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Let us join our hearts and minds as one in prayer. When you hear the words “God of Faith and New Beginnings,” please respond with “Hear our Prayers.”

On this, the 25th Anniversary of Nelson United Church, I’d like to start with a prayer written by Jean Mclaughlan on the amalgamation of Fairview United Church and St. Paul’s-Trinity Church. She wrote; “With the changing of the seasons, with the sunrise that follows darkness, with the miracle of the butterfly’s wings, dear God, you have proven to us that change can bring about wonderful things. So calm our hearts, loving God, and still our minds when we are filled with fear of new choices, new feelings, new tomorrows. Guide us gently through the changes we face, shining Your light over our shoulders and brightening each path before us. In Jesus’ name, we pray.”

Indeed there have been many choices to be made and changes over the past 25 years, we have met the challenges with faith and goodwill, and we will continue to do so.

“God of Faith and New Beginnings… “Hear our prayers.”

Caring God, hear our prayer for all nations and all people of the Earth. Hear our prayers of support for health care workers, teachers, engineers and the many who serve in various organizations throughout the world. We continue to appreciate our local health care personnel, all those keeping our food markets open, and maintenance workers in all fields. We feel deep compassion and love for all those affected by COVID-19, whether in body, mind or spirit.

Hear our cry for justice and peace as we remember our brothers and sisters at Nyanyadzi Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. We pray for LGBTQ2SiA+ people who continue to be persecuted in many countries. Hear our prayers for our Bienestar partners involved in the NUC outreach project in Guatemala and for peacekeepers, peacemakers and their families serving in times and areas of conflict. We pray for the future of our world. May we always protect and respect this special gift of creation.

We pray for each other and our mission in the world. On this Special Anniversary Sunday, we pray for all pastoral charges in the Pacific Mountain region. In the World Council of Churches Prayer Cycle, we present our prayers for the people of Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda. Along with our brothers and sisters in those countries, we pray for a cessation of ethnic animosities and violence; an end to rape and genital mutilation of girls and women; and increased understanding between ethnic and religious groups. “God of Faith and New Beginnings… “Hear our prayers.”

Loving God, we pray for all those who are distressed in mind or body. We feel compassion for those who are discouraged or alone, those who are desolate or depressed; those who struggle with pain, the challenge of serious illness, or the loss of a loved one. May they be filled with hope and with strength. In our prayers today we name all those on our Prayer List. We pause at this time to name, either silently or aloud, all those for whom we feel concerned… … “God of Faith and New Beginnings… “Hear our prayers.”

As we continue this journey together as Nelson United Church, I offer the following prayer adapted from one written by Joyce Rupp. Source of Life and Love, you call us to bear witness to you. Everywhere we go, with all whom we meet, the bond of your love unites us. In those we resist, in those who resist us, in those we welcome, in those who welcome us, in all we meet, you are there. Grant us eyes of the heart so that we may see deeply, so that we may discover and appreciate everyone who is a part of our lives. Grant us the courage and the faith to say, “Here I am God. I am Yours.”

And we say together,

AMEN

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