Gathering of the Orders and Fellowship

Introduction and Guide 2021

THEME: LAMENT AND PRAISE

Welcome

Welcome to this year’s Gathering of the Orders and Fellowship, which is being held in small group gatherings across our connection from now until February. Gather in your assigned clusters or with friends and colleagues nearby, or even make plans to gather in person or online with people far away whom you miss. 

The “Gathering” is but one part of a season of lament and praise to which you are called. Over the next couple of months, you will notice in our conference communications journaling questions and activities that we hope anchor your soul and bring life to you. 

The bishop will call us to gather again in February in a hybrid session—both online and in person. Until then…

In the bonds of community and peace,

Katie M. Ladd, Kay Barckley, Vonda McFadden, John Townsend

Resources for Gathering

Supplied: Itinerary, Questions for conversation, Video address, Visio Divina materials, Worship Order of Service

What you need to supply: One person to serve as “convener,” Communion elements, smartphone to see images during Visio Divina, each person to bring an item or story to share that comes from their culture/family/tradition that roots them in joy or comfort them in lament.

What you will also need: An internet connection and screen/laptop, etc for viewing the video address

Instruction for Using Worship Order

As you move through the order of the day, you will often find two columns of text, one which speaks from a heart of praise and one from lament. We invite you into a system of co-leading the day so that whomever is sharing at the moment can select praise or lament to read, whichever best matches how their heart and spirit are at the moment.

Itinerary and Questions


Welcome

Prayer (extemporaneous)

Sharing of items [people invited to bring items from culture or from family or personal traditions that are rooted in praise/joy/happiness and lament] [30 minutes]

Conversation questions about vocation [45 minutes]

  • How has your calling to serve in and through the church changed during Covid?
  • How has your calling to serve in and through the church been affected by the delayed General Conference?
  • How is it with your soul?

Video Message [13 minutes]

Break

Visio Divina [45 minutes]

Worship with Communion [30 minutes]


Video Message

Rev. Katie Ladd, chair of the Order of Elders, offer a message for pastoral leaders titled “Together.”

To the CLM’s, my sincerest apologies for not naming you directly in this video. This was my oversight and I appeal to your grace for it. Thank you. – Katie M Ladd 

Visio Divina Guide

45 min.

Intro to Visio Divina

  • A method of praying with visual elements, images, other media or creation
  • Related to Lectio Divina (divine hearing); Visio Divina is divine seeing
  • Visio Divina invites us to see at a more contemplative pace – to see with the eyes of our heart, to see deeply and to be seen, addressed, surprised and transformed by God.

Process (5 min)

  1. Review all of the photos provided below your device. You can use the arrows or dots below the images to navigate faster. 
  2. Select a photo to which the eyes of your heart are drawn relating to praise and/or lament. Zoom in on the photo to view the image as large as possible. 

Directions continue below the images.

  • Xianyu Hao, Unsplash
  • Jon Tyson, Upsplash
  • Marcus Dall Col, Unsplash
  • Melissa Askew, Unsplash
  • Foto Murthy, Unsplash
  • Sean Berger, Unsplash
  • Simon Berger, Unsplash
  • Jan Tinneberg, Unsplash
  • KristopherRoller, Unsplash
  • Chen Yichun, Unsplash
  • Photo: David Rule
  • Elizabeth, 2020
  • CC License
  • ⓒ Paul Jeffrey
  • ⓒ Paul Jeffrey
  • Veeterzy, Unsplash
  • ⓒ Paul Jeffrey
  • Photo by Sophia Agtarap
  • Via Pixabay
  • CC License
  • Elena Shumilova, Flickr
  • Pedro Kummel, Unsplash
  • Photo by Austin Schmid
  • Photo by Kay Barckley
  • ⓒ Paul Jeffrey
  • Photo by Kay Barckley
  • ⓒ Paul Jeffrey
  • Photo by Kay Barckley
  • ⓒ Paul Jeffrey
  • Photo by Kay Barckley
  • Photo by Kay Barckley
  • Photo by Kay Barckley
  • Photo by Kay Barckley
  • Bobby Johnson, Unsplash
  • ⓒ Paul Jeffrey
  • Martin Adams, Unsplash
  • ⓒ Paul Jeffrey
  • ⓒ Paul Jeffrey
  • ⓒ Paul Jeffrey
  • ⓒ Paul Jeffrey
  • Photo by Kay Barckley

    Guided Prayer (15 min)

    • Take a few moments to center yourself opening your heart and mind to God.
    • When ready, slowly look and notice the image – taking your time to let feelings and thoughts come to you, and notice your responses without judgment or evaluation.

    What does it look like, or remind you of? What do you find yourself drawn to? What do you like and not like? What are your initial thoughts? What feelings are evoked?

    Note: Let yourself be led by the Spirit to go in another direction if Visio Divina is not where you are being drawn

    • As your prayer expands, return to the image with an open heart and mind – be aware of new thoughts, feelings or responses – ponder prayerfully the reason for your various responses and what they might mean.
    • As your prayer deepens open yourself to what the image might reveal to you.

    What does it and the Spirit want to say, evoke, make known, or express to you? Become aware of the feelings, thoughts, desires and meanings evoked by the image and how they are directly connected to your life (e.g. values, event, season or suggest a different way of being)?  What desires and longings are evoked in your prayer? How do you find yourself wanting to respond to what you are experiencing?

    Take time to respond to God in prayer.

    • In the remaining few minutes of prayer with this image, bring to mind or journal the insights you want to remember, actions you are invited to take, wisdom you hope to embody, or any feelings or thoughts you wish to express. Bring your prayer to a close by resting in God’s grace and love.

    Group Sharing (25 min)

    • You are invited to share reflections from your Visio Divina prayer with others in your gathered group via mutual invitation

    Worship with Communion*

    30 min.

