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Prayer in the Wake of Hurricane Matthew

God of our life, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance,

in the unfolding aftermath of storm and distress, we welcome the restoring power of your love and compassion. We open our hearts in sorrow, gratitude, and hope: that those who have been spared nature’s fury as well as those whose lives are changed forever by ravages of wind and water may find solace, sustenance, and strength in days of recovery and reflection that come.

We are thankful for the generous grace of days of preparation that helped many to be prepared; for the wise counsel of experts and the generous collaboration of so many communities, that in the face of the storm kept many out of harm’s way, and lessened the effects of wind and water on others.

At the same time, we open ourselves to the stories of those for whom Hurricane Matthew was not a near miss: communities deeply affected, whose livelihood, homes and stability have been destroyed. We pray in grief, remembering the lives that have been lost in the Caribbean, and for communities damaged, especially those already rendered fragile by the earthquake in 2010 and Superstorm Sandy. We lift our voices in sorrow and compassion for families who have lost loved ones, homes, or livelihood. We ask for sustaining courage for those who are suffering; wisdom and diligence among agencies and individuals assessing damage and directing relief efforts; and for generosity to flow as powerfully as rivers and streams, as we, your people, respond to the deep human needs beginning to emerge in the wake of the storm.

In these days of relief, assessment and response, open our eyes, our hearts, and our hands to the needs of your children and the movements of your Spirit, who flows in us like the river whose streams makes glad the city of God, and the hearts of all who dwell in it, and in You.

In the name of Christ the Healer we pray, amen.

Prayer by the Rev. Dr. Laurie Ann Kraus

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Prayer reposted from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
http://pda.pcusa.org/pda/resource/prayer-hurricane-matthew/

Prayers of the People

Offered by Rev. Matt Nickel in 11:00am Worship Service on January 17.

Invited, you gathered for a wedding, in a small village, off the map.

Celebrating with the festivals and friends,

we are reminded that you became human; one of us.

And you created this sign with the simplest of elements: water.

We need it to drink, we need it to live.

It gathers in lakes; it flows through rivers.

So simple, yet so mysterious and complex.

With water you recieve us into your dying and rising in baptism.

With water you reveal your sign in the world.

At a glance, it looks like a simple raise of the glass to the wedding party

—but these waters we know are so much more than a good gesture:

These jars of water show signs that you long for equality in a world so thirsty for it.

The wine of abundance you made for all the people, not just the privileged.

It is liberating, humanizing, as you transform your people with grace and possibility.

 

When we need your signs more than ever, O Lord.

We’ve lived through a bad year for loving our neighbor.

And a new set of political elections are challenge us to love you,

when so many political idols seek to disturb us.

O God we need you in our time in the same way we need water.

And we need your promised glory like the transformations Jesus can author.

 

The witness of Martin Luther King Jr. exposed to the world

that none of us can walk alone and that we do not walk alone.

So we ask that you O Christ would walk with us, for we know you are alive by the Spirit.

May the world follow in the direction of your eternal promises made flesh,

your divine hope for reconciliation made earthly, for here, for now, for we cannot wait.

We know you do not hold back your abundance, or hesitate

that you are never reluctant with grace poured out upon grace.

So guide us by another way that we may do the same.

 

May your peace disrupt the systems of violence and inequality still at work.

May your grace break through barriers of ignorance and naiveté regarding racism.

May your hope inspire all to discover their responsibility to build wholeness.

May your love form deep roots that nourish your ways endlessly in our lives,

And in the life of the world.

 

And when we think we may have had enough,

When we are not sure where to turn,

When we do not know if we can keep going,

Call us again to worship fo here we turn to you with thanks and praise,

always seeking strength through the prayer you gave the people to pray saying…

Our Father…

Minute for Mission

Cynthia M. Campbell delivered this Minute for Mission in worship on Sunday, November 22, 2015 about Kentucky Refugee Ministries and Refugee Resettlement.

 

Twenty-five years ago, Donna Craig, a member of this congregation, began a mission project to resettle refugees fleeing violence in Central America. Today, Kentucky Refugee Ministries is an independent, non-profit agency that operates out of our Pleune-Mobley Building. It settles over 1,000 refugees each year. On any given day, approximately 100 people come to KRM to learn English, to begin the process of finding employment, to sign up for medical insurance, to get help registering their children in school, to start the process of becoming citizens of the United States.

 

In the midst of a great deal of fear and confusion about refugees, especially refugees from Syria, I want to remind us of what these new neighbors of ours have been through. The process of coming to the United States is already incredibly rigorous. After fleeing their country, refugees register with the United Nations Refugee Agency which makes the determination of whether they merit refugee status. While they are living in camps outside their home country, biometric data is collected on each person by the UN agency. If refugee status is granted and if they seek resettlement in the U.S., refugees begin a rigorous screening process by various U.S. government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department. Fingerprints and personal histories are thoroughly checked against watch-lists and databases in various intelligence agencies. The average processing time is 18-24 months. It is the most rigorous screening for any persons entering the U.S.

 

Most of the refugees resettled by agencies such as KRM are families – parents with the children. They are fleeing villages and cities that have been overrun by violence. They have left everything behind. They want what we all want: peace, the opportunity to send their children to school in safety; the ability to practice their faith without fear. John Koehlinger, Executive Director of KRM, writes: “How we treat refugees reflects our commitment to the values that define us as Americans…. Refugees have defied all odds to leave behind discrimination, threats and violence. Bringing your family here to build a better, safe life, is a quintessentially America thing to do.”

 

Yesterday, the Presbytery of Mid-Kentucky passed a resolution saying that we “affirm our commitment as followers of Jesus Christ to share the love of strangers and care for the vulnerable. We call upon our neighbors in Kentucky and our fellow citizens in the United States to join us in seeking to protect and provide hospitality to Syrian refugees. We call upon our state and national leaders to remember our nation’s commitment to inclusion and welcome, and to choose justice over fear in responding to those affected by the Syrian War.”

 

I am proud to be a member of the board of KRM, but in comparison to many of you, I am a newcomer to this ministry. I hope and pray that we will all now be part of a ministry to truth-telling to our fellow citizens as we continue to extend hospitality to families who have left everything behind in search of opportunity and peace.

 

Jazz Communion

This morning Highland Presbyterian Church knew the spirit was moving during the Jazz Communion worship service. In case you were unable to attend, here is your moment of joy!

 

 

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