Save the Date – Pentecost Sunday Worship at Wesley Uniting Church 10am

The Uniting Churches of Geelong will be joining together in the one place on Pentecost Sunday, 5th June 2022 at 10am.

This means that there will be NO SUNDAY SERVICE AT ST LUKES ON SUNDAY 5th of June.

Instead we encourage everyone from St Luke’s to come to Wesley Uniting Church, 100 Yarra Street Geelong on that day.

We are also invited to join in with a combined choir and band, which will be rehearsing on the next two Tuesday nights, the 24th and 31st of May at 7:00pm at Wesley Uniting Church.  To take part, please register with Helen at Wesley UC on 5229 8866.

As plans unfold, there may be a need for helpers on the day, so if you are planning to come and able to assist, I would love to hear from you.  Likely tasks would be catering, ushering and such.  I will keep you posted as I find out more.  We will be sharing news of the Pentecost Service at Sunday mornings, and through our website and social media, however if you are in touch with friends who don’t connect there, could you please help to spread the word so that no-one is left at the front door wondering where everyone is?

May we be blessed with the fire and warmth of the Holy Spirit as we gather as one big Uniting Church community in Geelong!

Easter Services 2022

Easter Services 2022

Join us in Holy Week to reflect on the journey of Jesus through persecution, crucifixion and resurrection, and consider where God is in the midst of uncertainty, displacement, war and disease.  How does God’s transforming Grace help a community to understand what is happening, to help one another through strife, and to heal trauma?

All services held at St Luke’s Uniting Church, 174 Barrabool Rd Highton

Good Friday

Photograph of a crown of thorns on a purple background, referencing the passion of Christ

Friday 15th April 2022 at 9:30am

A short reflective service.

Easter Sunday

Sunday 17th April at 9:30am

Celebrate the resurrection of Hope!

Both services will also be live streamed via YouTube.

P2 masks available at church for hearing aid wearers

P2 masks are available for sale at church

Having spoken to a few people at church who struggle with masks and hearing aids, we have purchased some quality P2 masks with headbands rather than earloops to avoid tangles.

These are the kind of masks your GP would wear in a consultation – high protection yet comfortable as they sit away from your face.  They go well with glasses, reducing fogging as they can mould quite closely to your face.

Available during office hours and Sunday mornings, $3 per mask or 4 for $10.  While they are single use masks, they can be re-used if treated carefully:

“An easy way to minimise waste if you own N95 masks is to safely extend their life. In hospital settings, it’s advised to avoid use beyond one day and to dispose if they become soiled or moist.

This, however, is not realistic for the general public, such as when supply is low. There are a range of methods to reuse N95 masks safely, which are supported by the mask’s inventor. There are also re-usable options such as elastometric respirators.

For disposable respirators, the most straightforward reuse method in non-medical settings is to rotate your mask every three or four days, storing it in a clean paper bag when not in use. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after you touch your mask, and keep your mask dry — if your mask gets wet, stop using it. Consider numbering your masks so you don’t mix them up.”

Source: ABC news article: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-29/covid-omicron-fabric-masks-n95-kn95-respirator/100788406

While mask wearing indoors is no longer mandated, it is strongly recommended by health professionals.  Worship might feel like a safe place, but there are people attending who have daily exposure to the Coronavirus through workplace and school settings.  Churches are still a risky environment for people who are unmasked and unvaccinated.

Take care out there everyone!

Worship Online Sunday 26th December 2021

Dear Friends

This is a special online reflection for Sunday December 26th, 2021

Even though Christmas Day can be a rough day for some, I trust that yesterday was a good day for you. And given the current easing of restrictions related to COVID, I hope that has meant you have had time with family and friends.

The tone of the Christmas celebration for Christians is clearly one of Joy. Joy that comes from the startling, good news that God becomes human … one with us … through the birth of a vulnerable babe, Jesus.

And this is a genuine being at “one with us:” … in Jesus God shares in human life in all its complexity … including right from the beginning experiencing the consequences of the propensity of humans to treat each in despicable ways.

Many churches mark December 28th as the feast of the Holy Innocents.  The Gospel reading is from Matthew Gospel chapter 2 and concerns the necessity for Mary, Joseph and Jesus to escape from King Herod and his thugs.  

