Other Liturgies

Home Mission Statement Homilies Liturgies In Memoriam Reports Resources Contacts Links



Preventing Child Abuse
and Supporting Adult Survivors
South Sydney Uniting Church
November 3, 2013

The Gathering of the People of God


The stories of adult survivors of child abuse
can be deeply painful and powerful.
We gather today to recognise these stories;
to make space for them,
and a space for hope and healing.
Let us worship God.


Acknowledgement of Indigenous custodians.
Welcome to visitors.


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.


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

FIRST READING Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4

The Wisdom of God.
God’s Word made new.


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

GOSPEL Luke 19:1-10

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

HOMILY (Rev. Elenie Poulos)


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


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 always be respectful.


Let us affirm our faith together:
We believe in a God
who never leaves us nor forsakes us.
This God will recreate our lives,
gathering us into the loving arms
of a Holy Parent who defends and heals us.
We believe in a God in Christ Jesus
who feels what we feel
and takes our hands in hope.
This Christ is angry for the abused,
and stands beside them in protest
and challenges all who wound the vulnerable.
We believe in God, the Holy Spirit,
the One who warms our lives
with a passion for good.
This wise Spirit guides us each day
and inspires us towards courage and truth.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

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.



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


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.


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.



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.


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


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



May Almighty God bless you ...+

SONG: ‘May the feet of God walk with you’
 (Aubrey Podlich)

 May the feet of God walk with you
 and God’s hand hold you tight.
 May the eye of God rest on you,
 and God’s ear hear you cry.
 May the smile of God be for you
 and God’s breath give you life.
 May the Child of God grow in you
 and God’s love bring you home.

Prayers by Heather Robinson and Andrew Collis;
Affirmation of Faith by Dorothy McRae-McMahon.
Artwork: Peter Lloyd, 59, from Redfern, winner of ASCA’s Untangle the Knot Photo Competition, 2013. Peter made the following statement about his winning entry, entitled Against All Odds: “I heard of the Blue Knot photo competition from a friend of my wife’s who is still, in her early fifties, battling with the consequences of childhood abuse. I have never entered a photo competition before, and it was really at her suggestion that I entered this one. I wanted to portray hope, to present a positive rather than a lot of the negative spin we see today. The idea of a seedling prospering in a harsh and desolate environment appealed to me, so I incorporated a blue knot into the image. The photo was taken during the recent school holidays on Tuncurry (Nine Mile) Beach ...”

A Blue Knot Day event in support of ASCA (www.asca.org.au).