal Son You are the vision of prophets and sages You are the only one Dream of a bright tomorrow Know that your dream will come true Carry your dream in a sparkling crystal jar Then you will know the kind of gift you are
* *[Chorus] The gift you are Like the very first breath of Springtime The gift you are All the joy that love can bring The gift you are All of our dreams come true, yes they do The gift you are The gift of you The gift you are The gift of you*
*Shared Homily ‘ Michael begins with homily starter.’ *
*LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST*
*Michael: Let us now celebrate in prayer the gifts we are and commit ourselves once again to being faithful to what we pray.*
*Prayer before Communion’ */(From Prayers for Progressive Christians, Michael Morwood, p. 53)/** /(community prays prayer alternating sides)/
*We gather here conscious of the gift* *each one of us is.* *We are gifts of the universe* *unfolding for billions of years* *to produce a wondering and wonderful life-form* *with awareness, appreciation, and creativity.*
*We are gifts of the universe,* *bringing us forth* *to sing, to dance* *and to be joyful* *on its behalf,* *on behalf of all of creation.*
*We are gifts of the Great Mystery,* *permeating* *penetrating* *and embracing* *everything that exists,* *and coming to human expression in us.*
*We are gifts of human love,* *of commitment* *of risk* *of hope* *of trust* *of promise* *of dreams of what could be.*
*We are gifts* *of all the joy that love can bring,* *of dreams come true,* *of Divine possibilities.*
*We are earthen vessels,* *gifted* *with the power and impulses* *that drive the universe.*
*We are earthen vessels,* *charged with the Great Mystery* *at work everywhere* *in the vastness of the universe.*
*We are gifts* *to be opened and shared,* *called to be co-creators* *of an evolving humanity,* *enablers of the ‘kingdom of God’.*
*We come to this gathering* *to affirm our commitment* *to expansion, to risk* *to possibilities* *to the gift we want to be, and can be* *for anyone whose lives we touch.*
*All: We gather around bread and wine* *and the story of Jesus* *who lived the gift* *of human existence wholeheartedly.*
*We eat and drink today* *thankful for every person and for every influence* *in our lives* *that have helped and opened us* *to live beyond our fearful inner voices* *and have led us to embrace life wholeheartedly.*
*We eat and drink* *as a public sign of our readiness* *to BE the gifts we are,* *open to the Spirit of Life and Love* *moving in our hearts and minds.*
*To wherever the Spirit of Life and Love* *may lead us* *we give our, Amen.*
*Michael: Introduction to Communion’ * *In the Eucharistic ritual, we use bread and wine as symbols to ritualize our personal commitment to follow the dream of Jesus. It is our commitment that is sacred and precious’¦ and the bread and wine symbolize for us our public willingness to be faithful followers of Jesus.’ */(Prayers for Progressive Christians by Michael Morwood, p. 41)/** /Four stations are set on a round table in the middle of the circle. Four people approach the table at one time. No line is formed./
*Communion Meditation: The Beauty of the Dancer by Sara Thomsen* *https://youtu.be/Lax7fxdOnVU*
*_Michael:’ _**Please stand as we’ pray together our blessing:* /(raise your hands in blessing)/
*All: May we continue to BE the gifts we are,* *open to the Spirit of Life and Love* *moving in our hearts and minds.* *And may our name be a blessing in our time!’ ‘ Amen.*
*Closing Song:’ **Canticle of the Sun By Marty Haughen* *https://youtu.be/-2R180JStUM**’ *
*Other songs used during the retreat:*
*Everything is Holy Now by Peter Mayer* *https://youtu.be/KiypaURysz4*
*Galilee Song by Frank Anderson* *https://youtu.be/bdh1QH3sbQU* * *
June 1-3, 2018 – $95 – includes Friday Evening wine and cheese reception and lunch and dinner on Saturday.
Holiday Inn Express and Suites – 16 Wolf Road – Albany, NY – 518-459-3600
Seating is limited – book now!
About the Presenter: Michael Morwood’s particular interest is in helping adult Christians examine what they believe and why they believe it, what they imagine and why they imagine the way they do. He is the author of ten books including Praying a New Story, Children Praying a New Story and It’s Time: Challenges to the Doctrine of the Faith. Michael Morwood resigned from priestly ministry in the Catholic Church in 1998 following the banning of his book Tomorrow’s Catholic: Understanding God and Jesus in a New Millennium by the then Archbishop of Melbourne, Australia, George Pell.
- RETREAT SCHEDULE:
- Friday, June 1 – 5:30pm -7:00pm Wine and cheese reception
- 7:00pm -9:00pm Presentation and discussion
- Saturday, June 2 – 9:00am - 12:00pm two presentations and discussion with breaks
- 12:00pm -1:00pm – Lunch
- 1:00pm 5:00pm – two presentations and discussion with breaks
- 5:00pm – 6:00pm Dinner
- 6:00pm – Informal gathering for follow-up questions
- Sunday, June 3 – 9:00am – 10:30am – Presentation and discussion
- 11:15am – 12:15pm – Liturgy
- 12:15pm – Conclusion of retreat
The retreat is sponsored by the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community and People’s Catholic Seminary. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
TO REGISTER: Download the flyer by clicking here: Michael-Morwood-flyer-June-1-3-2018-FINAL Print the flyer, cut off the bottom section and return with your payment as directed.
RESERVATIONS: Please send retreat payment and completed form (below) by April 1, 2018 to Upper Room, PO Box 421, Watervliet, NY 12189. Please make checks to: Upper Room. To book a room for the weekend, please contact hotel for group discount under the name of Upper Room.