“Now after [the Magi/Wisemen] had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” (V.13 … NRSV)

Mary, Joseph and Jesus thus became refugees.

Herod was a murderous despot who stooped at nothing to hold onto power including cosying up to whoever was the Roman Emperor and having his soldiers seek out any boy who might possibly be the newborn king. There is no sugar-coated Christmas story here!

Rev. Dr. Melinda Quivik writes in commenting on the passage:

This Jesus, born in the midst of Herod’s brutality, knows our suffering, comes to the frightened and the sick and the hungry, feeds and heals, and teaches the presence of God’s power wherever there are tears. 

Today so many people experience the same plight as Mary, Joseph and Jesus … having to flee from despots and other dangers.  And many of these refugees actually have no place to go … no place where they can experience genuine sanctuary. According to the United Nations Agency for Refugees, there are 20.7 million people under its care, of which a half are children.  An even more frightening statistic is that currently 48 million people have been forced out of their homes while remaining in their own countries. 

Christian churches have long offered sanctuary to those fleeing oppression, seeking safety, and St Luke’s (along with other churches and organisations) has supported refugees in the Geelong region for many years.

Clearly the need for a practical and prayerful response to this need is not abating.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this ministry. If you want to find out how you can help, feel free to contact us. The details are on our website. 

Let’s pause in prayer:

Compassionate God, Almighty in Love,

We give thanks for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate in a special way at this time of the year,
We also remember that with Mary and Joseph, he became a refugee and had no place to call his own;
look with mercy on those who today are fleeing from danger,
homeless and hungry.
Bless those who work to bring them relief;
inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts;
and guide the nations of the world towards that day when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

 

Worship next Sunday (January 2nd) will be in person at 9.30 am, we hope.

Best wishes and blessings for the New Year to you and yours.

The peace and joy of Christmas

Fill your hearts and lives

And the blessing of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit –  be with you all, evermore,

Amen.

 

Christmas Services 2021

Christmas Eve Friday 24th December

There is no service at St Luke’s, however Belmont Uniting Church is holding a service at 7:30pm led by the Rev. Ikani Vaitohi

Address: 42 Thompson St Belmont.

Christmas Day Saturday 25th December

9:30am Christmas Day Service at St Luke’s Highton led by Rev. Paul Stephens

Sunday 26th December

Online reflection broadcast from the St Luke’s YouTube channel from 7:30am

Worship online Sunday 14th November 2021

Holding Fast

Thanks to Deb for this mornings scripture reading.

Opening Prayer

Great and compassionate God,
we come before you in love and with humility.

We worship you

 

You are God the Creator.

You brought everything that we know,
everything that we see,
everything that we are
into being through your living word.

We worship you

 

You are the God who is the triune community of love

You are the God who loves us so much
that you sent your Son to release us from our bondage: to save us.

We worship you

 

You are the God who calls us to follow Christ and live as part of his Body the church.

In the name of Christ,
We worship you.

 

(People are invited to pause and consider the things they are thankful for and also consider what are the things weighing upon them at this time)

Prayer of confession

We come before you
aware that all of us fall short:
We all make mistakes.
We all struggle to love like Jesus.

To live life fully, you call us to love you, love neighbour and love ourselves.
Lord forgive us for the times when we neglect you.
Forgive us for the times when we put ourselves before your way and the good of others.
Forgive us for the times when we damage ourselves
through our thoughts and actions.

God of deep forgiveness hear our prayers,

In the name of Christ who have his life for us,

Amen.

Based on a prayer by Rev. Prof. John Swinton, 14 November, 25th Sunday After Pentecost | The Church of Scotland

Declaration of forgiveness

It is written (in Psalm 103):

‘As far as the east is from the west,

So far has God removed our sins from us.’

Jesus came preaching peace to those who are near, and peace to those who are far off.

My friends you are free:

to be forgiven people,

to serve as forgiven people,

to celebrate as forgiven people.

Thanks be to God.

 

Scripture reading:

Hebrews 10: 19-25

19 We have, then, my friends, complete freedom to go into the Most Holy Place by means of the death of Jesus. 20 He opened for us a new way, a living way, through the curtain—that is, through his own body. 21 We have a great priest in charge of the house of God. 22 So let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith, with hearts that have been purified from a guilty conscience and with bodies washed with clean water. 23 Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise. 24 Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. 25 Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.

Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

 

Remembering and prayers for intercession

Last Thursday was Remembrance Day and we pick this up now in our prayers for others.

Compassionate and ever-present God, we pray,

For all who have been caught up in and impacted by war …
For all whose bodies and spirits bear the marks of war…
For all who have lost loved ones due to war …
For all who continue to suffer due to war…
For all who minister to veterans, the families of veterans and survivors …

For all who live in despair …

For the peoples of our world that they may embrace your way of peace and reconciliation …

For all of us – called to be messengers of your hope, we pray…

For the Church that we may hold fast to the hope we find in the Gospel …

We also remember others whose needs weigh heavy on our hearts this day.

For them and for us, we pray…

In the name of Christ, Amen.

— adapted from a prayer Renfrew County Catholic District School Board website. http://rccdsb.edu.on.ca/religiouseducation/school-prayer-2/monthlyseasonal-prayer/

 

 

Worship online Sunday 7th November 2021

The Book of Ruth

Thanks to Sue, Claire and Jean for participating in this morning’s worship.

Psalm 146: 1-2, 7b-10 (NRSV)

​Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!

Opening Prayer

Let us pray:

Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord, all you people

God our hope and life,

Triune community of perfect love,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

Praise be your name.

You were before all things,

You are the author of all things,
You brought life and light out of nothing,

Yet you are closer to us than we can imagine, and you always remain faithful to us all and all your creation:
Faithful in love.
Faithful to save.
Faithful to tend.
Faithful to share.

And so we worship You,
with all of our heart,
all of our mind
and all of our strength.

And we rejoice to know that when our hearts are misled,
Your heart is to forgive.
When our own thinking is confused
You show us that truth is found in the way of Jesus
When our strength fails,
You draw near and hold us close.

Hear us in the quiet as we confess to You
where we have turned away from You or others
and where we need Your healing and forgiveness.

We give You thanks, Oh God, that in you is life and forgiveness beyond measure,
You who upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
Who sets prisoners free,
and gives sight to the blind,
who lifts up those who are bowed down,
and loves the righteous.
You who watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
who frustrates the ways of the wicked.
You Lord God, reign forever,
for all generations.

In the name of Christ, Praise the Lord.
Amen.

Based on material from October 31st, 23rd Sunday After Pentecost | The  Church of Scotland

Prayers of intercession

Loving God,

You call us to walk in love as Christ walked in Love and bless us the Holy Spirit and gifts of ministry to enable us to live out this calling.

We are sent to care for those who,
like Naomi, Ruth and Orpah had no security.

And so we pray for those who have no food
because of a famine, or because of Covid …

We pray for those impacted by the damaging of our planet’s environment and pray for the enacting of global policies which enable good stewardship of your creation.

We remember those who are grieving the loss of a loved one … that when they feel alone that You would meet them in the compassion of others.

We think of those whose world has been turned inside out by the pandemic –
grant that they would know the support and care of others,
the help they need and the strength to carry on.

Lord Jesus, You suffer with us,
and through Your resurrection,
have taken our sufferings into the heart of God.

Help those who are alone and vulnerable
know that You have been there too,
that You are with them,
even as they struggle to find hope from any source.

And for us Lord,
help us be open and willing
to be part of the answer to these prayers.
To be Your hands to care,
Your ears to listen,
The body through which You might bring healing and life.

In the name of Christ, Amen.

Based on material from October 31st, 23rd Sunday After Pentecost | The Church of Scotland

 

Offering Prayer

Lord God,

you have given us more than we asked for

and more than we deserve.

May we show a like generosity

in all that we do for you and for our neighbours;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Unless otherwise stated prayers are either by the author or based on resources from Uniting in Worship 2 © Uniting Church Press, Sydney, 2005.  And images are from Wikimedia Commons and are in the public domain.

