Worship Order for Sunday

Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren
Long Green & Kanes Rds., near Glen Arm, Md.
August 7, 2011                                    Worship 10:00 am 

      Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.But how can people call for help if they dont know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they havent heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it?
(Romans 10:11-15a, quotes Joel 2:32)

  Beginning with Praise (9:50 am)              "There is a place of quiet rest"             5
  Prelude                                "Prelude in F Major"                                    Bach

  Call to Worship                         Psalm 105:1-6

*Hymn                         "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty"                              37

*Opening Prayer

  Gospel                                   Matthew 14:22-33

  For Children                           "Being afraid"

  Hymn                   (vs. 1-2) "When the storms of life are raging"                    558

  Sharing a joy, a concern, a word of testimony or praise
                                 (please be brief, and aware of God's listening presence)

  Hymn                   (vs. 3-4) "When the storms of life are raging"                    558

  Pastoral Prayer

  Annual Conference Moment

  Returning our Tithes and Offerings

  Offertory                                         "Aria"                                   Mendelssohn
                                        (Please sign the attendance pad and pass it on)

  Scripture                             Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28

  Message                                 "Oh, brother…"

*Hymn                                     "My life flows on"                                        580


*Postlude                         "Oh, How Happy Are They"                      C. Wesley

*Rise in body or in spirit

#'s are from Hymnal: A Worship Book

Worship leaders - see basic guidelines

Call to Worship

1 - O give thanks to the Lord,
2 - call on his name,
1 - make known his deeds among the peoples.
2 - Sing to him,
1 - sing praises to him;
2 - tell of all his wonderful works.
1 - Glory in his holy name;
2 - let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
1 - Seek the Lord and his strength;
2 - seek his presence continually.
           (next 4 lines are one sentence, read it as such)
1 - Remember the wonderful works he has done,
2 - his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
1 - O offspring of his servant Abraham,
2 - children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

1 - Rise, O people of God, in body or in spirit, and give “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” #37 in your hymnal.

Psalm 105:1-6 from the New Revised Standard Version,
copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Opening Prayer 

Holy God, we gather here to worship you with praise and thanksgiving for all you have done, are doing, and promise to do in the world and in our lives. We have done nothing to deserve such grace and goodness and so we cannot help but respond with joy and delight for being so loved by you and so precious to you. We rejoice because we no longer have to earn your love - only to accept it. You, O God, graciously revealed this love forever when you entered our world and our history in person - in Jesus Christ our Lord. He enters our very lives through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We pray that this time of worship may reveal the depth of our love for you and for this world you created, for we offer it in the name of Jesus, our Lord and our Savior. Amen

by Rev Moira Laidlaw,
from Liturgies Online,
Uniting Church in Australia.

Pastoral Prayer


written closer to the time (if not at the moment)


Annual Conference Moment

            How do you condense into a “moment” the issue that was front and center this year at Annual Conference, which occupied so much of our time and energy through a special response process the last 2 years? Let me simply begin with the bottom line. The query (or question) which asked our denomination to reconsider our position on covenantal relationships between persons of the same sex was returned – i.e. it was not accepted.

            If you recall, tied to that query was a statement from a previous standing committee, a confession of how we have not handled this issue well, how we have not lived up to our calling as a peace church in dealing justly and peaceably with one another. That also was returned. This year’s standing committee, having heard the report back of the special response process, recommended to the delegate body simply that we return these 2 items. Period. I don’t believe this answer satisfied anyone. It made no further recommendations in any direction. Most of us wondered, “what, then, does this mean?”

            The committee of three persons who had listened to all the responses to these two items from throughout our denomination during the past year gave an excellent presentation of their findings. Copies of their written report are available in the back. It revealed how divided we are on this issue, and in how many different ways, which is probably why standing committee stepped out no further than it did.

            Instead of launching into open discussion on the floor, we entered a careful, step-by-step approach created for dealing with strongly controversial topics. When the time eventually came for motions, the first person in line added this amendment: “It is further recommended that the 2011 Annual Conference reaffirm the entire 1983 ‘Statement on Human Sexuality from a Christian Perspective’ and that we continue deeper conversations concerning human sexuality outside of the query process.” After much discussion, this was passed. Many other amendments were suggested, but none passed. That’s the bottom line.

