Bulletin for Sunday, February 18, 2018

First Sunday of Lent


Central United Church is a safe place for all people to participate fully

regardless of race, creed, age, cultural background,

sexual orientation or gender identity.

What if we considered the term God

to be a metaphor for “the whole of the universe”?

How would that impact your reading of this morning’s liturgy?

For thousands of years Indigenous people

have walked on this land, in their own country.

Their relationship with the land was at the center of their lives.

We acknowledge Indigenous People and their stewardship

of this land throughout the ages.

We remember that in this region we live, play, work and assemble on lands

which are, by law, the un-ceded territories of the Wabanaki peoples –

predominately the lands of the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and Passamaquoddy.

May we learn to live with respect on this land, and live in peace and

friendship with its people.

Un-ceded – means not formally surrendered to another

Those who are able and wish to are invited to stand at the places marked

with an *­ Those who wish to, and are able, are invited to join in the

responses which are printed in bold print.



Gathering Music: Favourites…


­Hymn:  To the Desert Jesus Came       113VU


Entry into the Celebration

Today we assemble on the First Sunday of Lent 2018.

We come together from our separate lives,

each of us bringing our concerns, our preoccupations,

our hopes, and our dreams.


We come to this place partly out of a long tradition

of attending Church on Sundays, partly out of a desire

to be in community with friends and fellow travelers

who acknowledge and explore the mysteries of life

and also out of our commitments to a birthing process

that anticipates a new Christianity for a new day.


Lent is a time for slowing down and seeking to be

more open to the parts of everyday reality that are

too often missed, overlooked or for some reason

blocked from our view by our daily rush

and preoccupations.


Alas Lent also appears at a time of year when the days

are lengthening and light is returning. Brighter days

give birth to brighter moods and we are reassured

that Spring will, in due time, follow Winter once again. 

New life will awaken; darkness and Winter blues will recede.


Let us light candles and arrange our communal table in a way

that reflects the community that we are continually becoming.


Candles lighted and feather placed


In this place of friendship there is freedom.

May the light we kindle go before us,

strong in hope,

wide in good will,

and inviting a day

when righteousness and peace will finally embrace.


Hymn:  Come and Seek the Ways of Wisdom     10MV



A warm welcome is extended to all – especially those

who may be joining us for a first time.  Your presence enriches

this gathering and contributes to the creative evolution of community.

Thanks for the gift of you!


Minute for a Lenten Carbon Fast

Refraining from frivolous energy consumption is a physical

expression of compassion for Mother Earth and for all who dwell upon

Her. By fasting from carbon, we are making a concrete contribution

towards planetary salvation and as well as our own. And isn’t that

what Easter and Passover are supposed to be about anyway?


The Price of Carbon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kY-ZnpWbJdw


 Readings from our broad Religious Tradition

Two readings from our broad religious tradition shall now be read.


From the World Around us:

‘Thoughts in the Desert’  By Bruce Prewer.  More Australian Psalms/135.


Those who dare to test their wits

in dry inhospitable territory,

where no-one is waiting

to receive them,

return with

a word:

The dire danger to the adventurer

is not demoralising gibber plains

nor ridge after ridge of sand,

but the distracting lure

of the shimmering


To distinguish reality from the illusion

and to keep one’s bearings and course

in spite of the mind’s treachery –

this is the ultimate test

for the pilgrims

and prophets.

City prophets have a variation on this word:

Deserts take victims swiftly, savagely,

but urban mirages work slowly,

day by day diverting prey

and destroying souls

still smiling.


Traditional Gospel  Mark 1: 12 – 15 (Inclusive Text)




­Hymn:  Standing Alone     Sing it Forward pg. 5   Tune 459VU



Reflections and Prayers

As a community, we bring our hopes, dreams, joys and concerns to

this place.  Let us share these with one another.


Sharing of Hopes, Dreams, Joys and Concerns


Listening Response

For each hope, dream, joy and concern, uttered aloud or in silence,

and for each human one denied the freedom to express their truth for

fear of discrimination or condemnation we light a candle of Care this day.


The care candle is lit


As one heart is lifted

may we share its celebration.

As one heart is burdened

may we share the pain it knows.        (Gretta Vosper/wwg)


May we be enlightened and empowered to make response

meaningfully and appropriately to the reflections and prayers offered.

May all that is sacred within us and around us reveal

the possibilities awaiting our engagement.


Praying in the Pattern of the Prayer of Jesus (together)

O presence and pow’r within,

creative impulse and life of all.

May we be filled to overflowing

with an unending love and appreciation for life!

May we sow grace, peace, and justice,

as we pursue that which is right and good.


May we share food and nurture hope needed for today.

May our wrongs be forgiven as we acknowledge them,

and may we endeavor to forgive wrongs done to us.

May we elude the conceit and despair, the fear and the hate,

which can occasionally threaten to consume or overwhelm.


May we not forget that inside each of us and all of us,

lies possibility and potential for wholeness and fullness,

for restoration and renewal. Amen.   



 Acknowledging the Offerings of Each

Our offerings for the celebration of life in this place

and the church’s work at home and abroad

are today acknowledged and dedicated

to pursuits of hope, peace, love and justice on behalf of many.

May the ministry offered by the members of this

community continue nurturing health, healing

and wholeness through ongoing collaboration

with others on common causes.


DedicationWhat Can I Do?       191MV


­Thoughts for Today

Jesus was moved by the plight of the poor.

He made his home with the homeless

and shared his table with those

who could not command a seat at any table.