Worship online Sunday 31st October 2021

All Saints Day

Opening Prayer

Holy and Compassionate God,
Most perfect loving Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Through Christ you proclaim the way to life in all its fullness,
Through Christ you offer us the promise of sure and certain hope of eternal life …
In the life death and resurrection of Jesus you declare that your love is such that even death itself cannot overcome it …

We give you thanks that you do not leave us alone as we face the mystery and shadow of death…
As today we remember people who have been precious to us and who have died,
Hold us in your care …
Bless us with comfort and peace …

Creating and forgiving God,
We confess that we have not always loved as Christ has loved us.
Forgive us and enable us by your grace to forgive anything that has been hurtful to us.
Assure us that through Christ you set us free from sin and bring healing and wholeness.
And we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Scripture readings:

Isa. 25: 6-9

(NRSV)

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

 

Rev. 21: 1-6a

(NRSV)

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

All Saints Prayer

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
The saints gone too soon before the fullness of their grace was truly known by human minds.
The saints who were not lauded, but whose faithfulness bore generations of fruit.
The saints whose witness spoke truth to power and brought forth new creations.
The saints who died with doubts, questions, and hope in mystery.
The saints who held to the truth through it all.
The saints whose legacies are the history from which we learn how to do and be better.
The saints who are only remembered by God and who rest in light perpetual.
For these and so many others,
we give thanks to God. Amen.

Source: Rev Julia Seymour, posted on RevGalBlogPals

Prayers of intercession

On this holy day of memory, O LORD our God,
inspire our vision so that we might see with clear eyes
the hope and fullness of life that is found in you.

We pray for clarity and courage to see and live out Christ’s call for a world in which the poor are blessed, the hungry fed and your good news made known.

We seek healing and unfailing comfort for those persons (known and unknown) who are struggling, grieving deeply, in pain, in fear, with ill health and we name them silently before you . . .

By your mercy and grace, grant us wisdom
for these days of remembering,
and of living into the coming of your future,
strengthened by your witnesses in days past.

Based on a prayer by Rachel Hackenberg, RevGalBlogPals

 

Worship online Sunday 24th October 2021

Wisdom

Welcome and notices

Please go to our website https://stlukesuca.org.au if you want to find out more about the life of the congregation.

Opening Prayer & Confession

Lets look to the Psalms as we come to God in prayer

Drawn from Psalm 37

 

(1-4) Do not fret because of the wicked;  do not be envious of wrongdoers,

for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb.

Trust in God, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.

Delight in everything about God, and God will give you the desires of your heart.

 

(5-7)

Commit the way you live to God; if you trust God, God will act to show where you are right,

and bring justices to your case, like the bight noonday sun.

 

Be still before God, wait patiently for her response.

Do not fret over those who seem to be getting their way despite evil desires and motives.

Trust in God to show you how they will be stopped, and truth and grace will prevail.

 

(27-28)

Run from evil, and do good; so you shall be at home with God for ever.

For God loves justice and will not forsake his faithful ones.

 

(30-31)

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom; they speak for justice.

The law of their God is in their hearts; they don’t slip as they follow in God’s footsteps.

 

Opening prayer

God we recognise that we do slip.

We strive to be faithful to your love and grace to us, but too often we focus on ourselves:

  • we want to be as successful as others in our careers, families, sports or talents
  • we become frustrated and angry when others don’t understand the world the way we do
  • we hold on too tightly to beliefs that make us comfortable – when you challenge us to see things from your point of view.

Forgive us God.

Help us to learn from the wise ones – from the scriptures, from your Saints through history and today, and even from the insights of the young.

Today open our ears and our hearts to listen and learn from you, to hear again the questions and guidance for us from your Son Jesus, and the wisdom and courage offered through your Holy Spirit.

Teach us to spend more time listening, asking questions to understand and act positively, than in preaching, prosecuting or politicking others to get things our way.

Amen

Family of God, through God’s Spirit we can always draw on the fountain of wisdom and love, even in the darkest of times and when our actions (or inaction) shame us so much. There is enough mercy to cover all your sins, and not yours only, but those of the whole world. Take up the challenge then – live as Christ showed us, as he called you and me to serve in the world.

Live as forgiven people, for in Christ, such you truly are!

Thanks be to God! Amen.

Gospel reading: John 1: 1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.”’)

From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

Prayers of the People & Dispersal (by Rev. Ann Perrin, UCA)

Ever-living, ever-present God,

You are with us.

We come before you this day

knowing we’re are to be dispersed,

sent out into your world

to be your church in new ways.

 

If we are resistant to this change Lord,

hear our prayer of confession

and bless us with forgiveness,

patience and resilience

for we are committed to care for each other as we care for ourselves.

 

So help us to discover new ways to share

why we live our lives committed to sharing the promises of the gospel.

