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A Place in God's Heart... A Place at Christ's Table

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Published by the Institute for Welcoming Resources, a program of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and home of the Shower of Stoles Project Unless otherwise noted, permission is granted to reprint individual selections for congregational use.


The Beatitudes - A Litany

By Rev. Ann B. Day
Program Coordinator, Open and Affirming Program of the
United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns 1987-2007
Based on verses from Matthew 5
Originally published in Shaping Sanctuary

One: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
All: God our Center, we are grateful for Your presence within and among us. May all that we are and do arise from our love for you.
One: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
All:God our Comfort, be with all whose hearts are filled with grief. Let Christ's peace uphold them. May we bear with them the burden of sorrow, and bring to them faith's message of hope.
One: Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
All:God our Inspiration, may we have the mind of Christ as we relate to one another. Let love be our guide, and reconciliation our desire. May people of every color and class, age and ability, sexual and gender orientation be truly welcomed and valued among us.
One: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
All:God our Advocate, let our righteousness be born, not of arrogance, but of yearning to do Your good will. May we hunger for churches where all belong, where diversity of humanity and unity in Christ create community and promote justice. May we thirst for right relationship with You and all our neighbors.
One: Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
All:God our Refreshment, as Your forgiveness restores us, so may we offer the blessing of restoration to those who wrong us, and accept it from those we have wronged. Help us to find our way when the paths of justice and compassion seem to diverge. Give us hearts ever open to mercy's possibilities.
One: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
All:God our Hope, plant deep in us the longing for a world where children do not suffer at the hands of adults, where lovers' quarrels do not end in violence, where nations do not battle. May we pray peace, make peace, live peace. Amen.



The Good Word

By Rev. Ann B. Day
Program Coordinator, Open and Affirming Program of the
United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns 1987-2007
Based on I Corinthians 13:1-13
Originally published in Shaping Sanctuary

Voice I: What's the "good word" we have for the world?
What do we say through the worship and witness of our church?
Voice II: We say, "We believe in God, known in Jesus Christ."
We say, "Let there be justice and peace!"
Voice I: We say, "Come, accept the cost and joy of discipleship." We say, "Our congregation is Open and Affirming." *
All: It is good to voice our beliefs and commitments.
But say what we will, even in angelic tones,
if we do not love each other, our talk is cheap.
We shall sound to the world like clanging cymbals.
Voice II: We thank God for the joy of learning!
We are curious about the world within us,
the world around us and the worlds beyond us.
We wonder about the Creator of it all.
Exploring tradition, scripture, and experience,
we pray and reason together.
Our faith seeks understanding.
All: It is good to grow in knowledge and wisdom.
But even if we knew everything,
even if we have mountain-moving faith,
if we do not love each other,
we have gained nothing.
Voice II: What does love ask of us?
All: Love asks that we be patient and kind
as we build an inclusive faith community,
that we abandon arrogance,
that we risk new things,
that we not delight in the failings of others,
that we rejoice in discerning and living God's truth.
Voice II: Love is strong!
It believes and hopes and endures.
But sometimes even love falters.
Then we may forgive and accept forgiveness,
so that love may be renewed.
Voice I: Sustained by God's Spirit,
three things abide within and among us,
faith, hope, and love.
All: And the greatest of these is love.

*use the appropriate denominational designation



A Litany of Hope and Struggle: Honoring the Shower of Stoles Project

By Carol Wise
Executive Director, Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests

One: Because injustice can break the most eager spirit and force the abandonment of dreams…
All: We hold tenderly our sisters and brothers and grieve the loss of vibrancy and faith.
One: Because fear can overwhelm goodness and silence those whom God has called…
All: We decry the betrayal of God's own and announce our resolve to speak the truth of our lives.
One: Because hate destroys the human heart and limits the wonders of love…
All: We open ourselves to compassion and offer our lives as witnesses to the healing presence of God.
One: Because complacency gives consent to systems that oppress and harm…
All: We refuse to cede our world to hurtful powers and principalities and dare to dream new creations into being.
One: Because courage in the face of fear and injustice is a holy deed…
All: We celebrate the passion that chooses life in the midst of violence and claims the goodness of human dignity with power and grace.
One:Because hope in a world of complacency and hate is a sacred act of resistance…
All: We stand among this incredible cloud of witnesses and today proclaim:
Where hatred roars, we will sing of love.
Where fear stalks, we will stand with courage.
Where bigotry rages, we will call for justice.
Where pain overwhelms, we will extend kind comfort.
Where systems oppress, we will work for change.
Now and ever, now and ever, now and evermore.



