DEVOTIONAL SACRED SEASON

 

DAY 14 and 34  -   18th June, 8th July 

PRAYER TIME FOR DAY 14 and 34  -  JUNE 18th and 8th July

Especially designed for zoom prayer times during the Sacred Season of Prayer and Fasting but can be used in face to face prayer times as well.  Spontaneous prayer is offered in times of prayers of praise and confession from group members using if possible some of themes in the psalm or scripture reading.  The prayers for others can also be prayed spontaneously and can weave in thoughts from scripture reading, passage from Basis of Union and devotional reading. 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BELONG? MEMBERSHIP AND THE UCA

REV. ANNE HIBBARD 

Rev Anne Hibbard is a Minister of the Word from the Central Coast NSW. She is the national coordinator of the ACC Prayer Network and the national director of Uniting Prayer and Fasting. She is also a long-term member of the ACC National Council. She is a Teacher of the ACC School of Faith.

Rev Dr Hedley Fihaki

OPENING PRAYER 

BIBLE READINGS:  Matthew 18:16-18

Leader

 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

 

Reader 1:

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

PRAYERS OF PRAISE AND ADORATION  

PRAYERS OF CONFESSION

BIBLE READINGS:  Matthew 28:18-20

Reader 1:

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

 

Reader 2:

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

 

Reader 3

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

PARAGRAPH 12: BASIS OF UNION

Reader 1: 

The Uniting Church recognises and accepts as her members all who

are recognized as members of the uniting Churches at the time of

union. Thereafter membership is open to all who are baptized into

the Holy Catholic Church in the name of the Father and of the Son and

of the Holy Spirit.

 

Reader 2:

The Uniting Church will seek ways in which the baptized may have confirmed to them the promises of God, and be led to deeper commitment to the faith and service into which they have

been baptized.

 

Reader 3: 

To this end she commits herself to undertake, with other Christians, to explore and develop the relation of baptism to confirmation and to participation in the Holy Communion.

REFLECTION

Reader 1:

When I buy something at the shops, I’m asked by almost every franchise “Are you a member? It’s free and easy to join”. Membership gives you some quirksand maybe a small financial benefit but in terms of a sense of belonging they have little value. When membership includes everyone, membership means nothing. In my life I’ve been part of different organisations , groups and communities. The ones I’ve discovered have the most signfiicance are not the ones that are the easiest to join but the ones that have parameters and have a process of belonging that might take a while to go through – eg sporting teams and religious orders. It is the groups who define membership that have a strong corporate identity and a common sense of purpose.

Reader 2

The Uniting Church of Australia in the Basis of Union paragraph 12 states

clearly who the members are to be. Firstly the 1971 edition reminds us that

the Uniting Church isn’t an organization but rather is the bride of Christ. It

says that the UCA “accepts and recognizes” as “her” (rather than “its’)

members certain people. To be a member is to belong to something organic and alive connected intimately with Christ, not just another club.

Reader 3

Secondly, membership is open not to everyone, but to those who have been “baptized into the Holy Catholic Church” in “the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This reminds us that we as the UCA can’t decide what membership is on our own. We are part of the one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Since the church began, baptism was seen as a sign of initiation into the church in the name of the Triune God. Such baptism was encouraged by Jesus himself as an important step in making disicples (Matthew 28:18-20).

Reader 1

But what of children baptized as infants who do not profess faith in Christ?

The BOU tells us that we as the UCA will keep seeking “the promises of God”

being confirmed for the baptized. This is so that they may be “led to deeper

commitment to the faith and service into which they have been baptized”.

Confirmation isn’t a path of process but rather Christian Discipleship. In an

effort to be inclusive some parts of the UCA have cheapened membership to be all those who attend anything related to the church. This forgets that the UCA is only a part of the whole of the Christian church. If we want to continue to belong to the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church it is necessary for us to challenge mottos such as “All of This is us” and ask what it means. Belonging as members in the UCA is not defined in the BOU by expansive inclusion, but by baptism, confirmation and Christian discipleship.

PRAYER

Leader: 

Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus Christ’s command for us to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that he commanded. Help us be faithful to this calling in the Uniting Church. By your grace teach us afresh what it means to be a member of the UCA and also a part of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Protect us from cheapening membership and empower us to cherish and to continue to explore the gifts of baptism, confirmation and Christian discipleship for your glory. In Jesus mighty name. Amen.

PRAYERS FOR OTHERS

CONFESSION FROM BASIS OF UNION

Leader:

Within this fellowship of the Uniting Church in Australia, and as part of the Christian church around the world, let us confess Christ in the following words from the Basis of Union.

 

Reader 1:  

Today we ‘confess Jesus as Lord over (our) own life’ and ‘Head over all  things, the beginning of a new creation, of a new humanity’.

 

Leader:

We rejoice that the Uniting Church ‘preaches Christ the risen crucified  One

 

Reader 2:  

and confesses him as Lord to the glory of God the Father’.

Leader:          

Let us reaffirm our desire ‘to live and work within the faith and  unity of the  One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church’.

Reader 3:    

and declare ourselves ready to ‘hear anew the  commission of  the Risen Lord to make disciples of all  nations’.

Amen. 

Nb. The words in quotation marks are direct quotes from the Basis of Union

Prepared by Rev Rod James.

FINAL PRAYER

ABOUT US

The School of Faith is a ministry of the Assembly of Confessing Congregations within the Uniting Church in Australia

ADDRESS
CREEDS AND FAITH STATEMENTS 

PO Box 968,
Newtown, NSW, 2042

accoffice@confessingcongregations.com  

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