            This means that our 1983 paper, which states that “Covenantal relationships between homosexual persons is an additional lifestyle option but, in the church's search for a Christian understanding of human sexuality, this alternative is not acceptable,” remains the denomination’s position. We are, however, called to “deeper conversations concerning human sexuality,” and I pray this happens. The Annual Conference business process is just not to be the place. (read the entire section on "Homosexual Persons and Sexuality" from the 1983 paper)

            I predicted this would be where we’d end up. After all, we are basically a conservative denomination … in some ways. We have also been remarkably progressive in others. If I might speak personally, I was disappointed at the tone I heard over the past year on this issue. Many Brethren made this the battle line over “biblical morality.” To be honest, I’ve heard that line many times before. When I was a kid, I recall impassioned quoting from the Bible concerning integration and inter-racial marriage. These are no longer issues of “biblical morality,” are they? Such statements today are an embarrassment.

            Everyone “interprets” the Bible, even the literalist. What conservative today would quote the apostle Paul in Colossians 3:22, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord,” to a young woman taken from or sold by her family into sexual slavery, something which happens too much, even today? Yes, the Bible assumes homosexuality is wrong, even beyond the few places where it outright says so. The Bible also assumes that slavery is a fact of life, and that – for the most part, polygamy is right. We have since shifted our interpretation on both of those. Slavery is not acceptable, and marriage is between one man and only one woman. Does this shifting of interpretation mean that we, therefore, do not believe in the inspiration and authority of scripture? Not at all!

            Now, from the other side of the equation, I agree that we have spent a lot of time and energy on this issue at the expense of others. For instance, we need to be talking about our mission philosophy, and how our relationships in the Dominican Republic have recently fallen apart. Over a meal at Conference, I listened through tears to the pain of two of my good friends who had been our representatives there. Where was there time to discuss this as a church? There wasn’t. I do agree that the query process is not the right way to deal with the issue of human sexuality. “Deeper discussions” are needed, person-to-person talk, because this is not just an “issue,” it involves real people. Just like most every other “issue.” The measure of our church will be what we do from this point on.

            Forgive me for taking more than a “moment” to bring you up-to-date n this as your delegate. Forgive, also, my sermonizing. I certainly don’t have all the answers. But now you have before you the “answer” of Annual Conference to this particular question.

            As I said, the printed summary of the special response process, as well as a wrap-up of the 2011 Annual Conference are available in the back. After worship next week we’ll show the 20 minute video wrap-up for any who are interested.

Returning our Tithes and Offerings
(refers to Matthew 14:22-33)

Jesus sent his disciples to the other side of the lake, while he took time to be alone and pray. During the night, the wind picked up, and the disciple’s boat was tossed about. In the middle of the sea of Galilee, they made no progress toward their destination, for the wind was against them. And then they saw Jesus, walking on the sea toward them. The sight was terrifying at first, and then he spoke. “Take heart, it is I. Don’t be afraid.” … Pray with me.

Amid the waves of everyday life, the storms which come and go, may our eyes catch a glimpse of you coming toward us. Fearful at first, for there is much we don’t understand about your ways, we hear your words of calm, and your invitation to trust. We also hear, regardless of where we stand on any particular issue, your challenge: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Thank you for climbing into our boat. We respond to your peace-bringing Word, and your call to faith and confession, with our tithes and offerings. Help us to reach the other shore where you are leading us to go. In your name we pray. Amen





O brother, O sister,
                        take heart!
            No matter what storm may come,
                        don’t be afraid.
     The Lord is with you, in your boat.
                 Trust with all that is within you,
            and know that
                        what may have been meant for harm,
                                    God intends for good.
Cling to the Rock of your salvation,
            and sing! Amen!

(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)


Interested in Sunday School?
Below is a growing list of possible sites to visit. As you discover others, please let us know.

International Lesson:
Faith and Life Resources

Mennonite Publishing House

International Lesson:
Mennonite Weekly Review

(scroll down on left to "Sunday School lessons)

International Lesson:
Christian Standard
(one week ahead)

International Lesson:
Living Web Sunday School Project

International Lesson:
Adult Bible Studies
from The United Methodist Publishing House
(click "supplemental resources" and "current events supplement" under both the "Student" and "Teacher" sections in the left hand column)

While one of our adult classes follows the International lesson above (see also), using
A Guide for Biblical Studies,
published quarterly by our denomination,
another class often uses one of the
Good Ground series.

For children and youth, we use the new
Gather Round curriculum
(developed jointly by the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church)


©2010 Peter L. Haynes
(unless otherwise stated, worship resources were written by him)


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