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A SERVICE OF WORD  AND SACRAMENT

Preventing Child Abuse and Supporting Adult Survivors
South Sydney Uniting Church
November 14, 2010

The Gathering of the People of God

CALL TO WORSHIP

Geoff, 46, was sexually abused by a female babysitter and subsequently by an old man through his baseball club. Geoff blamed himself and didn’t disclose as he felt he wouldn’t be believed. Keeping his secret came at a cost and Geoff suffered depression, suicidal thoughts, post traumatic stress disorder and addictions. It was only after he broke his silence and found the support that things have improved.

Vanessa spent decades dealing with the aftermath of her childhood abuse at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend. In the fifth and sixth grade when the abuse was at its peak, Vanessa struggled to cope. Once an outgoing, bubbly child she became withdrawn and introverted. Her friends were beginning to take an interest in boys but if any paid attention to her she felt panicked and frightened. When at 14 years of age she kissed a boy for the first time she felt physically ill for weeks. For almost 30 years Vanessa battled low self-esteem and low self-worth but now married with four children and supported by her family, Vanessa, a marathon runner, is speaking out against her abuse.

Let us worship God.

THE KNOT OF CHILD ABUSE

Dancers.

GREETING

Acknowledgement of Indigenous custodians.
Welcome to visitors.

GRIEVING

Creator God,
We grieve with those who cannot be comforted.
Provoke us to outrage, O God,
that your children have been violated,
that we have been deaf to their cries,
slow to react,
paralysed by disbelief
and complicit in evil.

Why, God?
Why did this happen?

We grieve with the one who cries,
“For as long as I remember, I’ve been hurting”.
We grieve every instance of child sexual abuse,
emotional abuse and neglect,
physical and spiritual abuse.
We grieve that these wounds are carried into adulthood.
We grieve that these wounds are sometimes fatal.

Where were you, God?
Where are you now?

In spite of our grieving
we believe in justice,
and we call for help.

SONG: ‘When human voices cannot sing’ (682, vv.1-3)

Lighting the Christ Candle.

CONFESSING

We confess, O God,
that sometimes the Church has not been a safe place.
The Church has been the abuser.
The Church has failed to provide comfort and protection.
The Church has perpetuated hurts
and has not taken responsibility for its actions.

We are the Church.
Shake us, O God, and remake us.

We confess that too often our teaching on sexuality
has produced hypocrisy, immaturity and deceit.

We are the Church.
Shake us, O God, and remake us.

The Liturgy of the Word

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION (702)

 Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia;
 alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

GOSPEL
The Good News and Power of God.
Praise to you, O Jesus Christ.

HOMILY

SILENCE

BESEECHING

God of compassion,
Hear the prayers of those who call to you.

Silence.

Gentle Spirit, Power of God,
We pray healing for all the damage done.
Heal the shame, heal the fear,
heal anxiety, heal depression
and heal despair.

In the name of Christ,
the wounded one.

We know that evil is real.
We know that children are at risk this very day.
Protect them.
Help us to trust again.
Help us to be trustworthy.

In the name of Christ,
the wounded one.

Bring those who have abused others
to a willingness to admit their wrongs
and an openness to living their lives in a new way.

In the name of Christ,
the wounded one.

Spirit of wholeness,
We are all affected.
Fill our lives with new courage
and make us a community where justice can happen.

In the name of Christ,
the healer.

Helper Spirit,
We pray for carers and friends
of those who have been harmed.
May they receive the understanding they need,
the support they need,
the rest they need.

In the name of Christ,
the healer.

When we reach out helping hands
may our touch be always respectful.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

About ASCA (Adults Surviving Child Abuse)

OFFERING: ‘God! When human bonds are broken’ (683)

Loving God,
in these signs of bread and wine
we celebrate how Jesus, your Own,
gave himself once and for all,
that we might live and love and be free.

THE PEACE

INVITATION

Come, your place is at the table.
Here Christ meets you
and calls you God’s own.

GREAT PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

God is here.
God’s Spirit is with us.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to God.
Let us give thanks to the God of love.
It is right to offer thanks and praise.

 Holy God, we praise you:
L: Father and Mother;
R: Grace and Truth;
L: Life and Love;
R: Giving, forgiving, creating ...

Let the heavens be joyful, and the earth be glad.
We bless you for creating the whole world,
for your promises to your people Israel,
and for the life we know in Jesus Christ.

 Born of Mary,
L: he shares our life.
 Eating with sinners,
R: he welcomes us.
 Leading his followers,
L: he guides us.
 Dying on the cross,
R: he rescues us.
 Risen from the dead,
All: he gives new life.

Therefore we sing (761):
Holy, Holy, Holy God, wisdom, strength and hope,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of our God.
Hosanna in the highest.

Send to us the Holy Spirit that this meal may be holy,
and your people may become one.

Unite us in faith, inspire us to love,
encourage us with hope,
that we may receive Christ as he comes to us
in this holy banquet.

We praise you, almighty God,
through Christ, and in the Holy Spirit.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Abba God in heaven,
 
glory to you!
Your rule of love renews the earth.
In your name, we take part in that renewal
 
helping, and not harming,
 
caring, and not coercing ...
We pray that we might receive with thanks
 
the bread we need,
 
the money we need,
 
the warmth we need ...
We pray that forgiveness and freedom
flow through our lives.
Teach us that in sharing life
 
we live life to the full ...
Remind us that evil is real.
Still, we are not afraid of it,
but confident
 
that love is stronger than hate,
 
justice other than revenge,
 
true peace the work of your Spirit.

BREAKING OF THE BREAD

LAMB OF GOD (765)

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us, have mercy on us (repeat).
Servant of God, you take away the sin of the world:
grant us peace, grant us peace.

COMMUNION

Let us receive what we are;
let us become what we receive.
The body of Christ.

HOPING

God, you have promised to answer prayers.
You store our tears in a jar,
you keep a record of our sleepless nights.
We won’t give up.

Giver of life,
In you we hope.

We are thankful for all the brave people
who have told their stories of abuse,
and mindful of those who are silent.
We are thankful for all those who have listened
advocates, health professionals,
support agencies, social services,
neighbours, friends, churches
and mindful that sometimes disclosures have not been well received.
We are thankful for anyone or anything
that has helped a victim of abuse to survive,
and mindful that sometimes there is not adequate help available.

Giver of life,
In you we hope.

God of Resurrection,
Your rule of love renews the earth.
In your name we take part in that renewal.
By your grace we commit
to listening to stories of abuse,
to restoring the fortune and rights
of those who have been abused, ostracised, betrayed,
to maintaining our churches as safe places,
and, in the context of a shared struggle for justice,
to reforming our traditions,
our policies, practices and celebrations.

Giver of life,
In you we hope

The One who makes the dry bones to live. Amen.
The One who makes the wilderness to bloom. Amen.
The One who brings life out of the void. Amen.

The Sending Forth of the People of God

Notices.

BLESSING

May Almighty God bless you ...+

Acknowledgements:
Prayers by Heather Robinson and Andrew Collis.