    Welcome to worship. This service is structured to be led “in the round.” With each section, a different person can lead. The leader of each section can choose to lead from a place of praise or lament, whichever best speaks from their soul. The service concludes with Holy Communion. Please enter into the sacrament using practices appropriate for the safety of those gathered during these days of Covid. May God meet you in this worship and be an anchor amid the tides that pull this way and that.

    Cry of the Church

    PRAISE

    This is the day which the Lord has made;
           let us rejoice and be glad in it.

    LAMENT

    Kyrie Eleison; Christe Eleison;
           Kyrie Eleison.

    A Prayer of Praise and Lament based on Psalms 100 & 88

    PRAISE

    Shout for Joy to the Lord,
           All the Earth!

    Worship God with Gladness
           and sing joyful songs!

    We are God’s people,
           deeply loved by God.

    Enter into God’s presence with praise,
           and give thanks!

    For God is good and God’s love endures Forever!
           God’s love endures throughout all generations!

    LAMENT

    I am overwhelmed with troubles
           and my life feels close to its end.

    I cry out to God for help,
           and yet I feel rejected.

    Why am I in the pit?
    Why have I been driven into Darkness?

    All I feel is the wrath and terror,
          they flood and engulf my whole being.

    All my friends are gone.
          Darkness is my closest friend.

    Silent Reflection

    Covenant Blessing

    As the leader of this section reads a category, please indicate if it fits for you so that you may be showered with God’s blessing. The response is: L: Holy are you   All: Blessed are you.”

    Holy One, you are the Alpha and the Omega. You speak order out of chaos and you breathe life into lifeless places. You are with us in our first breath; you are present in our last breath. You are our God in this world and in the world to come. We come before you seeking your blessing. Amen.

    We pray God’s blessing…

    …for those experiencing new life

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those with new babies or children in their families

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those in new relationships/getting married or who are celebrating weddings in their families

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those establishing themselves in a new home

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those with children in the midst of joy, wonder, and adventure

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those starting school or a new job

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those celebrating milestone anniversaries

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those who have experienced healing in body or soul or who have family members who have experienced healing

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those embarking upon new adventures

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those in love with their ministry settings

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those in love and at peace with their call

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those who feel grounded in faith and vocation

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those going before provisional or full membership committees this year

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those recently licensed for ministry

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those retiring this year

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those taking sabbatical or leave

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those who have hope for the church

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those who grieve

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those experiencing endings of relationships

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those with family members struggling with their mental health

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those struggling with mental health

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those whose children are struggling

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those who struggle with their children

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those whose physical health is challenged

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those serving as care-givers

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those with ailing family members, especially parents

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those who feel stuck

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those in the midst of transition

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those who are saying goodbye

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you. 

    …for those who struggle with their ministry settings

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those who have lost or struggle with a sense of calling

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those whose spiritual life feels dormant and even chaotic

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those who have little or no hope in the church

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    …for those who need a blessing but did not hear your need mentioned

    L: Holy are you  All: Blessed are you.

    L: Holy are we  All: Blessed are we. Amen.

    *Holy Communion

    The Lord be with you.

    And also with you.

    Lift up your hearts.

    We lift them up to the Lord.

    Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

    It is right to give our thanks and praise.

    Blessed are you, God of all creation

                Source of all mercies,

                Fount of love beyond all measure,

    It is right to give you thanks and praise, and to offer up grateful hearts and voices.

    You set us within the vast expanse of your creation.

    Who are we that you are mindful of us? And yet, with your loving spirit you set human beings just below angels.

    Even when we turned away from our love, you never let us be put to shame. You called us back again and again, forgiving us, delivering us from captivity to sin and death, and made covenant to be our God.

    Therefore, with your people in all ages, in communion with the saints and with the whole company of heaven, we join the glad song of a thankful creation in singing:

    Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might; heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!

    Lover of the unlovable, we give you thanks. In the fullness of time, Christ our liberator, redeemer, and sustainer came to live and be with the least of us. He grew up and touched the untouchable, confronting the powerful. Those isolated, distanced, the sick, the hungry, the widows, the orphans: these were never far from him.

    On the night in which Jesus gave himself up for us,
    he took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said:

    Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

    When the supper was over, he took the cup,
    gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said:

    Drink from this, all of you;
    this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
    Do this, as o0en as you drink it,
    In remembrance of me.”

    And so,
    in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
    as a holy and living sacrifice,
    in union with Christs offering for us,
    as we proclaim the mystery of faith.

    Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again!

    Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here,
    and on these gifts from wheat and vine.
    Make them be for us the body and blood – the life – of Christ, that we may be sustained, that we may be made whole.

    By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other,
    and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory

    and we feast at his heavenly banquet.

    Through your Son Jesus Christ,
    with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, all honor and glory is yours, almighty God, now and forever.

    Amen.

    *Prayer of Jesus

    Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
    Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth, as in heaven.
    Give us today our daily bread.
    Forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
    Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
    For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.

    Breaking the Bread

    Sharing Bread and Cup

    Prayer After Communion

    Eternal God, we give you thanks for this holy mystery in which you have given yourself to us. Grant that we may go into the world in the strength of your Spirit, to give ourselves for others. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

    Blessing and Sending Forth

    PRAISE

    May the God of hope fill you all
           with joy and peace in believing,
           so that you may abound in hope
           by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

    LAMENT

    The grace of the Lord Jesus,
           and the love of God,
           and the communion of the Holy Spirit
           be with you all. Amen.


    *Elements of this service were adapted from The Upper Room Worshipbook (Upper Room, 2006) and Liturgies from Below (Cláudio Carvalhaes, Abingdon Press, 2020).

    © Copyright 2021 Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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