A Litany of Inclusion

By Rev. Kenneth L. Pennings
Executive Director, Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
(perhaps best used with Communion)

First Voice: We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
All: God has revealed to us that homosexuality in not a sin to be confessed...
Second Voice: Or a sickness to be cured...
First Voice: But is a natural human condition.
All: While some would restrict us from the table of the Lord...
Second Voice: From church membership...
First Voice: From church leadership...
Second Voice: From ordination...
First Voice: From professional ministry positions...
Second Voice: From jobs...
First Voice: From marriage...
All: Because of their restricted view of the Bible...
Second Voice: Their restricted view of truth...
First Voice: And their restricted view of reality...
Second Voice: We welcome all to the Table of the Lord.
All: We say to all who are excluded because of skin color, physical and mental ableness...
First Voice: Income level, marital status...
Second Voice: Gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation...
All: "Be excluded no more!"
First Voice: We are stretching out our hands to those who have been stereotyped, stigmatized, labeled, and assigned to the margins of church and society, saying...
Second Voice: In the name of Jesus, partake of the body and blood of our Lord...
First Voice: Join our churches...
Second Voice: Lead our churches...
First Voice: Retain your jobs...
Second Voice: Marry your life partners!
All: Because we are all God's beloved children...
First Voice: We will live, laugh, love and lead...
Second Voice: With integrity, dignity, faithfulness, gratitude and joy!
All: Amen.



A Litany of Trust in God

By Rev. Ann B. Day
Program Coordinator, Open and Affirming Program of the
United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns 1987-2007
Based on Psalm 62:5-12
Originally published in Shaping Sanctuary

One: In the many silences of the heart, O God,
when feeling is beyond saying,
Your faithful people everywhere wait upon Your Spirit.
In the silence of joy -
when a baby is born,
when a sunset blazes,
when a loved one is restored to health,
when peace replaces strife -
All: In our joy, we wait upon You, O God.
We give You thanks and praise.
One: In the silence of sorrow -
when love is lost,
when pain is too constant a companion
, when time brings change that is hard to bear,
when death seems victorious -
All: In our sorrow, we wait upon You, O God.
You alone are our rock and our refuge.
One: In the silence of anger -
when justice is postponed until tomorrow,
when violence shatters body and soul,
when prejudice sets neighbor against neighbor,
when no one will listen -
All: In our anger, we wait upon You, O God.
Teach us the ways of justice and mercy.
One: Let us put our trust where it belongs,
not in our positions of power or wealth,
for such things are lighter than breath.
All: In our joy, our sorrow, our anger,
we trust in God's unfailing love and guidance.
We rely upon the blessing of being a community of faith,
a Church universal.
Sisters and brothers of many colors, ages, sexual orientations,
gender identities, and abilities, we are one in Christ!
Together, let us wait upon the God of our salvation!



A Litany to Re-Shape the World

By David R. Weiss, 2003
Poet & Theologian, Lutherans Concerned/North America

The world as it is, is an affront to the longing of God for justice.

The world as it is, is an affront to the People of God created for wholeness.

The world as it should be unsettles our imaginations and haunts our hearts.

The world as it should be is restless to break into the world as it is.

Power grounded in solidarity is God's gift to transform the world.

Power guided by love is God's capacity to make us instruments of change.

We are selves only in community.

The dignity of each self rests on the integrity of our relations with each other.

We are each treasures to ourselves and to our communities.

We share the task of calling forth the truth of each for the good of all.

Day by day, we bring the Wisdom of God to bear on the chaos of the world.

Day by day, we bring the Love of God to bear on the isolating fear of the world.

And day by day, we return to taste the Joy that is both first and final.

Matching tears with laughter, matching work with play; matching political struggle with intimate love.

All: Because the Kin-dom which is not yet, already is for sure. Amen.


Organizational Partners

Affirm United/S'affirmer Ensemble The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists Brethren-Mennonite Council for LGBT Concerns Open and Affirming Ministries of the Gay, Lesbian & Affirming Disciples (GLAD) Integrity Reconciling Works
More Light Presbyterians Open and Affirming Program of the United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns (ONA) Reconciling Ministries Network Room for All - Reformed Church in America Welcoming Community Network - Community of Christ