He dreamed of a world where enemies 

learned to love one another;

where the abundance of creation was shared fairly;

where love was the law of every land.

May we who stand upon the shoulders

of those who have gone before, be enabled

to dream into reality the Christianity that still awaits a rebirth.




­Hymn:  Love Will be our Lenten Calling (v1,2)       Tune 473 VU


­As We Go Forth

As we go forth may we embrace

the wonder of this week

with expectation and imagination…

Candles are extinguished


May we go forth walking

more lightly upon Earth,

more humbly with all creatures,

more faithfully caring for all creation.


May the blessing of Hidden Wholeness,

which knows the universe to be One,

nurture and stir us into awareness

of our great and glorious

cosmic inheritance and cosmic responsibility.


­Hymn:  Love Will be our Lenten Calling (v3)      Tune 473 VU



Celebrating Makes Cents

Coffee and Conversation



The Shaping Tomorrow Offering Box is available today for donations (tax receiptable) to our various initiatives.

One (1) more volunteer is required for clean up at the Community Breakfast on February 24th @ St. Georges’ Anglican Church from 9am-11:30am.  If this is something you would like to do there is a sign up sheet or please get in touch with Ann at 532-2502 or edgarbann@yahoo.ca. Thank you for helping to feed the hungry of downtown Moncton.

Tax Receipts are available today at Coffee and Conversation.

YEAR-END REPORTS should be submitted to the church office as soon as possible.

We are in need of volunteers to host Coffee and Conversation on Sundays. Sign-up sheets are available today or call the office, 857-3186, for more information

Lent I

40 Simple Ways to Fast and Feast for God’s Creation

We are called both to attend to the sacredness of Creation and to respond to it by active participation in the protection of Creation. This list for Lent 2018 uses the metaphors of feasting and fasting to invite both these elements of caring for Creation into our Lenten observance.

  1. Feast on the beauty of this day by glancing up every time you go outdoors.
  2. Fast from spending money on consumer purchases.
  3. Feast on the goodness of Holy Mystery by giving thanks for your life and your sustenance before each meal.
  4. Fast from heavily processed “junk” foods.
  5. Feast on Life’s creativity by watching with interest the uniqueness of insects or critters that cross you path today.
  6. Fast from unnecessary water waste by placing a bucket in your shower to catch extra water (and then use it in the place of a toilet flush!)
  7. Feast on the blessing of water by offering a prayer of thanks to the Creator each time you wash your hands or drink from the tap.

Living Lent in Caring for Creation http://earthministry.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/LivinginLentCaringforCreation.pdf


The covenanting service for the Reverend Margaret (Peggy) Reid, the Hillsborough Pastoral Charge and Chignecto Presbytery will be held today, Feb. 18th, at 2:30 pm at the Hillsborough United Church, 2891 Main Street (Route 114).   A reception will follow the service.  All are welcome.  Storm date is March 4, same time, same place.

A “New To You” Sale, Saturday, Feb. 24th 9am – Noon at St. Paul’s United Church, Riverview. The UCW are hosting this sale of gently used clothing, footwear and accessories for women, men and children.  Something for everyone at great prices!

ENGAGING THE PARABLES — Through a study of some of the Parables from the Gospels, the Christian Development Committee of St. John’s United Church  invite you to attend this year’s Lenten Bible study, led by Minister Emeritus, Rev. Dr. Doug MacEachern. February 28, March 7, 14, 21, 12-1pm. Please contact Karen in the Church Office 858-8289 or e-mail the Church at sjuc@nb.aibn.com or Doug at dougjune@nb.sympatico.ca



The Volunteer Centre’s Respite Care Services for children with special needs is looking for volunteers in Dieppe, Moncton, Riverview, Hillsborough, Dorchester, Shediac and Kent County.  This program offers local families hours of relief care and an opportunity for their child to make new friends.  We need caring people to help support these families a few hours each month. For more information, please contact: Natalie Sherwood, Director of Respite Care Services, Volunteer Centre of Southeastern NB at 869-6774 or email: respite@nb.aibn.com



Genesis 17:1-7,15-16 The covenant between Abram, Sarai and God.

Psalm 22:23-31 You have not hidden your face, O God.

Romans 4:13-25 God’s promise rests on grace and faith.

Mark 8:31-38 Those who lose their life for the gospel will save it.



ORDER OF MINISTRY: The Rev. Dr. James MacDonald


MUSICIAN: Justin Guignard



Some of the Resources used in Shaping this Liturgy:

Inclusive Readings. Year B. Brisbane. Inclusive Language Project. In private circulation, 2005. (SiF) Kearns, S. 2009.  Sing it Forward. Traditional Hymns recast and rewritten for Non-exclusive Spiritual Communities. Canada: Toronto. Direct from the  author. (RP) Pratt, A. Reclaiming Praise. Hymns from a Spiritual Journey. London. Stainer & Bell Ltd, 2006.

Prewer, B. D. More Australian Psalms. Adelaide. OpenBook Publishers, 1996.

Vosper, G. With or Without God. Why the way we Live is more important that what we Believe. Canada: Toronto. HarperCollins, 2008.

Web sites/Other:

February and March 2018 Carbon fast for Lent http://earthministry.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/CfC-Lent-2018-calendar.pdf

A Greenhouse Gas fast for Lent and Passover – Dona Henes, The Huffington Post http://earthministry.org/worship/holidays/lenten-devotions/

Living Lent in Caring for Creation http://earthministry.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/LivinginLentCaringforCreation.pdf

Hunt, Rex A.E. http://www.rexaehuntprogressive.com/