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Theme: Visioning the Future

While the prelude music is being played, some women carry symbols of faith and life to the altar: an open Bible to be placed at the center, one big lighted candle, a potted flowery plant and the banner of the ACWC.

*Call to Worship
For the living of these days,
let us heed promptings of possibility,
let us evoke creativities of compassion,
let us be poised for flight on soaring wings of faith and love.
O come, let us worship!

*Hymn of Praise

*Prayer of Invocation:
[Psalm 24:4, 6-7] In Unison
Powerful God, we praise you for Jesus Christ,
who entered the ancient gates in peace,
whose glory was shown on the cross,
whose power was shown in love.
We come before you,
not with pure hearts,
not with clean hands,
yet we seek your blessing,
we seek your face.
Grant us your grace and your peace,
Glory be to you, O God! Amen.

Litany of Confession
Leader: Here, God, we are yours. Silent now, but filled with new awareness of all our possibilities. Still now, yet full of energy for your reign of justice. Prayerfully we come to hear your Word and celebrate the Gospel, which makes us the new beings we are only just discovering inside ourselves. With hope we approach you in worship that we may celebrate the community we have become.
Great and gracious God, we have known your presence in our midst through calls to personhood, to faith, to justice, and to action. We turn humbly in confession to acknowledge that we have failed you, and each other, and ourselves.
Voice 1: O God, our Creator, we confess that we have turned away from the startling reality of our creation in your image. In fear, we have turned our backs on the dominion granted us at the beginning of time and have accepted cultural definitions of femininity and masculinity. We recognize now that by these sins we have distorted your image upon this earth. O merciful God, forgive us for failing to be with you the co-creators we were called to be.
People: Forgive us and make us free!
Voice 2:
O God of all Wisdom, confronted by injustice and the awesome powers and principalities of our day, we recoil in fear and take refuge in our powerlessness. Frozen into passivity and hiding behind complexity, we pray for others to take action at moments when our leadership is necessary. O merciful God, forgive us for forgetting that your Spirit brings wisdom to those who must step forward at times like these.
People: Forgive us and make us bold!
Voice 3:
O God of all the universe, we confess that we have permitted the happenstance of birth to divide us not only from, but against, each other. We celebrate our differences, and yet we fail to create that unity which the gospel demands. O merciful God, forgive us for closing ourselves to your Spirit which would unite and empower us for mission.
People: Forgive us and make us one!
Voice 4:
O God of all time, forgive us. We live in a society which wastes resources and people. We have become accustomed to such waste. We value the young and the new and the shiny. Yet you, God, promise to make all things new. O merciful God, forgive us for our willingness to be every kind of new creation but yours.
People: Forgive us and make us new!
Come close, God, and hear the inner yearnings of these your people who seek to be faithful, who long to live justly and to live for justice. We seek your loving forgiveness, as surely as we are a people of faith. For in this prayer, we confess not only our wrongdoing but also our faith. Come, God our Creator, who is known in Jesus Christ. Come through your Holy Spirit and free us of these burdens.
People: Amen
-Prepared for the first National Meeting of Women, UCC, USA

Hymn of Faith or Thanksgiving

*Greetings and Passing the Peace of Christ
Leader: Let us rise to welcome and greet each other with a handshake or hug of fellowship, saying to one another, “The peace of Christ be with you.”

*Scripture Readings
Old Testament: Isaiah 65:17-25
New Testament: Luke 4:14-21


*Prayer for the Journey to the Future

Leader: Our lives are a journey, and the road goes ever on. It’s a road that began with our birth, that winds its way through meadows and mountains that crosses rivers and canyons.
People: For the bread that has sustained us on our journey, for the guides who have led us, we offer thanks and praise, O God.
We pray for those whose journey ends mere moments after it has begun.
We pray for those who do not have the strength to travel on.
We pray for those whose path seems continually to wind back upon itself, spiraling through poverty, pain, prison of soul or mind or body,
And for those whose path is in the coils of malice until joy and power and life itself are crushed out.
In the landscape of your abounding love we know there are paths leading into tomorrows yet unfathomed. There are days ahead when all our children shall walk upon a green and fruitful earth,
Unafraid of war, unbeset by want,
Untouched by pain or loneliness, selfishness or uselessness.
Help us to shape such a world through the ACWC…that through the prayers and women gathered, we become agents of change, moving the world towards real peace, reconciliation, forgiveness and justice for all.
Let our paths not be narrow and self-preoccupied.
Let us build broad highways, where all may walk together in beauty, tending the gardens along the way.
As we journey on through pleasure and pain, commitment and betrayal, keep us mindful that we do not walk alone;
That you are a Presence in our midst;
That in Jesus of Nazareth you came and shared our common lot;
That you walk beside us and dance ahead of us into the future.
Deliver us, we pray, from the mire of grudges and regrets. We yearn to break away from all that, to come running to your open arms, to your arms that are spread wide with mercy and acceptance.
People: All these things we pray in the name of Jesus, whose story brings life to a dying world, hope to a despairing people, justice and love to a realm of strife. Amen.

Offertory Music

The Gathering of the ACWC

*Prayer of the Asian Church Women's Conference In Unison
O loving Creator, we present ourselves in your divine presence to thank you for all the bountiful gifts of life. We are especially grateful for the ACWC, which binds us together in love and supporting around the Asian area. Free us from all doubts and prejudices, we pray. Inspire us to live in solidarity with humankind that we may know the joy of giving and receiving.
Dear God, accept our prayers. Let us honor your creation with love, as shown through the life and resurrection of your Son, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

*Closing Hymn

*Affirmation of Faith
Leader: Isaiah said:
“It shall come to pass that the peoples
shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.”

People: This is our vision:
That a world of harmony and peace
will replace our world
of injustice and war.

Jesus said:
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.”

People: This is our calling:
To know God’s ways of peace,
and so to make peace,
in our family and community,
our nation and world.

Leader: Paul said:
“In Christ, God was reconciling the world..
not counting their trespasses against them,
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

People: This is our faith:
That in Jesus,
we meet the God who makes peace
with our wayward and hurting world;
and that by this reconciling love,
we are moved to bridge the chasms
of fear and estrangement.

All: May it be so. Amen

Leader: The way is long, let us go together.
People: The way is difficult, let us help each other.
Leader: The way is joyful, let us share it.
People: The way is Christ’s, for Christ is the Way, let us follow.
Leader: The way is open before us, let us go:
with the love of God,
the grace of Christ, and
the communion of the Holy Spirit.
Let us journey together. Amen.


*AT THIS SIGN, the congregation please rise.
*This was a joint effort of the special committee which the Church Women United of the Philippines, CWUP Board constituted composed of Zeny Maturan, Prima Formillosa and Coralie to draft. Zeny is the head of Philippines World Day of Prayer Committee and Prima is the National President of the Federation of Baptist Women. The ACWC national representative, Estrella del Mundo, of course also contributed to the ideas.


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