 

During these times of change, we will remember those whose groups are still unable to meet together in our buildings, or new challenges to gathering,

and the new ways we will need to navigate to be community.

 

We remember planned baptisms, weddings and celebrations

And pray times for rejoicing will not be too far away.

 

We remember those for who this time is one of uncertainty and challenge

those who now live with fear and in isolation,

and those for whom this time is one of anguish and death.

Hold all those in need of your love at this time.

 

Holy God, you encourage us when doubtful to draw closer to you.

Allow us to recognise your Holy Spirit as our guide, comforter, and companion.

 

And so with the hope you instill in us

and when the time time is right and this season of our church is over

we will return as your gathered community

with the joy of Easter Day,

celebrating our resilience, knowing our communities are stronger then ever

to continue your work to help build a flourishing world where ever we find ourselves.

 

AMEN.

Worship online Sunday 17th October 2021

St Luke … Witness and Healer

Welcome and notices

Please go to our website https://stlukesuca.org.au if you want to find out more about the life of the congregation.

Opening Prayer

Opening Prayer of adoration

Blessed are you, Compassionate Father,

Creator of all:

we glorify and adore you.

 

Blessed are you, Lord Jesus Christ,

loving Saviour of the world:

we glorify and adore you.

 

Blessed are you, eternal Spirit,

gracious source of light and life:

we glorify and adore you.

 

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

Lord our God, source of sure and certain hope:

we praise your name for ever and ever.

Amen.

 

Prayer of praise and confession

Holy one and holy three,

Life-giving God you have come amongst us in Jesus,

And in Jesus you announce good news for the poor, liberty for captives, sight for those who cannot see and freedom for the oppressed.

In you is love that surpasses all loves. You are the Light of all lights.

We confess our need of you …

We are not meant to navigate this life on our own …

Help us to be honest about ourselves … help us to disentangle the good from the bad …

Enable us to be humble enough to declare that in too many ways we have not lived up to the standard of living found in Christ …

(Pause)

Bring your healing, forgiveness, and good news into our lives …

Break us free from anything that takes us away from the path of Christ …

 

Please gather us up into the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Assure us that you desire to forgive us through and through … that you desire to deal with the burden of guilt that so many carry.  May we hear your good news of hope and liberty right within the core of our beings … And may we be open to the Holy Spirit transforming us more and more into the people you would have us be. Through Christ Jesus our Saviour.

Amen!

Some phrases are derived from prayers to be found at  www.bruceprewer.com/DocB/BSUNDAY29.htm

 

Declaration of forgiveness

This is the best of all:

when we are empty, God fills us;

when we are disheartened, God is compassionate;

when we are wounded, God brings healing;

when we confess our sin, God forgives.

 

In Christ, through Christ and because of Christ,

our sins are forgiven.

Thanks be to God.

 

Scripture readings:

Luke 1: 1-4

Dear Theophilus:

Many people have done their best to write a report of the things that have taken place among us. They wrote what we have been told by those who saw these things from the beginning and who proclaimed the message. And so, Your Excellency, because I have carefully studied all these matters from their beginning, I thought it would be good to write an orderly account for you. I do this so that you will know the full truth about everything which you have been taught.

Luke 4: 14-21

Prayers for intercession

O Lord, hear the deep prayers of our hearts:
Prayers for hope for those who feel desolate and are struggling to find meaning in life
Prayers for healing for those who are in physical, mental or spiritual need
Prayers for jobs for those who cannot find paid employment
Prayers for community for those who feel isolated
Prayers for peace for those whose lives are filled with conflict.
Prayers for people who genuinely listen for those seeking to be understood.
Prayers for comfort for those who grieve.
Prayers for food and clean water for those who hunger and thirst.
Prayers for shelter for those who are homeless.
Prayers for those impacted by droughts, fires or flooding rains
Prayers for freedom for those who live under dictatorships.
Prayers for wisdom for our leaders.
Prayers for spiritual growth and health for our churches.

In the name of Christ,
Amen.

 

— adapted from a prayer written by Rev Abi, and posted on RevGalBlogPals blog.  http://revgalblogpals.blogspot.ca/

 

Unless otherwise stated prayers are either by the author or based on resources from Uniting in Worship 2 © Uniting Church Press, Sydney, 2005.  And images are from Wikimedia Commons and are in the public domain.