Saturday, February 27, 2016

Opening Prayer for an Annual Meeting

God of life and love, you have called us to be the church:
     to celebrate your presence
     to live with respect in creation
     to love and serve others
     to seek justice and resist evil
     to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope..
Another year has passed into the history books and we gather for the Annual Meeting of this part of your Body.
Here and now we remember the many ways we have lived out the call to BE the church over the last year.
We have sung together, eaten together, learned together, and listened to You and to each other.
We have held each other and all our neighbours in loving prayer.
We have offered support to our neighbours who are struggling.
We have offered space to programs that assist people with life.
We have tried to be a place of love and hope.

God of birth, of growth, of life and love, God who holds us from before our births to long after our deaths;
in this place we have marked the passages of life.
With hearts full of hope we remember those time when we have had the opportunity to welcome people into the family of faith as they passed through the waters of baptism [read list of names]
As a baptized and baptizing community may we continue both to:
grow in our understanding of what it means to be faithful followers of The Way
and to provide opportunities for people of all ages to question, to explore, and to grow
in their own way as beloved children of God, called to be creatures of love and faith.

Trusting in the power of love that builds strong relationships,
we have joined with couples standing before family and friends to pledge their love and commitment to each other in the act of marriage.
We name them and pray that they are blessed in the life they share [read list of names]

“In life, in death, in life beyond death...”
God of life, over the past year we have said good-bye to some.
We have supported their families and friends in their time of loss.
Remembering and honouring them, we name those whose lives have been celebrated and deaths mourned over the past year [read list of names]

God who has called us to be the church,
as we remember the year that was and look ahead to the year that will be,
we know that the new year will have its challenges, as we still live in a community struggling with harsh economic realities,
and we trust that the new year will have blessings, some we expect and some that will surprise us.
In our meeting this afternoon move in our hearts, souls and minds.
Fill us with a vision for how and who we are called to be in the world.
We pray as followers of Jesus, the Christ, the head of the Body which we call the Church.

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