Thursday, December 12, 2013

Prayer for the Comprehensive Review

I was one of the commissioners to the United Church of Canada's 41st General Council in Ottawa who voted to undertake a major review of all of the church's structures, programs and processes. A small Task Group was formed, chaired by Rev. Cathy Hamilton (who was ordained with me), to consider how we are called to live out God's mission in a world of rapid change. The group has been receiving presentations from various groups in the church and feedback from facilitators who have been interviewing congregations and other ministry units. I am told that the next step will be to release some ideas for comment in 2014.

At the last meeting of Montreal and Ottawa Conference Executive, Rev. Trisha Elliott from Ottawa suggested that we pray intensively for the Comprehensive Review's work. She wrote and circulated a prayer for the month of November; here is my (very late) contribution for December, the seasons of Advent and Christmas. Please pray for the work of the review, and the questioning and visioning in which United Church folk are engaged - and sign up for United Future updates.

God, the prophet Isaiah tells us, “a shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse; a branch will sprout from his roots.” As we look for signs of your coming, your peaceable realm where the wolf will lie down with the lamb, we overlook stumps. We want to find the green shoots of new life. But Isaiah says to look at stumps.

God, in your Spirit help us to search for the stumps. Remind us to ask where something in our church is solid and old, like a stump. Prompt us to recognize where you are inviting us into the old to discover the new.

We pray for participants in the Comprehensive Review: the members of the task group, the staff who support them, the facilitators who have interviewed local ministries, everyone who has been interviewed and contributed and awaits results. During this waiting time of Advent, assist us in our watching for stumps and signs of new life. We pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the name of Jesus, who has come, is coming, and will come again to make all things new. Amen.

1 comment:

Ten Thousand Villages said...

Daniel: Thanks for sharing this prayer ... I'm an octogenarian but, hopefully, open to new ways and change for our church community. I love the idea of looking for the stumps, not as obstacles in the way, but as the source of new offspring. This is an exciting time for us ... and I am thankful for our present leadership. We are blessed. Dave